College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management

Jesse Eiben

Assistant Professor of Entomology
B.S., Albright College
M.S., Oklahoma State University
Ph.D., University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Applied Entomology and Manager of CAFNRM Teaching and Research Arthropod Collection (TRAC)

Jesse Eiben


  • ENTO 304 General Entomology (3)
  • ENTO 374 Insect Pest Control (3)
  • ANSC 350 Anatomy/Physiol Of Farm Animal (3)
  • ANSC 454 Animal Diseases & Parasites II (3)
  • CBES 6XX Advanced Insect Taxonomy and Ecology


  • Broadly defined, I am an applied entomologist that uses methods of research relating to population growth prediction, taxonomy, genetics, and decision implementation to inform environmental management regimes in natural and human-modified environments.
  • Manager of the ~120,000 specimens (and counting!) of the UH Hilo CAFNRM Teaching and Research Arthropod Collection (TRAC)
  • Major Research Focus: Maunakea Alpine Biodiversity Baseline Assessment and Conservation Management Projects
  • Proactive high-quality environmental change and ecosystem management research on the summit of Maunakea has vastly improved ecosystem-level stewardship needs of the multiple users of the Maunakea summit allowing for data driven environmental management decisions relating to telescope facility operation (and potential building and/or decommissioning). Arthropod biodiversity is increasingly being used as an indicator of ecosystem health due to the myriad roles invertebrates play in trophic interactions in ecosystems. Arthropods account for the vast majority of species (endemic and introduced) on Maunakea, and because of this, arthropod baseline surveys are essential to the management of the UH Maunakea Science Reserve. Arthropod surveys inform practical conservation efforts applied to endemic species protections, such as habitat conservation of the wēkiu bug, and are used to monitor introduced species effects ecosystem-wide. Additionally, the efficiency of required natural resources monitoring can be greatly increased with biodiversity sampling protocols proven to collect relevant data in the most efficient manner. Detailed information about population growth and development of cryptic and rare species as well as potentially harmful introduced species can assist planning conservation actions, such as predicting appropriate survey times after restoration efforts to confirm successful species reproduction in restored areas. In today's natural resource management culture, efficiency, accountability and demonstrated success of management actions are priorities, and rigorous invertebrate monitoring can assist in meeting these demands.
  • The collaborative efforts of UH Hilo Entomology and Geography departments (Dr. Eiben and Dr. Perroy labs) and UH Mānoa CTAHR PEPS (Dr. Rubinoff, UH Insect Museum) have created detailed records and habitat models of the endemic arthropods in the alpine stone desert of Maunakea. This unprecedented level of ecosystem inventory provides the level of detailed knowledge to monitor for and properly manage ecosystem changes to inform accurate data-driven natural resource management decisions in the UH Maunakea Science Reserve.
Teaching and Research Arthropod Collection (TRAC) Lab at UH Hilo

Active Research Projects

  • Maunakea Science Reserve Baseline Arthropod Biodiversity Assessment: Co-PI, Dr. Dan Rubinoff, UH Mānoa CTAHR, PEPS; Funding - UH Hilo OMKM
  • The Exceptional Case of the Lantana Lace Bug: Major Collaborator, Dr. Tracy Johnson, US Forest Service, IPIF; Funding - USFS
  • Invasive Species Pathway Surveys for UH Managed Lands and Facilities; Funding - UH Hilo OMKM

Selected Publications

Major Publications

  • Eiben, J. and Rubinoff, D. (2014) Application of agriculture developed demographic analysis for the conservation of the Hawaiian alpine wēkiu bug. Conservation Biology, 28(4). 1077-1088.
  • Medeiros, M.J., Eiben, J.A., Haines, W.P., Kaholoaa, R.L., King, C.B.A., Krushelnycky, P.D., Magnacca, K.N., Rubinoff, D., Starr, F., & Starr, K. (2013) The importance of insect monitoring to conservation actions in Hawai‘i. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 45. 149-165.
  • Eiben, J. and Rubinoff, D. (2010) Life history and captive rearing of the Wēkiu bug (Nysius wekiuicola, Lygaeidae), an alpine carnivore endemic to the Mauna Kea volcano of Hawai‘i. Journal of Insect Conservation, 14(6). 701-709

Selected Presentations

  • Oral Presentation, 15 min. – Eiben J., Rubinoff, D. Exploring the status and definitions of rare arthropod taxa on Maunakea: Toward data-centric metrics of conserving biodiversity. Aug. 2015. Hawaii Conservation Conference, Hilo, HI
  • Invited Speaker: The little things that help make Maunakea special: What we know about the insects of the summit. June 2015. Common Ground Community Lecture Series: TMT & Maunakea organized by Hilo-Hamakua Community Development Corporation, Laupahoehoe, HI. Video:
  • Symposium Co-Organizer and Invited Speaker, 15 min. – Eiben, J., Rubinoff, D., Medeiros, M. The role of high elevation habitat stability in the evolution of Hawaiian Nysius seed bugs. April 2015. Pacific Entomology Conference, Honolulu, HI.
  • Oral Presentation, 15 min. – Eiben, J. Kirkpatrick, J. Life tables and population growth modeling guide conservation actions for an alpine restricted rare insect, the wekiu bug, Nysius wekiuicola, in Hawaii. November 2014. Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR
  • Symposium Organizer and Speaker, 15 min. - Eiben, J. Arthropod biodiversity baseline survey and monitoring methodology for conservation and land management in high alpine Hawaiian ecosystems. 2013. Entomological Society of America National meeting, Austin, TX
  • Invited Speaker, 25 min. - Eiben, J. Research programs centered on a single high alpine insect informs ecosystem level resource management on Mauna Kea, HI. 2012. International Symposium: Vulnerable Islands in the Sky: Science and Management of Tropical Alpine & Sub-Alpine Ecosystems, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Waimea, HI
  • Invited Plenary Speaker, 50 min. - Eiben, J. The Life and Times of the Wēkiu Bug. 2011. Pacific Branch Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Waikoloa, HI
  • Oral presentation, 15 min. - Eiben, J. and Rubinoff, D. Degree day modeling and population genetics aid in the conservation management of the Wēkiu bug in Hawai‘i. 2010. National Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, San Diego, CA
  • Oral presentation, 15 min. - Eiben, J. and Rubinoff, D. Exploring the evolution and diversity of Hawai‘i’s endemic seed bugs: Nysius (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae) 2009. National Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Indianapolis, IN
    • 1st place President’s Prize winner

Student Projects

Contact Information

Jesse Eiben, Assistant Professor, Entomology
Tel: (808) 932-7153
Fax: (808) 932-7037
Office: College of Agriculture Building, room 105
Mail: 200 W Kāwili St, Hilo, HI 96720-4091