Welcome to the UH Hilo Biology Department
Biology is one of the largest departments at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo with faculty expertise encompassing the disciplines of physiology, microbiology, molecular and population genetics, biostatistics, evolution, cell biology, botany, mycology, tropical forest ecology, conservation biology, marine ecology, and ichthyology. (About the Biology Department…)
News and Events
UH Hilo integral to research that forecasts future ocean crisis
On the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement to quadruple the size of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has co-authored research on the emerging biodiversity crisis in the world’s oceans. The publication, entitled “Ecological selectivity of the emerging mass extinction in the oceans,” will be included in the September 16 issue of the journal Science.
Matthew Knope collaborated with lead-author Jonathan Payne and Noel Heim of Stanford University, Andrew Bush of the University of Connecticut, and Doug McCauley of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The study compared the ecological traits and extinction threat level of animals in oceans today to the ancient past and concluded that future ecological disruption has the potential to be much greater than with past mass extinctions.
“Even under the most optimistic business-as-usual scenario, vertebrate extinctions could far exceed those of any other time since the end-Cretaceous mass extinction 66 million years ago when the planet was struck by a meteorite leading to the extinction of the dinosaurs,” Knope said.
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Please welcome our newest Biology Faculty member, Dr. Matt Knope
Matthew Knope is a new Assistant Professor of Biology at UH Hilo. He received a Bachelors degree in Marine Biology with honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz (1999), a Masters degree in Marine Biology from San Francisco State University (2004), and a Ph.D. in Biology from Stanford University (2012). Also at Stanford, he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Dept. of Biology (2012), a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Dept. of Geological and Environmental Sciences (2013-2014), and a Lecturer in the Dept. of Biology (2014-2015). Before joining the faculty at UH Hilo, he was most recently an Assistant Professor of Ecology and Field Biology at the University of San Francisco (2015-2016). He is broadly interested in almost all aspects of biology, but his primary research topics are related to the evolutionary ecology of both marine and terrestrial organisms, in Hawaii and elsewhere. In addition, he is strongly motivated to develop and share innovative teaching methods in the sciences.
Image above: Dr. Matthew Knope
Congratulations to our UH Hilo Biology Students on their Student Achievement
On May 4th, Luke Kupcha won the Outstanding Graduating Senior Award. Heather Coad won the Mae Mull Award for Outstanding Student in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology. Lastly, Dillon Tacdol (not pictured) won the Don Hemmes Award. These students demonstrated excellent academic scholarship and displayed exemplary work in their field. Great job! Congratulations!
Image above: Luke Kupcha and Heather Coad
Dr. Li Tao publishes paper on mitotic mechanisms of the kinesin-6 motor in Nature Communications
"Li Tao is an assistant professor of biology at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. He is a biochemist and a cell biologist with expertise in using a combination of in vitro biochemistry and in vivo cell biology to understand the regulation of cell division, thus providing insights into the fundamental mechanism to control the growth of cancer cells." - Keauhou
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Image above: Professor Tao and below: Dr. Tao with his student research assistants (l-r) Gin Tezuka and Luke Kupcha.
UH Hilo's newest Biology faculty member, Dr. Jolene Sutton, sequences rare Hawaiian crow's genome that will assist in conservation efforts
"In collaboration with PacBio, scientists at San Diego Zoo Global and the University of Hawaii, Hilo have fully sequenced the genome of the 'Alalā, or Hawaiian crow and shared the results of this effort at the recent annual Plant and Animal Genomics XXIV Conference in San Diego. The 'Alalā was once reduced to a population of about 20 birds, and the sequencing of the species' genome will be important to track any genetic challenges that may occur due to the reduced genetic diversity now seen in the species." - Zoological Society of San Diego
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Photo credit: http://blognew.sandiegozoo.org/
Biology Welcomes new Assistant Professor, Dr. Jolene Sutton
Dr. Sutton received her Ph.D. from the University of Otago in 2013. She then worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at UH-Mānoa until joining the Biology Department at UH-Hilo in 2016. Her research area is Molecular and Conservation Genetics, with a specific focus on immunity genes.