“Like the Whole Ocean Was Coming at You”

by Josh McDanielThe science of tsunamis has expanded in leaps in recent decades. From advances in detection and alert systems to coastal inundation modeling and mapping, we now know more about the seismic forces that trigger tsunamis and can forecast ...

2016 Living Shorelines Workshop

Relevance: Living shorelines integrate habitat restoration techniques, coastal engineering, and conservation to mitigate coastal hazards through the incorporation of natural elements. Living shorelines have been used effectively in the US along the eastern, western, and gulf coasts as an effective ...

2017 CReST Conference

Relevance: Aging and failing cesspools, increasingly large episodic storms, and rising groundwater present unprecedented challenges for wastewater management in Hawaiʻi. Concerns remain about the impacts of 90,000 existing on-site wastewater systems on Hawaiʻi’s beaches, aquatic resources, and community health. Response: ...

2017 Energy Simulation Workshop

4-Day Workshop Overview As part of a workshop series on building simulation and lighting and energy analysis, the first workshop consisted of a three half-day sessions and one full-day session, focused on building-level daylighting simulation and energy analysis. This workshop ...

2018-2019 Build and Buy Green Conferences, USGBC Tour of NOAA Regional Facility

Relevance: Knowledge of sustainable and resilient building practices is needed in Hawaiʻi to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the State’s 100% clean energy goal, adapt to a changing climate, and recover from natural and man-made disruptions. Response: To educate ...

A comprehensive approach to value Waikīkī Beach

PI: Nori Tarui
Waikiki Beach is a huge economic driver for Hawaiʻi, but with increased erosion from sea-level rise, the optimal strategy for its upkeep is still debated. This study endeavors to estimate the value of Waikiki’s benefits to tourists, residents, and businesses, and evaluate the costs of different beach improvement options.

A Reset for Hawai‘i’s Ecosystems

by Jake BuehlerQuiet. For the first time in generations, the schools of ulua, pāpio, and ‘o‘io glinting across the outer edge of Hanauma Bay’s crater experienced relative silence. The perpetual din of thousands of thunderous splashes and shrill voices reverberating ...

About the Center

"Smart Building" is the process of designing and constructing a structure while considering how it will interact with its inhabitants and its environment. Is it a nice place to work? Is it an efficient place to work? Does it take ...

April 15, 2014 Pauley Seminar

APRIL 15, 2014 PAULEY SEMINAR Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore Vice President Gore, known for his visionary leadership and decades of work on reducing the harmful impacts of climate change. He will be sharing his insights on renewable energy, ...

Architecture Lecture October 8, 2020

Architect Weston Walker is Design Principal and Partner in charge of Studio Gang’s New  York office, where he leads a talented team of architects and a diverse portfolio of projects.  Weston’s work spans many different types and scales, including cultural ...

Assessing the vulnerability of coastal wastewater infrastructure to climate change

PI: Daniele Spirandelli
This research aimed, with community and agency stakeholders, to identify and map critical factors contributing to wastewater infrastructure vulnerability to a changing climate, particularly sea-level rise and extreme precipitation, and to develop a process that builds adaptive capacity into the system. Results showed groundwater inundation as a significant threat to sewer pipes, and a policy gap analysis identified discontinuities in key components of Hawaiʻi’s current onsite management program between land-use planning efforts and state siting regulations.

Community Means Resilience

by Natasha VizcarraDays before Hurricane Iniki slammed into the island of Kauaʻi in 1992, condominium and apartment managers went door-to-door to make sure their residents were preparing for the storm. Hours before the storm struck, motorists honked their horns in ...

Data Acquisition Software for Remote Monitoring

Many of our research projects have involve deploying sensors in buildings to measure temperature, humidity, light, and power use. Some of these sensors have been deployed for years and we need reliable, customized software to automatically acquire sensor data and ...

Differentiating treated and untreated wastewater contamination in a tropical coastal community using microbial community genomics

PI: Craig Nelson
There is growing concern that coastal ecosystems are threatened by sewage contamination of groundwaters. Using genomic methods, this project will examine the bacterial populations in the Keaukaha area of Hawaiʻi Island, to differentiate sources of contamination, and aid in management efforts to ameliorate sewage leakage.

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.

Effects of watershed restoration to traditional Hawaiian land use practices on health of nearshore coral reef ecosystems

PI: Robert Toonen
Reimplementation of traditional practices in the Heʻeia ahupuaʻa, in addition to invasive mangrove removal, has been predicted to support improvements to the coastal ecosystems of Kānoʻohe Bay. This study will examine effects on water quality and changes to coral reef health, in response to restoration efforts.

Energy Monitoring and Simulation Aims to Save Money for Residents

Energy Monitoring and Simulation Aims to Save Money for Residents Relevance: Reducing energy use in buildings is vital to achieve Hawaiʻi’s 100 percent clean energy goal by 2045 and mitigate climate change. Response: Monitoring and simulation of energy use in ...

Energy Performance Recommendations Inform Plans and Incentives for Multi-family Housing Associated with Rail Development

Energy Performance Recommendations Inform Plans and Incentives for Multi-family Housing Associated with Rail Development Assistant professor Wendy Meguro and consultant WSP, an engineering firm, identified energy targets and effective energy efficiency measures in multi-family buildings and estimated the effects of ...

Enhancing social-ecological resilience and ecosystem services through restoration of coastal agroforestry systems

PI: Leah Bremer
Using ongoing restoration efforts at Heʻeia, Oʻahu, this research examines the ecological, economic, and cultural benefits of coastal agroforestry restoration in order to produce state-wide recommendations for prime locations to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services of high interest to agencies, funding sources, and communities.

Envisioning In Situ Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategies for a Densely Developed Coastal Community, Waikiki

PI: Wendy Meguro
Waikiki, an economic hub for Hawaiʻi, is already subject to regularly flooding and faces an uncertain future with sea-level rise. This project will offer conceptual design renderings towards an “in-place” adaptation strategy, to help motivate large-scale planning for an adaptive environment in this densely developed coastal community.


by Sara LaJeunesseOn April 30, 2018, the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone of the Kīlauea volcano collapsed, triggering an eruption that would last for four months. Over that time, as lava drained for miles underground, long fissures ripped through the Earth’s surface, ...

Facing the Storm

by Mara Johnson-GrohSince the day it was born out of the Pacific, 65 million years ago, Hawaiʻi has been sculpted by storms, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis. In the 21st century Hawai‘i is facing an increasing frequency of ...

Fish Flow: Filling the gap between spawning and settlement

PI: Brian Bowen
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.

Flood Hazard and Sea Level Rise Mitigation Standards Incorporated into Updated Waikiki Guidelines

Flood Hazard and Sea Level Rise Mitigation Standards Incorporated into Updated Waikiki Guidelines Relevance: The urgent regional need to address sea level rise is evident in The Hawai'i Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Resport's predicted predicted $19 billion in ...

Fostering a SOEST culture of place-based and community-based pedagogy in support of coastal sustainability in Hawaiʻi

PI: Barbara Bruno
The goal of this project is to train geoscience faculty at UH Mānoa in place-based teaching practices in order for them, in turn, to train a diverse, local workforce and community to address the critical needs of our islands in enhancing coastal resilience and sustainability.

Going Beyond Code

To support Hawai'i's 100% renewable energy goal by 2045, Hawai'i Sea Grant faculty, their colleagues, and seven student researchers just published a paper to show how house design and construction practices can be modified to meet the newly adopted, more ...

Green Infrastructure Practices for Hawaii

Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management Home PRACTICE SUMMARY Permeable surfaces reduce runoff volumes and pollutant loads by allowing stormwater to infiltrate into the ground and through pavement, rather than flowing across it. These surfaces are particularly cost effective in flood-prone ...

Green Infrastructure Recommended Practices for Streamside Homes

Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management Home The Streamside Guide: Recommendations for Hawaiʻi Owners of land along waterways have the important responsibility to maintain areas of river and stream frontage on their properties. This guidance was created to encourage the application ...

Green Infrastructure-Runoff + Reuse in the Hawaiian Context

Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management Home As the development of Hawaiʻi's urban and residential areas has increased, the land's natural capacity to absorb rainwater and and filter pollutants has been diminished. The draining and filling of floodplains, including lowland wetlands ...

Green Infrastructure-Stormwater + Flooding in the Coastal Zone

Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management Home Water has sculpted the Hawaiian islands into the beautiful and dramatic archipelago we see today. For millenia, water has fallen from the sky and followed the force of gravity from mountains to sea. This ...

Green Infrastructure-Streamside Recommendations

Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management Home ...

Green Infrastructure-Tools + Resources

Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management Home The Environmental Protection Agency site on Green Infrastructure. This site contains information to help you build and learn about national partnerships.The National Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) Network is a collection of outreach ...

Hawaiʻi’s Vulnerable Food Supply

by Lurline Wailana McGregorThe COVID-19 pandemic didn’t close down Honolulu harbor or wreak havoc on the environment, but it was a somber reminder of how our lifestyles and economy are dependent on the outside world for everything, from food supply ...

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.

How Food Secure Are We if Natural Disaster Strikes?

by Lurline Wailana McGregorOn June first every year, the Central Pacific hurricane season officially begins. In anticipation of the heightened threat that it brings to the Hawaiian Islands, government preparedness offices take the opportunity to remind all residents to have ...

Huli ‘ia

Huli ‘ia is an observational process documenting seasonal changes and shifts across entire landscapes, ma uka to ma kai (from the mountains to the ocean). Developed by Na Maka o Papahānaumokuākea, the Huli ‘ia process documents these natural changes over ...

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.

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.

Integration of next-generation sequencing into traditional Hawaiian practices to improve management and restoration of fishponds

PI: Robert Toonen
With Hawaiian fishponds as models of sustainable aquatic resource management, this study uses two important crab species, Portunus sanguinolentus hawaiiensis and Scylla serrata, to explore whether fishponds are self-seeding, importing, or exporting species, and whether traditional harvest practices continue to be viable. Early results show a broad diversity of crab sizes, with a possibility of tagging and tracking crabs outside the fishpond, as well as within.

Ka Pili Kai Fall 2016

Center of Excellence: Coastal and Climate Science and Resilience Center of Excellence: Marine Science Education Center of Excellence: Smart Building and Community Design Center of Excellence: Sustainable Coastal Tourism Institute of Hawaiian Language Research and Translation To address the needs, ...

Ka Pili Kai Ho‘oilo 2018

Click on the cover image to view the full issue. Welcome to our inaugural issue of the new Ka Pili Kai! Embracing knowledge from generations past and present: For our dedicated readers who have been receiving and reading our quarterly ...

Ka Pili Kai Ho‘oilo 2020

Click on the cover image to view the full issue. How Will COVID-19 Shape Our Future This issue discusses some of the impacts of COVID-19 in Hawai'i and explores what they might mean for our future. All of us at ...

Ka Pili Kai Kau 2019

Click on the cover image to view the full issue. Ola I Ka Wai Water is Life The myriad issues surrounding water – water rights and law, water availability, changing climate and rainfall patterns, and understanding our aquifers in Hawai‘i ...

Ka Pili Kai Kau 2020

Click on the cover image to view the full issue. Community is Resilience Lucky we live Hawai‘i… as the local saying goes! In Hawai‘i, we’re blessed with an incredible environment with steep lush mountains and deep valleys sloping down to ...

Ka Pili Kai Summer 2016

Hawai‘i ’s Water Resources Submarine Groundwater Discharge Water Resources Research Center Highlight: Dr. Aly El-Kadi UH Water Resources Research Center and Sea Grant Partner on $20 M Water Sustainability Project Increasing Access to Safe Drinking Water on Hawai‘i Island The ...

Ka Pili Kai Winter 2016

50 Years of Putting Science to Work for Coastal Communities O‘ahu Maui Hawai‘i Island Kaua‘i Pacific Region 50 Years of Putting Science to Work for Coastal Communities In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed The National Sea Grant College and Program ...

Kulana Noi‘i

The Kūlana Noi‘i provide guidance for building and sustaining not just working partnerships but long-term relationships between communities and researchers. With support from the University of Hawai‘i SEED Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access and Success Program (IDEAS), the He‘eia National Estuarine ...

Land-based pollutants on Hawaiian reefs

PI: Megan Donahue
Increased military, agricultural, and residential development contaminates surrounding watersheds that feed into critical coastal ecosystems. This work examines land-based pollutants, such as metals and persistant organics, in coastal ecosystems and reef fish to understand how the pollutants are distributed and transported, with an eye toward better land management decisions.

Loko Iʻa Needs Assessment

This report is the first comprehensive compilation of the research ideas and needs within the community of fishpond managers, landowners, and stewardship organizations to inform adaptation of fishpond practices toward their resilience, adaptation, and sustainability in the face of a ...

Mālama During COVID-19

by Amanda MillinFor Celeste Connors, living with aloha extended far beyond the shores of Hawaiʻi. The former American diplomat worked overseas for 20 years and served as the White House director for Climate Change and Environment. But she is from ...

Microbial biogeochemical cycling across a chronosequence of mangrove introductions across Hawaiʻi

PI: Rosanna Alegado
Invasive mangroves harm Hawaiian coastal ecosystems, choking native plants, providing footholds for invasives, and generating leaf litter mounds inedible to Hawaiian species. This study investigates whether microbial communities can evolve to tackle the detritus and examines the resilience of our coastal ecosystems to mangrove invasion.

Net Zero Energy Classrooms: A Living Laboratory

The FROG Classrooms on the UH Manoa College of Education Campus Serve as a Living Laboratory for Sustainable Design Research Energy research at the UH College of Education net-zero energy classrooms is part of an 8-year collaboration between The University ...

News & Events

A team of students from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa School of Architecture were one of two student teams to win a national design competion. They were students of Dr. Steve Meder, UH architecture professor and director of the ...

Ongoing Projects

Campus Spatial Survey and Integrated Planning Light Pollution in Hawaiʻi Delamping Initiative Forest City Military Community Energy Efficiency Monitoring Kuykendall Hall Water Resources Working Group ...

Past Events: Lectures, Workshops, and Webinars

The Center has been involved in many outreach activities which are linked below ...

Pauley Seminars in Sustainability

PAULEY SEMINARS IN SUSTAINABILITY The University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program periodically hosts speakers of the highest distinction through invitations to present a Stephen and Marylyn Pauley Seminar in Sustainability. The University’s most prestigious seminar series honors the Edwin ...

Podcast #1: Fish Flow

Meet Dr. Brian Bowen and Michael Hoban and learn about their project tracking important aquaculture fish species from egg production to the reefs where they settle and grow.

Podcast #1: Waterworks

Dr. Peter Fuleky and Sisi Zhang are conducting an innovative study to identify the relationship between economic conditions in different sectors (tourism, health, agriculture, etc.) and the state’s limited water resources.

Podcast #2: Resilient Communities

Dr. Daniele Spirandelli and Alisha Summers work with Kauaʻi communities to develop assessments of their vulnerability to developing coastal hazards associated with climate change.

Podcast #3: Urban understandings and changing coasts

Meet Dr. Daniele Spirandelli and Theresa Dean and delve into the vulnerability of Hawaiʻi's wastewater infrastructure to a changing climate.

Podcast #5: Seeds of Change

Dr. Camilo Mora and Devon DeBevoise are investigating the relative tolerance of invasive and endemic plants to growing with a wide range of water and temperature conditions that may occur with climate change.

Podcast #7: Hawaiian water

Meet Dr. Michael Roberts and Nathan DeMaagd and discover the intricacies of the economics of shifting water demands in the face of climate change.

Podcast #8: Microbial Mechanisms

Dr. Kiana Frank combines modern microbial biology with traditional fishpond management techniques to explore sediment removal from Hawaiian fishponds.

Predicting Hawaiʻi water demand under climate change

PI: Michael Roberts
This project studied how climate change may affect future water demand on Oʻahu, focusing on variations in temperature, precipitation, and prevailing climatic conditions. Results imply that microclimates play an important role in demand, with the hot and dry area households using typically 100 gallons more per day than those in cooler, wetter aras. Using water billing data cross-referenced with fine-scale weather data, a model was developed that estimates the growth of Oʻahu aquifer yields needed to satisfy possible shifts in demand (up to 50% increase) under different climate scenarios, or alternatively, the price increases necessary to limit consumption levels.

Protecting Public Health

by Sara LaJeunesseIn 2019, Hawai‘i was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the top state in the nation for health care. Yet, it’s no secret that problems with access to care, affordability of care, and disparities in care ...

Rainwater Catchment Project

What is Rainwater Catchment? Rainwater catchment is the capture of rainwater, most commonly in barrels or tanks, for household, landscape or commercial use. With proper design, maintenance and water treatment, a rainwater catchment system can provide water that is free ...

Rebooting Hawai‘i’s Visitor Industry

by Shannon WianeckiDuring the last week of March 2020, the fallow sugarcane fields next to the Kahului Airport on Maui began to fill with cars. Hundreds, then thousands of nearly new Camaros, Jeep Wranglers, and SUVs appeared, parked bumper to ...

Reexamining Island Mobility

by Josh McDanielNot all disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic have been negative. Honolulu often sits at the top of the rankings for the worst traffic in the country, ahead of cities notorious for roadway congestion such as Los Angeles, San ...

Reimagining Education in a Post-COVID World

by Lonny LippsettWhen COVID-19 shut off the lights in schools throughout Hawai‘i, it starkly illuminated long-ignored cracks and constraints in its educational system. The crisis-mode quick fix—using modern technology to create virtual online schooling—spotlighted age-old problems and exposed new ones ...

Resolving the Diet of Larval Marine Fishes to Accelerate Aquaculture Opportunities

PI: Brian Bowen
Demand for sea food increases while wild stocks dwindle, but marine aquaculture efforts struggle to raise fish larvae due to their highly selective, yet undetermined, food preferences. This project applies innovative DNA barcoding of larval intestinal contents to determine typical diets and thus enhance aquaculture opportunities to provide sustainable fish stocks.

Retaining a Healthy Indoor Environment in On-Demand Mixed-Mode Classrooms

Retaining a Healthy Indoor Environment in On-Demand Mixed-Mode ClassroomsA study to measure energy performance and CO2 concentrations was conducted in two Hawai‘i classrooms to determine the impact of user decision-making on adequacy of fresh air. Using CO2 as a marker for indoor ...

Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use in Hawai‘i

Rising sea levels along Hawai‘i’s shorelines call for state and local governments to take action by means of a wide range of coastal land use policy tools designed to help Hawai‘i successfully adapt to climate change. Hawai‘i is expected to ...

Selected Tools for Awareness and Preparation

by Rachel LentzOften, coping with natural hazard preparation involves being aware of key information pertinent to that event. But sometimes that information may be hard to find or understand. Here are four resources that should prove useful to your own ...

The Storm, the Flood, and the Future

by Jake BuehlerThe afternoon before the flooding, you would have been hard-pressed to find any reason to suspect it was coming. It was an idyllic, mid-April day in Hanalei, Kauaʻi, after all: 79 degrees, a mix of sun and clouds, ...

Tracking groundwater nutrients using novel tracers to inform coastal watershed management in South Kohala, Hawaiʻi

PI: Henrietta Dulai
Using a combination of nitrogen isotopes and microcontaminants as source tracers, this project aims to identify pathways of groundwater flow to the coastline along South Kohala, Hawaiʻi, tracing sources of groundwater contaminants and excess nutrients. Managers can use results to improve wastewater management and improve coral reef resilience.

Workforce Development

Hawaiʻi Sea Grant and School of Architecture Workforce Development in Sustainability Results in Job Placement for College Students Relevance: A knowledgeable and highly skilled workforce trained to excel in sustainability-related fields is required to meet Hawaiʻi’s goal of 100 percent ...