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 Research Projects 2016-2018

Longitudinal assessment: Our Project in Hawaiʻi’s Intertidal (OPIHI)

Co-INVESTIGATOR: Joanna Philippoff
Graduate Fellow: Florybeth LaValle

Students examine tidal pools
OPIHI participants survey an intertidal site.

At the base of the watershed, the intertidal zone is affected by everything that happens upstream, from pollution to development. The intertidal is also vulnerable to threats such as over-harvesting, species invasions, and climate change effects, including sea-level rise and increasing air and sea temperatures. However, the intertidal zone of tropical islands has been poorly studied, particularly in comparison to temperate regions. This project is investigating if and how the Hawaiian intertidal community has changed since the last systematic surveys were conducted of the region ten years ago. Our overarching goals are to document, monitor, and assess changes in species compositions that may be due to factors such as climate change and coastal development, including the spread of invasive species. We also aim to encourage wise stewardship and increase awareness and knowledge of the intertidal ecosystem in Hawai‘i, as well as potential threats to that system, and enhance networking among researchers and community groups engaged in the study and protection of this area. Toward this goal, we will mentor the next generation of community ecologists, both graduate and undergraduate students, by engaging them in authentic, place-based research.

Watch a podcast on this project here.