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.
This project aimed to track reef fish, using their genetic data, from where they spawned as larvae to where they settle on the reef, as a direct measure of population connectivity. Engaging student volunteers, the research team collected over 1500 samples of three target species across the Hawaiian islands. Using advanced genetic technology and computer-aided population connectivity texts, the team generated maps that illustrate that most adult reef fish in Kāneʻohe Bay originate from neighboring East Oʻahu reefs rather than from inside the bay, useful information for appropriate managers.
Integrating climate science with local knowledge through community vulnerability assessment on Kauaʻi
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
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.
This study sought to address our fundamental lack of knowledge regarding vulnerable low-light, mesophotic coral ecosystems (at depths of 30-180 m) in order to better manage impacts from invasive species, coastal development, and exploration. By using statistical modeling, combined with machine learning, researchers created predictive maps to illustrate the distribution of mesophotic reefs and invasive algae across the main Hawaiian Islands. They found that all islands had some stretches of coastline identified as highly susceptible to invasion of the green alga Avrainvillea amadelpha, in both shallow and mesophotic depths.
Rapid Response: Application of a qPCR-based test for Enterococci as a rapid beach management tool in Hawaiʻi
The goal of this project was to design a rapid, simple, molecular-based water quality test that authorities can easily apply on Hawaiian beaches to increase hazard resilience of coastal communities. Standard coastal water quality testing techniques require 24-48 hours of culturing Enterococci bacteria, which often gives falsely high readings in Hawaiʻi from environmental sources. This newly developed method uses a specifically human-sewage-borne pathogen, Bacteroides, detected by rapid molecular tests, and is proving to give efficient and accurate detection of contamination to provide more timely notice and better protect public health.
Source tracking coastal groundwater and runoff contamination with microbial genomics and dissolved organic fluorometry
This project focused on using new techniques of microbial genomics and fluorescent characterization of organic matter to track sources of groundwater contamination in several important Hawaiian watersheds, in order to provide tools to protect streams, groundwater, and coastal ecosystems. The high density of cesspools in Hawaiʻi is a potentially significant source of contamination to streams and coral reefs, but it is currently prohibitive to identify contamination sources. For this project, hundreds of water samples from Oʻahu, Maui, and Hawaiʻi have been collected and are being characterized to develop microbial source tracking and better testing techniques.
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.
Learn more about the Sustainable Coastal Tourism.
Center for Sustainable Coastal Tourism
2525 Correa Road, HIG 238
Honolulu, HI 96822
Phone: (808) 956-7031
Denise Eby Konan, Ph.D.
Each pattern represents a Center of Excellence. Learn more about the cultural connections and meanings behind them.