Marine hydrokinetic (MHK) turbines are quickly becoming a viable and valuable method of generating renewable energy from ocean, tidal, and river currents. Modern MHK turbine blades are typically constructed from fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites, which provide superior strength- and stiffness-to-weight ratios and improved fatigue and corrosion resistance compared to traditional metallic alloys. Furthermore, it is possible to hydroelastically tailor the design of an FRP composite blade by manipulating the anisotropic nature of the material, creating a load-dependent adaptive pitch mechanism. With this strategy, the blade geometry is able to passively adjust to the instantaneous inflow, and system performance can be modified over the expected range of operating conditions. Adaptive blade designs have demonstrated the potential to increase performance, reduce hydrodynamic instabilities, and improve structural integrity in aerospace and other marine applications; however, previous research specific to adaptive MHK turbine blades has been preliminary. Further work is needed to better understand and model the behavior of these systems. To that end, the research presented here combines numerical and experimental modeling to develop greater insight into the potential benefits to be gained by the use of adaptive pitch MHK turbine blades.