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I received an undergraduate degree in Aquatic Biology from University of California at Santa Barbara in 1985. After that I held a number of field tech positions in Santa Barbara and spent 2 years in the Peace Corps (Philippines). I transitioned from a marine to a terrestrial focus when I entered graduate school in the Department of Zoology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in the early 1990’s. My Ph.D. work addressed aspects of behavioral and community ecology of native forest birds at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the Big Island. After completing my Ph.D. in 2000, I spent three and a half years as a post-doc with the NSF-funded Biocomplexity of Avian Disease project in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and began as an Assistant Professor at UH Hilo in 2005.
I have broad interests in behavioral ecology, community ecology, and conservation of Hawaiian forests and forest birds. The relationships between habitat variables and bird distribution, abundance, and demography as they relate to the conservation of Hawaiian forest birds have been a major theme of much of my past and current research. Most recently, our lab has four basic research areas, including: 1) the use of bioacoustics to address a variety of questions relating to bird conservation and behavior in both Hawaiʻi and Costa Rica, 2) dendrochronology to better understand the history and dynamics of Hawaiian forests and climate, 3) Hawaiian forest bird inventory and monitoring, and 4) Hawaiian forest inventory and monitoring. For all our projects, we have active collaborations with local, national, and international researchers. (for additional information, please see the Hart Lab website ).