Harnessing environmental DNA for healthy reefs

PI: Brian Bowen
This study monitors the health of coral reefs by using environmental DNA collected from waters around the reefs to identify which species are present, including cryptic and hidden ones, and to track the overall biodiversity on reefs in response to environmental stressors.

Coral reef CO2 variations at the Coastal Ocean Hawaiʻi Acidification Network (COHAMN): Impact of basin scale oceanographic forcing

PI: Eric DeCarlo
This project continues the decade-old MAPCO2 buoy program at four coral reef sites around Oʻahu, measuring CO2 in the atmosphere and dissolved in seawater as well as other parameters relevant to CO2 biogeochemistry, as part of an ongoing global CO2 monitoring program.

Land-based pollutants in herbivorous reef fishes on Hawaiian reefs

PI: Megan Donahue
This work compares concentrations of metal pollutants in reef fish muscle tissue collected at several sites suffering, to different degrees, from contamination due to urban runoff into watersheds and coastal waters. The researchers aim to identify species and locations most impacted and aid communities to minimize the effects of land-based pollutants on coral reefs.

A next generation beach observing system for Hawaiʻi

PI: Charles Fletcher
With sea-level rise impacting Hawaiian coasts, this project aims to develop a next-generation program for monitoring short and long-term changes in Hawaiian shorelines, employing recent technologic advances to enhance the efficiency and data quality of beach surveys, and ultimately, to improve accuracy and coverage of beach monitoring databases.

Hehihehi management for microbial-mediated sediment removal in fishponds

PI: Kiana Frank
This study employs the modern tools of microbiology to examine the efficacy of a traditional management tool applied to today’s fishpond restoration efforts. The researcher is examining whether microbes may decompose pond-clogging sediment faster if aided by hehihehi, the traditional practice of stomping and mixing of the fishpond sediment.

Economic activity, technological progress, and water resource utilization on Oʻahu

PI: Peter Fuleky
These researchers are developing summary measures of economic conditions in various industries (especially tourism, health care, food, and agriculture) to establish the levels of dependency on the state’s limited water resources and likely future demand under various scenarios of economic, technological, and population change.

Collaborative investigation of hydraulic and geochemical connectivity between wastewaters and other land-uses and the ocean waters of Waialua Bay, Oʻahu

PI: Craig Glenn
This project assesses the hydraulic and geochemical connectivity between on-site sewage disposal system wastewaters and the oceanic waters around the greater Waialua Bay area, Oʻahu, to help develop a more complete understanding of the environmental and health risks of wastewater leakage.

West Maui wave run-up forecasts

PI: Douglas Luther
This project plans to develop short-term forecast models of wave-driven inundation “run-up” events for West Maui, to help managers, emergency management personnel, and the public cope with the increasing hazards of flooding events, and associated erosion, driven by wave activity superimposed on rising sea levels.

Growth optimization and survival of the bleaching-resistant coral genus Pavona for reef restoration in Hawaiʻi

PI: Peter Marko
These researchers are aiding in bleached coral-reef restoration efforts by experimentally determining optimal nursery growth conditions for the stress-tolerant coral genus Pavona and evaluating the role of colony size and morphology variation on out-planted coral survival at restoration sites.

Impacts of climate changes on a native and an invasive Hawaiian plant using a newly developed Intelligent Plant growing System (IPS)

PI: Camilo Mora
This study uses a previously-developed, affordable Intelligent Plant growing System (IPS) that employs automation technology to control climatic conditions precisely. For this project, the system will be applied to assess the viability of plants under multiple co-occurring climatic changes and prepare managers for future decision-making to cope with agricultural and vegetation issues as the climate shifts.

Enabling real-time predictive modeling of microbial pathogen risk along the Honolulu shoreline

PI: Craig Nelson
This project generates a real-time predictive model of microbial pathogen risk for the south shore of Oʻahu, an area with some of the highest instances of recreational waterborne disease in the U.S. Ideally, the model will be easily applied and interpreted by health agencies for the benefit of the general public.

Our Project In Hawaiʻi’s Intertidal (OPIHI): Examining change over time

PI: Joanna Philippoff
OPIHI, Our Project in Hawaiʻi’s Intertidal, continues a long-term effort to expand knowledge of the vulnerable intertidal zone across Hawaiʻi, engaging students and communities in collecting meaningful data used to characterize whether and how intertidal organisms’ abundance and diversity is changing over time.

Integrating climate science with local knowledge through community vulnerability assessment on Kauaʻi

PI: Daniele Spirandelli
This study examines the opportunities and challenges of integrating coastal resilience into local community plans, using the County of Kauaʻi’s efforts as a case study. Researchers will combine broader climate science risk information with local knowledge to support statewide goals to prepare counties for future climate hazards.

Investigating the origin and impact of sedimentation on the health of Hawaiian mesophotic reefs for sustainable coastal development

PI: Robert Toonen
This project continues collecting data from mesophotic zones (30-180 m depths) around Oʻahu and West Maui to update models and develop predictive maps of coral and invasive algae distribution, in order to help managers and policymakers choose best strategies for coastal development and runoff control to protect these vulnerable low-light ecosystems.