RESEARCH

RESEARCH PROJECTS

PI-CASC supports research that generates actionable climate science within several key focus areas defined by regional stakeholder needs.

Four students pose, smiling, outdoors with a vegetated background

2024 SURF Projects

Four students completed projects in climate adaptation science for the 2024 SURF program, investigating the effects of ocean warming on cleaner wrasse behavior, finding the best soil amendments for encouraging native Hawaiian plant regeneration, modeling the optimal pathway for using the RAD framework on Hawaiʻi biomes, and using non-intrusive methods to investigate climate effects of coral growth rates.
Four students wearing lei pose by PI-CASC banner

2023 SURF Projects

Four students completed projects in climate adaptation science for the 2023 SURF program, investigating how forests vegetation shifts in response to climate change, the connection between climate and humpback whale health, whether added nutrients can improve coral thermal resilience, and sea-level rise impacts to community infrastructure.
Healthy, colorful corals on diplay with butterfly fish swimming around them, reflected in the underside of the shallow water’s surface

Unlocking reef resilience drivers to inform Pacific coral reef management

PI: Megan Donahue, Marine Researcher, HIMB, UH Mānoa
Co-PIs: Jessica Glazner, Dept of Marine Biology, UH Mānoa; Chad Wiggins, Palmyra Program Director, The Nature Conservancy
Funded: FY2022
A clear waterway snakes between tall trees with interwoven, gnarled root systems

Developing a Pacific mangrove monitoring network (PACMAN) in response to sea-level rise

PI: Richard Mackenzie, Research Ecologist, USDA FS Pacific Southwest Research Station
Co-PI: Maybeleen Apwong, TCBES, UH Hilo
Funded: FY2022
Two students stand recording data at the water’s edge near a black rocky outcropping, while another student walks up the sand.

Predicting sea level rise impacts to coastal wastewater infrastructure and water quality

PI: Tracy Wiegner, Professor of Marine Sciences, UH Hilo
Co-PI: Ihilani Kamau, TCBES, UH Hilo
Co-Is: Steven Colbert, Associate Professor of Marine Sciences, UH Hilo; Ryan Perroy, Professor of Geography, UH Hilo
Funded: FY2022
High, aerial view of coral-fringed vegetated coastline

Coral response to land-to-ocean freshwater flux

PI: John Burns, Assistant Professor of Marine Science, UH Hilo
Funded: FY2021
A wide brown stream meanders across lush grass and tree-covered plain into a bay

Prioritization planning for coastal wetland restoration on Molokaʻi

PI: Judith Drexler, Research Hydrologist, USGS California Water Science Center
Co-Is: James Jacobi, Biologist, USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center; Curt Storlazzi, Research Geologist, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Funded: FY2021
Coral scape with a few small yellow fish

Responses to transplanting corals to enhance reef resilience

PI: Crawford Drury, Affiliate Researcher, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, UH Mānoa
Funded: FY2021
Six students smile from within zoom boxes

2021 SURF Projects

Six students completed projects in climate adaptation science for the 2021 SURF program, investigating stream flow quality and variability, coastal erosion, fish thermal tolerance, fishpond phytoplankton distribution, and reef microplastics.
View over a makaha (wooden gate in rock wall) towards open fishpond waters, with a grass shack to the left

Effect of extreme tidal events on future sea-level rise scenarios for He‘eia fish communities

PI: Yoshimi Rii, Research Coordinator, He'eia NERR/HIMB, UH Mānoa
Co-Is: Rob Toonen, Research Professor, HIMB, UH Mānoa; Kawika Winter, Reserve Manager, Heʻeia NERR/HIMB, UH Mānoa
Funded: FY2021
Scenic view towards low waves pushing onto a tree-lined beach

Developing the American Samoa climate and GIS data portal

PI: Christopher Shuler, Assistant Hydrologist, Water Resources Research Center, UH Mānoa
Co-PI: Annie Chien, Earth and Planetary Sciences, UH Mānoa
Funded: FY2021
Plant seedlings grow in small black buckets

Vulnerability of coastal ecosystems to increased salinity from climate change

PI: Kasey Barton, Associate Professor of Botany, UH Mānoa
Co-PI: Anna McCormick, Department of Botany, UH Mānoa
Funded: FY2020
Students examine rocks and marine life at the oceanʻs edge.

He ala ʻae kai – The path near the sea: Climate inflictions upon intertidal

PI: John Burns, Assistant Professor of Marine Science, UH Hilo
Co-PI: Lauren Kapono, Tropical Conservation Biology & Environmental Science, UH Hilo; Haunani Kane, Post-doctoral Researcher, Marine Science Department, UH Hilo
Funded: FY2020
Airplane view looking down along a line of small, tree-covered islands surrounded by shallow lagoons and ocean waves

Enhancing Stakeholder Capacity for Coastal Inundation Assessment in the Marshall Islands

PI: Dean Gesch, Research Scientist, USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Funded: FY2020
Student examines plants along a greenery-bordered path

2020 SURF Projects

Three students completed projects in climate adaptation science for the 2020 SURF program, investigating salinity tolerance in coastal plants, fire-plant interactions, and new techniques to improve reforestation efforts.
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