Mauka-Makai: Ridge to Reef Connections

I am currently working with Masters Student Ashley McGowan, the Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program, Division of Aquatic Resources, The Nature Conversancy, and the community groups at Heʻeia to understand how restoring the watershed may influence the adjacent coral reef environment. 



The 'un'natural history of Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaiʻi

Kāne‘ohe Bay, which is located on the on the northeast coast of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, represents one of the most intensively studied estuarine coral reef ecosystems in the world with over 1600 publications. This coral reef ecosystem has been impacted by humans for more than 800 years but despite several major disturbances, these reefs have developed and continue to persist under rather severe natural and anthropogenic perturbations (see The unnatural history of Kāne‘ohe Bay: coral reef resilience in the face of centuries of anthropogenic impacts). My review paper highlights the anthropogenic and natural disturbances that have occurred in Kāneʻohe Bay from the Polynesian Era (1250-1778)  to the Western Era (1778-2015)  into the Future Era (2015-2040).

To date, these reefs have proved to be very resilient; however, I am currently examining the limits of Kāneʻohe Bay reef resilience in the face of global climate change.

Monitoring Coral Reef Ecosystems

The Hawai‘i Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (CRAMP) was created during 1997-98 by leading coral reef researchers, managers and educators in Hawai‘i . The initial task was to develop a state-wide network consisting of over 30 long-term coral reef monitoring sites and associated data base. CRAMP is a research program designed to identify the controlling factors, both natural and anthropogenic, contributing to the stability, decline, or recovery of Hawaiian reefs. CRAMP has developed a standard coral reef assessment and monitoring methodology in achieving its goals. CRAMP is an integrated state-wide program with a common data base and rapid information dissemination system that provides the means for managers and researchers to detect and respond appropriately to environmental threats on Hawaiian reefs. 

I am currently working with Dr. Kuʻulei Rodgers at CRAMP sites throughout the Hawaiian Islands to gain a better understanding of ridge to reef connections and how humans will shape future reefs. 

Biological Carrying Capacity 

This project is currently assessing anthropogenic use and global impacts in relation to biological carrying capacity inside the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (HBNP). In collaboration with the Coral Reef Ecology Lab, I am assisting in reviewing historical data, surveying long-term monitoring sites, documenting environmental gradients of temperatures and currents, conducting predictive modeling, and assisting in determining of the physical condition of fish and coral communities inside HBNP. 


Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area, Hā‘ena, Kaua‘i

I am part of a large partnership including the Coral Reef Ecology Lab, DOBOR, DAR Maui Monitoring, DAR Oahu Monitoring, DAR Invasive Species and the Kauai Education and Outreach teams to evaluate this Hā‘ena CBSFA special management area. Together, we are surveying 100 random locations annually using the Kauai Assessment Habitat Utilization (KAHU) methodology for fishes and benthic components to determine effective management strategies for this area.