UH Hilo Stories Spotlights PI-CASC Projects in Five-Part Climate Research Series

UH Hilo Stories is a publication of the UH Hilo Office of the Chancellor, which contains stories of their university ʻohana. This can include topics on academics, administration, research, campus life, community outreach, and student achievements. In Spring 2017, UH Hilo Stories staff writer Anne Rivera published a five-part series on climate change research at UH Hilo. In this series, five PI-CASC projects were spotlighted. Click on the linked titles below for the full articles.

February 2017

Pat Hart and Shea Uehana in the lab surrounded by slices of tree trunks.
Prof. Patrick Hart with Shea Uehana, a graduate student in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Sciences Program. Photo Credit: Zoe Coffman/UH Hilo Stories

Climate change research at UH Hilo: Tree rings and bird song

Professor of Biology Patrick Hart and his research team are studying the endemic māmane tree (Sophora chrysopylla) and palila bird (Loxioides bailleui) to learn how to predict future environmental changes. For more on this effort, visit their project page.

Wood chipper truck in front of large wood chip pile and horse on the side.
UH Hilo graduate student Joanne Norton’s research project includes the collection of albizia trees, which are chipped, composted and then spread across agricultural lands ranging from Hilo to Kohala. Photo Credit: J. Norton

March 2017

Climate change research at UH Hilo: Collecting data on forests and trees

UH Hilo Stories highlights this MCC Graduate Research Project involving climate change, forests, and sustainable agriculture. Read about arboreal studies led by UH Hilo Biology professor Becky Ostertag and her graduate research student Joanna Norton. These research efforts link native and invasive species issues, ecosystem function, and sustainable agriculture, collectively helping scientists and resource managers understand and adapt to the effects of climate change within island environments. For more on this effort, visit their project page.

April 2017

Rose Hart holding an unmanned aerial vehicle in a field.
Graduate student and researcher Rose Hart holds an unmanned aerial vehicle used to survey coastal areas. Photo Credit: Zoe Coffman/UH Hilo Stories

Climate change research at UH Hilo: Monitoring the coasts for signs of erosion and planning ahead

This UH Hilo Stories talks about the MCC manager-based graduate research project that is helping Hawaiʻi County adapt to shifting and variable erosion rates. UH Hilo researchers are utilizing small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVʻs) to capture detailed images of coastal areas. Data from the UAV imagery will be used to develop predictive models, offering vital information to county planners preparing for the variable impacts of climate change on erosion rates across Hawaiʻi Island’s diverse coastlines. For more on this effort, visit their project page.

Research team taking a picture together in front of a whale mural.
Research team (l-r) Cherie Kauahi, Steven Colbert, Kamala Anthony and Jason Adolf. Photo Credit: Zoe Coffman/UH Hilo Stories

Climate change research at UH Hilo: Fishpond management and restoration

This story is all about the MCC graduate research team developing resources to help loko iʻa (traditional Hawaiian fishpond) management and restoration projects adapt to climate change impacts. The article outlines the goals of a collaborative research project in Keaukaha, Hawaiʻi, which move well beyond scientific and clinical objectives. The central goal for this team is to support the community and culture involved in the loko i‘a through times of socio-ecological change. For more on this effort, visit their project pages here and here.

May 2017

Louise Economy on a boat on Hilo Bay.
MCC graduate student Louise Economy in Hilo Bay, her study side. Photo Credit: L. Economy

Climate change research at UH Hilo: Near shore water quality

The final story in this series is on the last FY 16 MCC graduate research project, which investigates potential climate change impacts on near shore water quality in East Hawaiʻi. This UH Hilo research project connects with managers, researchers, and communities. The research team is investigating potential climate driven shifts in Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA to inform water resource and land management solutions locally and to engage the public through community outreach. For more on this effort, visit their project page.