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  • “We are our own honua. We are the seed of our own knowledge.”

    ~Aunty Donnie
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A new publication!

Aloha pond-lovers: Good news! The paper that resulted from my mangrove project is now published online in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. The abstract is below, but I will summarize even more succinctly here: 1) Mangrove roots decompose much more slowly in He’eia fishpond than they do in their native range 2) … Continue reading

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People, Ponds, and Gardens

It has been about five months since I left Hawai‘i for the chilly Pacific Northwest. While I have dearly missed He‘eia fishpond, I was recently pleasantly surprised by another human-ecological structure here in the Pacific Northwest: they’re called clam gardens. They’re rock walls built along the coast by First Nations people. Tides slowly deposit sediment … Continue reading

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Venturing Out of the Pond

It has been several months since my last post, and many exciting developments have occurred since then! I have much to share, but the first and most important change is that I have finished my Masters project in the fishpond and begun a new series of studies in the Pacific Northwest, where I just began … Continue reading

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Male In, Re-bait: The Difficulties of Density

One of the greatest challenges that faces ecologists is that of estimating “real” processes from what we sample. It is our job to characterize observable phenomena, but when we do surveys, or set traps, or tag and recapture things, the data we get are just a tiny snapshot of ecological patterns and processes that occur … Continue reading

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“Ecosystem Gestalt,” Hawaiian Ways of Knowing and the Power of Modeling

I am currently at the Ecological Society of America’s 96th Annual Meeting, held in Austin, Texas. The conference has been enlightening so far: workshops started this weekend, and great talks abound for the upcoming hours and days. This morning, the plenary talk was presented by Stephen W. Pacala, ESA MacArthur Lecturer and Director of the … Continue reading

A Sternapsid worm found in mangrove sediments from He'eia fishpond

Just a Cool Worm for Independence Day

In celebration of the 4th of July, I’m sharing a picture of a worm whose body is reminiscent of a firecracker. The process of sorting cores goes rather slowly. After coring sediments and sieving out macrofauna (anything bigger than 0.5 mm), everything gets preserved in formalin with seawater, waiting to be sorted and identified. Usually … Continue reading

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Beads Fall Into Burrows. Can You Dig It?

While we are busying ourselves aboveground, marching around, measuring things, and generally living our terrestrial lives, there is a whole lot of activity going on beneath our feet: an underworld bristling with burrowers, both on land and at sea. This world is fascinating, and we also have a hard time truly comprehending it, or seeing … Continue reading

LAIP intern Sawako and the dog, Sugar, in the lo'i

‘Ike ‘Aina

Today was our second annual trip mauka (into the mountains) with Auntie Donnie and the Laulima A ‘Ike Pono (LAIP) program. We started the day by chanting the sun up at the fishpond (E Ala E), then headed into the mountains to Auntie Donnie’s property, where we hiked to the source of the water that … Continue reading

Invasion Ecology and Management Politics: Important Lessons From A Poorly Received Paper

Mark Davis and several of his colleagues wrote a comment in Nature this month which caught my eye, not because it is a new argument, but because it’s an old argument that drives ecologists and conservation biologists up the wall. The piece, titled “Don’t Judge Species On Their Origins,” argues that we should judge species … Continue reading

"If you remove the invasives, the natives come back." Deforested mangrove has been grown over by the indigenous 'akulikuli. Dead mangrove leaves float in the water nearby..

Do You Manage Your Invasives With That Model?

Once a species has invaded, it’s hard to make it disappear again. Therefore, researchers and managers are always looking for ways to manage without micromanaging: they look for patterns in the growth or spread of species that might indicate a threshold of manageability. A well-known case here in Hawaii is the introduction of decorator urchins … Continue reading

  • Mahalo Nui Loa

    I recently graduated from the Donahue Lab at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and am currently a graduate student at the University of Washington. This research is funded by a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, as well a scholarship from the Seattle chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation.
  • “Where do ecological ideas come from? …Most do not spring deductively from the minds of ecologists, like Athena from the head of Zeus. Instead, they emerge when ecologists absorb the essential spirit of individual places– their genius loci.”

    ~Mary V. Price & Ian Billick, "The Ecology of Place"
  • “Aloha is the intelligence with which we meet life.”

    ~Olana A'i, Kumu Hula

  • “I no longer say ‘Hawaiian ways of knowing’ anymore. Because people relegate that to the margins. ‘Ways of knowing,’ as if it’s a quaint, anthropologic way of describing something outside us. No, it’s ‘epistemology,’ the philosophy of knowledge. Land educates. ‘Ike ‘aina. The land of your birth educates you. This land here educates you.”

    ~Manu Meyer

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