Building a New Community of Practice

Ecosystems in the Hawaiian Islands are being transformed by two large-scale, interacting threats: invasive species and climate change. PI-CASC has joined with the East-West Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council, and the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) to explore perspectives, needs, and research related to the confluence of invasive species management and climate adaptation.

Our Objectives

  • Identify priority lines of research, informed by managers, to examine the interactions between invasive species and climate change
  • Develop management strategies and actions to these combined threats while strengthening existing, successful approaches
  • Create a space for engagement and communication of lessons learned
  • Facilitate a network of resource managers, researchers, and interested community members and organizations
  • Promote relevant research and develop effective information-sharing strategies

2021 Action Items:

(A) Consolidate existing information and products at the invasives/climate nexus into one centralized/accessible location. Compile relevant peer-reviewed articles, technical reports, tools, and other resources on this website.

(B) Continue the webinar series and engage in other conferences/workshops as available. Potential topics include, but are not limited to: better understanding of uncertainty and information on potential range shifting species, native community resilience, effects and nature of extreme events, new introduction pathways, and impacts of seasonal changes.

(C) Create the needed organizational framework to facilitate discussions and set priorities at the invasives/climate nexus and move this effort forward in Hawaiʻi and the USAPI. This includes finalizing our core team and science advisory board.

(D) Strategically plan next steps, identifying/prioritizing needs/gaps, and determining where the most value can be added.

(E) Collaboratively-developed research agendas for the Pacific Islands region, which has different native biotas, divergent climate change projections, and a range of invasive species threats.

(F) Research summaries for managers to use in developing adaptive management programs.

Our Core Team

Heather KerkeringHeather Kerkering, Science Coordinator for PI-CASC, serves to prioritize research projects that provide managers with tools for climate adaptation in the Pacific. Previously, she served as director for the Pacific Islands Ocean Observation System. She holds a Master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University, and has experience in coastal and marine resource management, environmental education, and community and stakeholder engagement.


Portrait of Laura Brewington at home.Dr. Laura Brewington, a Research Fellow at the East-West Center, is Lead Investigator of the Pacific Islands Climate, Health, and Migration project, and an investigator for the Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program. She designs and conducts collaborative, policy-oriented research using spatial analytical tools to support climate adaptation in Pacific Islands. She represents the East-West Center on the Pacific Invasives Partnership, focused on international biosecurity and natural resources management. She earned her Ph.D. in geography from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill based on research in agriculture, invasive species, and conservation in the Galapagos Islands. 

Portrait of Jeff Burgett in front of mountainside.

Dr. Jeff Burgett is committed to protecting the irreplaceable natural heritage of the Pacific Islands for the future. He has worked in conservation and ecology in Hawai‘i, New Zealand, Panama, and American Sāmoa, and believes that informed, bold action is needed to make conservation successful in the face of climate change. Jeff is employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as Science Applications Science Coordinator. He works on a range of projects including climate change, invasive species and diseases, and coral reef restoration. He has a Master’s degree from the University of Auckland and a Ph.D. from the University of Hawaiʻi in zoology. 

Portrait of Wendy Miles in front of greeneryDr. Wendy Miles is dedicated to building strong partnerships in support of climate change resiliency in the Pacific Islands. She is the Science Collaboration Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Science Application program, and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the East-West Center. She is experienced in community-based conservation and adaptation planning, climate change program and policy evaluation, and the provision of targeted climate science decision support to communities and governments. Wendy holds an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Geography from the University of Hawaiʻi.

Portrait of Christy Martin in front of palm fronds.Christy Martin is Program Manager for the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS), a project of the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The CGAPS is a voluntary partnership of federal, state, and non-governmental organizations whose goal is to protect Hawaiʻi from invasive species that impact the economy, environment, agriculture, and public health. She is also Outreach Working Group Chair for the Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council. She has a Master’s degree in public administration from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and a background in marine science and education. 

Portrait of Chelsea Arnott on top of mountain.Chelsea Arnott is a planner for the Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council, where her work focuses on invasive plants and interagency biosecurity. She has diverse, island-wide invasive species management experience, from field to policy-level, working with the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, Koʻolau Mountains Watershed Partnership, Oʻahu Invasive Species Committtee, and the Nā Ala Hele Program. Chelsea holds a Master’s degree in natural resources and environmental management from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she worked on plant nursery and import regulation proposals. 

Portrait of Bradley Eichelberger in front of sidewalkBradley Eichelberger is the Chief Geographic Information Officer at the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ Division of Fish and Wildlife.  His work is focused on the spatial ecology of threatened and endangered species, remote sensing applications to detect spatiotemporal changes in land cover, long-term monitoring of wildlife populations, and climate change vulnerability assessments for species of greatest concern.  Bradley has a Master’s degree in applied ecology and conservation biology from Frostburg State University, where he worked on modelling the distribution and habitat associations of rare plants. 

Darcy YogiDarcy Yogi is Communications Specialist for the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center. She gained experience in invasive insect and plant management with the Office of Maunakea Management Natural Resources Program. After that, she earned her Master’s degree in natural resources and environmental management from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she focused on invasive plant management for Kawainui Marsh.