The study—led by affiliate researchers in the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management—creates a new, combined process to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, produce food and electricity, and reduce deforestation.

Algae cells.
Microalgae – Nannochloropsis sp. Photo credit: CSIRO.

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, in affiliation with Duke and Cornell universities, have co-authored a study that suggests making croplands more efficient through algae production could unlock an important negative emission technology to combat climate change.

Bruce Mathews
Bruce Mathews

The research, “Integrating Algae with Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (ABECCS) Increases Sustainability,” is funded by a U.S. Department of Energy award and was recently published in the journal Earth’s Future. This funding is a Marine Algae Industrialization Consortium (MAGIC) grant for which Bruce Mathews, dean of the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM), serves as the facilitating principal investigator at UH Hilo. Duke University subcontracted the overall project out to multiple institutions, including UH Hilo.

Lead authors are Colin Beal and Ian Archibald of the college at UH Hilo, and Charles Green who is affiliated with both UH Hilo and Cornell University. Co-authors are Mark Huntley of UH Hilo and a Cornell visiting scholar of biological and environmental engineering, and Zackary Johnson of Duke University’s biology department and marine laboratory.

Cornell reports the study creates a new, combined process to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, produce food and electricity, and reduce deforestation.

In today’s highly competitive world, students need to realize that graduate programs in agriculture are increasingly looking for students with greater preparation in the natural sciences, biotechnology, statistics/predictive analytics than the minimum requirements for a BS in agriculture.

By Bruce Mathews, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource ManagementUniversity of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

Group of students stand in vegetable garden on the UH Hilo campus.
UH Hilo students in a class on sustainable agriculture gather in one of their vegetable gardens on campus.
Bruce Mathews
Bruce Mathews

A fall 2017 University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) survey of College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM) students was recently shared with me by student Alexis Stubbs. The survey indicated that nearly 60% want a government job, a little over 25% will seek a career in some aspect of farming, about 5% want to work in the agricultural/landscape service sector, and the rest don’t know.

This information may be a bit concerning, particularly if one means a government job in agriculture as the number of annual entry level openings in permanent governmental agriculture positions are very limited in Hawaiʻi relative to the numbers of graduates. In terms of further graduate studies nearly 40% indicated that they definitely want to attend graduate school while nearly 35% indicated no intention of further studies. These data are also concerning given that quite a few students that I visit with seem to lack much of an idea about how to best prepare themselves for graduate studies and how to optimize their competitiveness for graduate school assistantships and scholarships.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo alumna Noelani Waters is a technician at the Hawai‘i Apiary Program of the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. She tells us about her work.

By Noelani Waters, Alumna, Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Tropical Plant Science and Agroecology Specialty, UH Hilo.

Noelani Waters

Aloha,

My name is Noelani Waters and I am a College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management alumna who graduated in fall 2014 with a degree in agroecology and tropical plant science with a certificate in beekeeping.

Just before graduating, in October 2014, I was hired as an apiary technician with the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture’s (HDOA) Hawai‘i Apiary Program under the direction of the state’s head apiary specialist at the time, Danielle Downey. The mission of the Hawai‘i Apiary Program is to safeguard the beekeeping industries of Hawai‘i through the application of science-based regulations, regular monitoring and prevention of invasive honey bee pests, interactive educational opportunities, and open communication with beekeepers throughout the state.

Our program was officially established in 2011 and became a permanent part of HDOA in 2014. Though honey bees are not native to Hawai‘i, they have been here for over 150
years, providing a variety of excellent honey and, most importantly, critical pollination of local agricultural goods.

Directed studies provide opportunities for students to engage in some of the most interesting and rewarding educational experiences while in college.

Aerial view of aquaculture facility.
Aerial view of the UH Hilo Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center at Hilo Bay. The Aquaculture Student Workforce Training Program employs about 25 students annually to conduct research and production in the aquaponics, oyster, and marine ornamental programs.

Directed studies at the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management provide opportunities for University of Hawai’i at Hilo students to engage in some of the most interesting and rewarding educational experiences while in college. The following is a glimpse of some of the activities students in CAFNRM are doing to fulfill their requirements in directed studies while producing useful research data and significant community service:

Ellison Montgomery is a recent graduate of CAFNRM, who came back to get more experience in applied sciences. She is working on acclimatizing native plants raised in a nursery management course taught initially by now retired Professor of Horticulture William Sakai and continued by Assistant Professor of Entomology Jesse Eiben. She is also working on a little fire ant integrated pest management project in CAFNRM greenhouses. She is currently employed at Komohana Research and Extension Center.

Students from Tropical Horticulture class spent a day revitalizing and beautifying potted plants and ornamental gardens at a local church.

By Kyle Jackson, Student, Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Horticulture Track.

Students in covered area working on plants.
Hort 262 students reviving ornamentals at Malia Puka O Kalani Church.

Each semester, students of Introduction to Tropical Horticulture (HORT 262) engage in community service. On February 15, 2018, our class of 14 students set out to help Malia Puka O Kalani Church revive their ornamental garden.

The church is located in Keaukaha, Hilo, where almost half of the resident population is Native Hawaiian and 292 acres are devoted to Hawaiian Home Lands. The garden was initially started by a few parishioners of Malia Puka O Kalani in 2016 when Fr. Oliver Ortega was the parish priest. Different tropical ornamental plants such as bougainvilla, anthuriums, hibiscus and many others adorned the church on weekend services and then were returned to the garden for care and maintenance.

However, since Fr. Ortega left and the composition of the parishioners changed, most of the plants were left unattended with half of the potted plants dead and half badly needing repotting, pruning, watering and fertilizing.

We were given instructions on our mission for the day: beautify the church area by moving plants and shelves to a new area. Another part of our goal for the day was to improve the general appeal and health of the plants.

Two alumni volunteers assist UH Hilo entomologist in creating a digital accession database of the moth for the university’s web-based Teaching and Research Arthropod Collection.

Agrotis baliopa
Agrotis baliopa

An entomologist and two alumni from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo have collaborated to create a digital accession database of an endemic moth collection donated to the university.

UH Hilo alumna Quinn Hamamoto (bachelor of arts in English), along with alumna Ellison Montgomery (bachelor of science from the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resoure Management), and Assistant Professor of Entomology Jesse Eiben, who serves as manager of the UH Hilo Teaching and Research Arthropod Collection (TRAC), collaborated to curate and digitize pictures of the endemic Hawaiian insects. The database is posted to the web as a way to raise awareness of the moths.

Professional beekeeper Harald Singer, from the Department of Integrative Zoology at the University of Vienna, gave a talk on “Interactions between honeybees and Varroa mites influenced by cell sizes and hygenic behavior.”

Harold Singer with group who came to hear him speak.
Harald Singer (center with lei) came to UH Hilo to give a talk on beekeeping and Varroa mites.

Professional beekeeper Harald Singer, from the Department of Integrative Zoology at the University of Vienna, recently gave a presentation at the University of Hawaii at Hilo on “Interactions between honeybees and Varroa mites influenced by cell sizes and hygenic behavior.” Singer specializes in small breeding cells in honeybees and ways to overcome the Varroa crises.

In attendance were UH Hilo students, staff, faculty and community beekeepers and representatives from the apiary program of the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.

Singer is a professional beekeeper, bee inspector for the Styrian state government, president of the European Beekeeper Association, and a member of the Professional Beekeeping Association of Austria. He comes from a family of beekeepers and has taught beekeeping professionally.

 

This article was originally published in the Feb 2018 CAFNRM/Agriculture Club Newsletter.

Prof. Lu spoke on “Ethological Observations Associated with Feed and Water Ingestions in Goats.” He also held a Q&A on food and agriculture, research, and higher education.

Group photo on lawn.
Prof. Lu (center standing in tan jacket), the organizing committee and faculty members of the host institution.

Christopher Lu, professor of animal science at the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, delivered a speech at the plenary session of XXIX Reunión Nacional sobre Caprinocultura. The biannual event hosted by the Mexican Association of Goat Production (AMPCA) was held in October 2017 at Cuautitlán campus of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México is the premier institution of higher education in Mexico. The objective of the conference was to disseminate and exchange recent research information among professionals involved in goat production. Hundreds attended the three-day conference.

Professor Lu presented a paper entitled, “Ethological Observations Associated with Feed and Water Ingestions in Goats.”

Student and faculty delegates from all 10 campuses of the University of Hawai‘i System joined together for extensive breakout sessions, brainstorming, strategic planning and more.

By Alexis Stubbs, Sophomore, Tropical Horticulture.

Students working in large open area on campus.
In preparation for showcasing UH Hilo’s sustainability projects during the summit, Professor Norman Arancon’s Sustainable Agriculture class (AG 230) worked together to beautify the surrounding areas and revitalize the nearby Waste Sustainability through Composting and Vermicomposting Project in progress.

Tis the season to be ‘susty’! It’s that time of year again when student and faculty delegates from all 10 campuses of the University of Hawai‘i join together for extensive breakout sessions, brainstorming, strategic planning and more. The 6th Annual Sustainability in Higher Education Summit was hosted on Hawai‘i Island at UH Hilo and Palamanui on February 8-10, 2018, for the first time.

At just $10,000 annual net price, UH Hilo students can prepare themselves for a great diversity of careers in the tropical context, whether government or private sector.

Maria McCarthy handling plants.
UH Hilo student Maria McCarthy performs vegetative propagation on ornamental plants.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo offers one of the top five values in the nation for sustainable agriculture degree programs, according to the online ranking organization CollegeValuesOnline.com. UH Hilo’s bachelor of science in tropical plant sciences and agroecology is ranked fourth of 20 in net price in delivering higher education in sustainable agriculture at an affordable price.

In the ranking, UH Hilo is described as offering “the unique angle of tropical plant sciences for those wishing to labor in tropical zones. At just $10,000 annual net price, students can prepare themselves for a great diversity of careers in the tropical context, whether government or private sector.”