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Posted: Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 11:02 AM HST

Scientists fine-tune opihi counting methods

By 67AM KPUA News

HONOLULU (AP) Scientists have developed a more accurate way of measuring populations of opihi, a fixture of baby luau and graduation parties in Hawaii.

Researchers used an Android cellphone app and GPS to help them count each opihi within parts of the federally protected Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

This allowed them to count more opihi more quickly than before.

The prized limpets are overharvested in the Main Hawaiian Islands and are now rarely found on Oahu. A gallon of opihi can go for $150 to $200.

The research is part of a broader, multiyear study of rocky shorelines in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Lead researcher Chris Bird of University of Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi said Wednesday the scientists aim to assess monument opihi populations and how they vary over time.

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