Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary assists and collaborates with other institutions that complement the sanctuary's research mission. The sanctuary has lent its humpback whale expertise in a collaborative effort with NOAA’s Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center to survey for humpback whales in other breeding grounds such as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Other collaborations include projects using autonomous aerial vehicles and sensor tags with faculty members at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology’s Marine Mammal Research Program and projects investigating whale behavior and acoustics with faculty at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Marine Mammal Laboratory.
Sanctuary researchers also work closely with graduate students from the University of Hawai‘i and other academic institutions on a variety of thesis projects ranging in scope from humpback whale distribution patterns to the study of sound production in juvenile whales.
The sanctuary also collaborates or coordinates activities with several Hawai‘i-based non-governmental organizations involved in whale research, including Whale Trust Maui, Pacific Whale Foundation, the Keiki Kohola Project, Oceanwide Science Institute, the Hawai‘i Marine Mammal Consortium, the Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research, Jupiter Research Foundation, and others.