Assistant Professor John H. R. Burns is a recipient of the prestigious Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. His goal is to involve students in his research and provide them training with cutting-edge technology and data science tools.
A marine scientist at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is one of five recipients of this year’s Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, a prestigious UH System award.
John H. R. Burns is one of five educators receiving this year’s annual award, which is bestowed to several faculty and one graduate assistant, recognizing dedication and excellence as teachers of undergraduate students. It was established as a memorial to the late Frances Davis, who taught mathematics at Leeward Community College and UH Mānoa for 19 years.
Burns is an assistant professor of marine science at UH Hilo. He developed innovative techniques to create three-dimensional maps of coral reefs to accurately measure how natural and human-induced disturbances impact ecosystem function.
This transformative work has led to 3D reconstruction techniques being implemented by scientists and management agencies around the world. He and his colleagues continue to produce numerous publications to advance the field of underwater 3D modeling. His goal is to involve students in his research and provide them training with cutting-edge technology and data science tools.
Burns also continues to apply next-generation science tools to identify ecological and anthropogenic drivers of coral health to promote resilient coral ecosystems in the face of global stressors such as climate change. His expertise has led to his inclusion in the award-winning documentaries, Chasing Coral, Reefs at Risk, and Island Earth. He has received funding from agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the National Science Foundation to study coral reefs throughout the Hawaiian Archipelago, Palau, Guam and Kiribati.