With global climate change a very prominent
topic throughout the world today, scientists and students at
part of cutting-edge research to study the effects of climate
change on Hawai‘i and the global environment.
The HPU Marine Sciences program is conducting a pilot project
that provides monthly monitoring of environmental conditions
in Kane‘ohe Bay and the waters offshore of East O‘ahu.
HPU marine sciences students have been conducting the environmental
monitoring work aboard HPU’s research boat, the R/V Kaholo.
By participating in the data collection project, marine biology
senior Lucas Kearns sees the relationship between water quality
and sea- animal life.
In the past, Kane‘ohe Bay has been used for wastewater
disposal, so a lot of organic matter is in the bay’s sediments.
As it breaks down, it releases more CO2,” Kearns said. “That
makes it a good source to gather data and to set up models
on what could happen in the future.”
HPU Marine and Environmental Science Program Director Dr. Christopher
Winn is coordinating the research effort, which was awarded
to HPU through a $75,000 grant from the U.S. Department of
Campus Compact Program. The Kane‘ohe Bay monitoring project
is the kind of work Winn says distinguishes budding scientists.
It’s a terrific opportunity for our undergraduate students
to participate in significant ocean research,” said Winn. “This
monitoring project could be an important initiative over the
next decade. We need people trained for this.”
Winn credits HPU’s affiliation with Oceanic Institute (OI),
the nation’s largest applied marine research and aquaculture
facility, as the key to receiving the research grant.
HPU and OI have given me a strong foundation in the basics of
oceanographic research,” said Ginger Lee Jahn (2006 B.S.
in marine biology).
According to Winn, Kane‘ohe Bay is a particularly significant
and interesting region for long-term study because of the extensive
history of research in the bay, along with the human influences
on it, over the past century.
We hope this long-term monitoring effort will help us better
understand how the bay and the surrounding marine environment
are responding to the continuing influence of coastal development,
non-point source pollutant input, and impending climate change,” said
Assistant Professor of biology Dr. Valerie Franck is studying
the effects of decades-long dumping in Kane‘ohe Bay by
researching nutrient cycling in ocean waters over time.
HPU scientists offer worldwide environmental experience. Before
focusing on island ecology, Franck conducted scientific research
in Greenland. “I have spent some time in Antarctica and
am interested in the comparison between the Arctic and Antarctica
in terms of marine science and wildlife,” said Franck. “I’ve
heard a great deal from researchers from around the world about
the effects of global warming on Arctic marine ecosystems and
finally saw those changes for myself.”
Dr. Susan Carstenn, HPU assistant professor of environmental
science, is continuing a research project on using controlled
fires to enhance recovery of the Florida Everglades. Carstenn
and her collaborators are working on a book outlining the study.
She will present her findings at the Eco-Summit in China in May.
Dr. Stephen Allen, HPU assistant professor of chemistry, is collaborating
with other scientists to develop a carbon fuel cell that uses
a renewable fuel created from green waste. Allen also will teach
a course at HPU in the fall 2007 semester that will offer certification
in the solar technology field.
For more information on HPU’s College of Natural Sciences
and HPU’s affiliate organization Oceanic Institute, please
contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 236-5853.
(Left to right) HPU Assistant biology Professor
Dr. Kristi West, natural sciences senior Joshua Spaulding,
Tarah Pierson, Oceanic Institute finfish researcher Chad Callan,
marine biology junior Alexandra White, Assistant environmental
science Professor Dr. Susan Carstenn, and marine biology junior
Dean Kline examine water samples taken from offshore East O‘ahu.