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Manager Climate Corps
Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center

A Collaborative Kāhea (Call): MCC Networks in Action and in the News

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Photo: Kamilo petroglyphs advertise the union of nature and culture, cultural resilience, and centuries of human adaptation to shifting environments. Photo Credit: Ryan McClymont, USGS.

August 2018: MCC Congratulates Two Graduate Students and Celebrates the Completion of their Manager-Driven Research Project

The PI-CASC Manager Climate Corps program fosters networking and collaboration as a mechanism to build adaptive capacity to climate change impacts through manager-driven research projects and interactive forums. In summer 2018, two more graduate students from the current MCC cohort successfully defended their research and completed their degrees through UH Hilo's Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program. Kamala Anthony and Cherie Kauahi worked with managers (Hui Mālama Loko I‘a, Hui Hoʻoleimaluō), researchers, and community in each of three loko iʻa (traditional Hawaiian fishponds) in Keaukaha, Hawaiʻi to map layers of depth, temperature, and salinity at the surface and at the bottom of the loko iʻa, and stratification within them. These maps will be utilized by kiaʻi loko (fishpond caretakers) to plan for future inundation, identify different habitat zones within the fishponds for management considerations, and maximize water sampling strategies in the future. Models were also developed to predict how climate-driven changes in rainfall and sea level will alter the productivity of these loko iʻa. See the Final Report from Kamala and Cherie's research team. Also please see the story immediately below for an episode of Voice of the Sea (local television program), which focused on their work.

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Photo: Graduate students Kamala Anthony and Cherie Kauhi enjoying a moment to talk story with a video production team about their efforts as both researchers and kiaʻi loko (fishpond caretakers) at Honokea Loko Iʻa. Photo Credit: Voice of the Sea, Unverity of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant.

July 2018: MCC Loko Iʻa Research Project Showcased in Local Television Program

University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant developed a science television program called Voice of the Sea. Check out the most recent episode, Adapting Culture to Climate Change, which aired on July 7th and 8th and highlighted three PI-CASC-funded research projects involved in community-based management. One of the projects showcased is led by graduate students Kamala Anthony and Cherie Kauahi and Associate Professor of Marine Science Steven Colbert (all from UH Hilo). Their collaborative research project supports the restoration and management of three loko iʻa (traditional Hawaiian fishponds) in Keaukaha, Hawaiʻi. Staff from the PI-CASC's Manager Climate Corps were also interviewed in this episode to shed light on the program's overall vision, which helped develop the research project. Kamala, Cherie, and Steve's collaborative research project works closely with kiaʻi loko (fishpond managers) to examine the impacts of climate change on loko iʻa conditions by examining salinity effects on algae growth and nutrient variability through groundwater influx. Beyond their research project, Kamala and Cherie are a part of a larger effort that manages and restores multiple loko iʻa in Keaukaha and involves hundreds of other kiaʻi loko, owners, workers, supporters, and stakeholders in a statewide hui (network) called, Hui Mālama Loko I‘a. Much of the Voice of the Sea Episode takes place at Waiuli (Richardsons Beach Park) and Honokea Loko Iʻa, which is managed by Hui Hoʻoleimaluō. Such community-based efforts strengthen experience of place and connections across diverse communities and worldviews, thereby building adaptive capacity through times of change. The episode is also scheduled to rerun on Saturday, Sep 8 at 4pm (HST), and Sunday, Sep 9 at 530pm (HST) on KFVE (TV channels 5/1005).

Voice of the Sea producer, Kanesa Seraphine, interviewing Cherie Kauahi and Kamala Anthony next to Honokea Loko Iʻa.
Photo: Kanesa Seraphin, host of Voice of the Sea, interviews UH Hilo graduate students Kamala Anthony and Cherie Kauahi at Honokea Loko Iʻa. Photo Credit: Voice of the Sea.

June 2018: New Paper Published on UH Hilo's Manager Climate Corps

We are excited to announce that Environmental Management has published a new paper on our Manager Climate Corps program (MCC) within the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center. The paper outlines the MCC's step by step development engaging partnerships with a diverse group of scientists, resource managers, policy professionals, and cultural practitioners. The central tenant of the paper is showcasing an on-the-ground example of collaboration and knowledge coproduction in action, while supporting existing professional networks to build communities' capacities for adaptation, resilience, and sustainability in the face of change (i.e., climate change impacts, land-use change, cultural change, invasive species impacts, etc.). The paper follows our process thus far, beginning with local manager interviews across Hawaiʻi Island, which established the MCC's foundation, the initiation of four manager-driven graduate research projects, our Climate Change Boot Camp, and additional interactive forums in local, regional, and national arenas that strengthen and expand in-person networks across multiple scales.

Laursen S, Puniwai N, Genz AS, Nash SAB, Canale LK, and Ziegler-Chong S (2018) Collaboration across worldviews: managers and scientists on Hawaiʻi Island utilize knowledge coproduction to facilitate climate change adaptation. _Environmental Management_62(4): 619-630. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-018-1069-7


June 2018: CNN Reports on UH Hilo Field Team Tracking Lava Flow from the Night Sky

Manager Climate Corps collaborators Rose Hart (MCC Graduate Student), Jon Price (UH Hilo Geography faculty), Ryan Perroy (UH Hilo Geography faculty), and their field team use drones to map in detail the rate and extent of lava flow during the East Rift Zone eruption on Hawaiʻi Island over the past month. Rose's team recently completed a 2-year research effort utilizing her drone pilot training and expertise in remote sensing analysis to study coastal erosion on Hawaiʻi Island. Upon completion of this research campaign, an unexpected field need developed within the growing partnerships between the UH Hilo research team and Hawaiʻi County. Shifting gears, the research team is now working vigilantly to inform hourly decisions made by Hawaiʻi County's Civil Defense networks in support of public safety in the Puna District through the ongoing eruption. Watch CNN's two minute video covering the field team's nightly drone flights and imagery analyses. Also watch a related UH Hilo News video released in October of 2018 on this team's lava flow research.

Lava flow entering Kapoho Bay.
Photo: Lava flow from fissure 8 enters Kapoho Bay, June 4, 2018, at about 6:13 a.m. Photo Credit: USGS.

May 2018: MCC Congratulates Graduating Students and Celebrates their Manager-Driven Research Projects

Through a partnership between the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center, the Manager Climate Corps fosters networking and collaboration as a mechanism to build adaptive capacity to climate change impacts through manager-driven research projects and collaborative forums. In spring 2018, the first two graduate students from the current MCC cohort successfully defended their research projects and are completing their degrees through UH Hilo's Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program. Rose Hart led the first project, which utilized remote sensing and historic photos to estimate coastal erosion and inundation rates driven by sea level rise to inform county setbacks on Hawaiʻi Island. Louise Economy led the second project, which investigated climate driven shifts in Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA in Hilo Bay for water resource and land management solutions. See the Final Reports from Rose Hart's team and Louise Economy's team. Both research collaborations offer local managers practical tools and cutting edge information that expand their capacities to adapt to climate change impacts presently and into the future.

Rose Hart giving her defense presentation in UH Hilo's new state of the art visualization facility that allows a GIS interface across 9 merged video screens.
Photo: Rose Hart giving her defense presentation in UH Hilo's new cyberCANOE data visualization facility, which also broadcasted her presentation live online via social media. Photo Credit: Laursen.

Spring 2018: Natural and Cultural Resource Managers Present Weekly in Graduate Seminar at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

Natural and cultural resource managers from across Hawaiʻi Island offer perspectives and advice to graduate students soon entering into a wide range of research and management fields. Manager Climate Corps staff facilitate these weekly interactive experiences through the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science graduate program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Each week a local manager outlines their current professional duties, describes their involvement with applied research, and offers insights and advice to students from the broader picture of their careers. A significant portion of each class is dedicated to open discussion between managers and graduate students, as well as outside faculty, undergraduate/graduate students, and community members who also attend. The seminars offer a unique informal environment in which graduate students can interact directly with managers to gain key insights into maximizing the impact of their graduate projects, while looking ahead to inquire about the skills, trainings, and experiences that will be important in achieving their long-term professional goals. See the full list of resource managers presenting this spring!

graduate students seated in auditorium during an interactive presenetation from a local natural resource manager
Photo: Ulu Ching outlines her professional roots, goals, and challanges as a bottom-up, community-based manager at Conservation International Hawaiʻi; offering insights to graduate students, faculty, undergraduates, and community members in attendance from the broader arc of her career and experience. Photo Credit: Laursen.

February 2018: New PICCC Film Released on Keaukaha Loko Iʻa Restoration Efforts involving an MCC Research Project

The Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC), the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center’s LCC partner, just released new resources developed through their Hawaiian Islands Terrestrial Adaptation Initiative (HITAI). This release features 6 short films on climate change adaptation efforts. One film is focused on an exciting collaborative restoration of loko iʻa (traditional Hawaiian fishponds) in Keaukaha. The restoration effort at Honokea Loko Iʻa is led by Hui Hoʻoleimaluō and is supported by a UH Hilo graduate research project led by Kamala Anthony, Cherie Kauahi, and Steve Colbert and funded through UH Hilo's Manager Climate Corps (MCC). Learn more about this loko iʻa research project, related research projects within the MCC and the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program at UH Hilo, and collaborative manager/researcher experiences within the Manager Climate Corps.

Honokea Loko Iʻa on a sunny morning along Keaukaha
Photo: A serene morning at Honokea Loko Iʻa. This traditional Hawaiian fishpond restoration led by Hui Hoʻoleimaluō is the union point of not only a number of different ecosystems, but also of community, cultural practitioners, and researchers; all constantly adapting to the shifting conditions that characterize this distinct, longstanding practice in food security. Photo Credit: Jeff Orig.

January 2018: Experience the MCC's Program Development Process as Presented at the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Austin, TX

The Manager Climate Corps' two year development process was presented by Scott Laursen at this year's annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), specifically within the 13th Symposium on Societal Applications: Policy, Research, and Practice. You can read the abstract or experience the recorded 15-minute presentation directly. The MCC's approach to developing actionable science locally was well aligned with the symposium context as well as the broader theme of this year's AMS meeting: "Transforming Communication in the Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise Focusing on Challenges Facing Our Sciences." Sub-themes within this year's meeting were active engagement within the culture of communication, listening, engaging a wider range of disciplines and cultures, and a strong emphasis on practice as the cornerstone of innovation. The MCC's development process is founded in place-based experience and in-person interactions as a base for sustained collaborative practice that unites diverse worldviews.

NASA technologies presentated in a large screen complex to conference attendees seated in a small seating area in the AMS exhibit hall
Photo: NASA technologies presented within the AMS exhibit hall. Photo Credit: American Meteorological Association.

October 2017: Big Island Video News Covers MCC Team Presenting their research on Staphylococcus in Hilo Bay to County Committee

Researchers Louise Economy and Tracy Wiegner presented their research on rainfall driven shifts in Staphylococcus in Hilo Bay to the Hawaiʻi County Council Environmental Management committee. Big Island Video News reported the presentation and subsequent discussion between MCC scientists and committee members. A related story on this research project was posted by UH Hilo Stories.

Researcher presenting to committee members in a room
Photo: MCC graduate student Louise Economy presents her data to the Hawaiʻi County Council Environmental Management committee. Photo Credit: http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2017/10/04/video-staphylococcus-study-on-hawaii-island/.

October 2017: MCC Graduate Student Receives International Award for Presenting Her Research on Coastal Erosion

Rose Hart recently received an excellence award from the Institute of Mathematics for Industry (IMI) at Kyushu University, Japan, for her poster on determining shoreline change rates on Hawaiʻi Island at the 2017 Math for Industry Conference: Responding to the Challenges of Climate Change, which was held at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa this year. As part of her award, Rose will travel to Japan for a two week visit to IMI to learn about the institute’s research and to present her work to their community. See more details of her award and research project in this article. For a more indepth look at Rose's research, please see the article published by UH Hilo Stories.

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Photo: MCC graduate student Rose Hart presenting at the 2017 Math-for-Industry Conference. Photo Credit: Hart/Perroy.

Spring/Summer 2017: Interactive Conference Forums

Our first collaborative forums were the Climate Change Boot Camp (Aug. 2016) and the National Early Career Professional Training at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (Nov. 2016), spanning highly local and national contexts respectively. Next during the spring and summer of 2017, the MCC led interactive knowledge coproduction forums at local, regional, and national conference sessions listed below. These forums utilized a variety of formats (film, panels, small group discussions, and presentations) and were opportunities for managers, policy professionals, community leaders, graduate students, and researchers to interactively participate in the collaborative process of uniting multiple knowledge forms and distinct worldviews through professional networking opportunities. By drawing diverse backgrounds, in-person forums such as these are unique opportunities for researchers and stakeholders to develop relationships, deepen understanding across worldviews, expand networks, develop actionable products, and, thereby, build upon human capacities of adaptation, resilience, and sustainability through times of significant socio-ecological change.

Local: Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference, Honolulu, HI, July 18-20, 2017 (website)

Regional: University of Guam Island Sustainability Conference, Tumon, Guam, April 18-21, 2017 (website)

National: National Adaptation Forum, St. Paul, MN, May 9-11, 2017 (website)

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Photo: Round table discussion at the Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference in July, 2017 facilitated connections within small groups of natural resource managers, cultural practitioners, policy professionals, scientists, community leaders, and graduate students. Participants learn about one another's worldviews while discussing needs, products, and collaborative strategies to adapt to climate change. Photo Credit: Sharon Ziegler-Chong.

May/June 2017: Hawaiʻi Tribune Herald Article Outlines Senate Climate Change Bill that was Signed in June. Article Highlights Relevant Expertise from MCC Research Project.

A Hawaiʻi Tribune Herald article from May, 2017 outlines a bill sponsored by Hawaiʻi County Senators Josh Green and Kai Kahele, among others, and signed by Governor David Ige on June 6, 2017. The bill aligns Hawaiʻi's approach to climate change impacts with the 2016 Paris Agreement by creating an interagency climate change mitigation and adaptation committee and a full-time coordinator. The Hawaiʻi Tribune Herald article additionally highlights the MCC research team led by Steve Colbert, Jason Adolf, Cherie Kauahi, and Kamala Anthony that is investigating climate change impacts on loko iʻa (traditional Hawaiian fishponds) through groundwater effects and projecting possible near-future scenarios to assist loko iʻa managers in Keaukaha. See a related article on this research team published by UH Hilo Stories.

school group helping build rock wall for fishpond
Photo: Many hands from a school group work together on the rock wall of Honokea loko iʻa (traditional Hawaiian fishpond) in Keaukaha. The site visit by the local school group was coordinated through the loko iʻa research team discussed in the Hawaiʻi Tribune article. Photo Credit: Kamala Anthony.

May 2017: UH Hilo Stories Reports on MCC Graduate Research Project Investigating Potential Climate Change Impacts on Near Shore Water Quality in East Hawaiʻi

UH Hilo Stories posted an article on a UH Hilo research project that connects with managers, researchers, and communities. The research team is investigating potential climate driven shifts in Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA to inform water resource and land management solutions locally and to engage the public through community outreach.

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Photo: Louise Economy co-leads a manager-driven research effort in Hilo Bay investigating near shore water quality and projecting possible near-future impacts of climate change. Photo Credit: Economy

April 2017: UH Hilo Stories Reports on MCC Graduate Research Team Developing Resources to Help Loko Iʻa (Traditional Hawaiian Fishpond) Management and Restoration Adapt to Climate Change Impacts

The UH Hilo Stories article outlines the goals of a collaborative new research project in Keaukaha, Hawaiʻi, which move well beyond scientific and clinical objectives. The central goal for this team is to support the community and culture involved in the loko i‘a (traditional fishponds) through times of socio-ecological change. See a related article on this research team published by the Hawaiʻi Tribune Herald.

Loko Iʻa Collaborative Research
Photo: Loko iʻa collaborative research team (left to right): Cherie Kauahi, Steve Colbert, Kamala Anthony, and Jason Adolf

April 2017: UH Hilo Stories Reports on MCC Manager-Based Graduate Research Project Helping Hawaiʻi County Adapt to Shifting and Variable Erosion Rates

New UH Hilo Stories article reports on UH Hilo researchers utilizing small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVʻs) to capture detailed images of coastal areas. Data from the UAV imagery will be used to develop predictive models, offering vital information to county planners preparing for the variable impacts of climate change on erosion rates across Hawaiʻi Island.

Manager-Based Coastal Erosion Research Photo: Informing community development - Rose Hart (left) and Ryan Perroy (right) co-lead new project estimating erosion rates of distinct substrates on Hawai'i Island. Photo Credit: Hart


April 2017: New Boot Camp Film Release!!

Check out our new film that was produced from documentary footage taken during our August 2016 PI-CSC Climate Change Boot Camp! View the 10-minute documentary film, Resilient Voices: Adaptation Across Worldviews, below, or download from the USGS website. For additional background information on the experience, see our boot camp page.


March 2017: UH Hilo Stories Article Highlights an MCC Graduate Research Project Involving Climate Change, Forests, and Sustainable Agriculture

Read about arboreal studies led by UH Hilo Biology professor Becky Ostertag and her graduate research student Joanna Norton in the recent UH Hilo Stories article. These research efforts link native and invasive species issues, ecosystem function, and sustainable agriculture, collectively helping scientists and resource managers understand and adapt to the effects of climate change within island environments.

Joanna Norton stands next to Becky Ostertag
Photo: Joanna Norton and Rebecca Ostertag (left to right) create a unique professional team that unites sustainable forest function and sustainable farming practices.

November 2016: UMASS National Climate Science Center Student and Early Career Training

On November 2nd and 3rd, 2016, a National Climate Science Center Student and Early Career Training was held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Our MCC team chaired the development of two knowledge coproduction training sessions and facilitated them at the event, which included panel presentations and small group break out discussion that linked to Alison Meadow’s keynote talk on knowledge coproduction. Our MCC program was highlighted as an on the ground example of a knowledge coproduction program and an effective method for increasingly connecting interdisciplinary university research with local communities and natural resource manager networks toward actionable science products.

Event planners gather on the steps of the University of Massachusetts during the early career training
Photo: Event planners gather on the steps of the University of Massachusetts during the early career training in Amherst, MA. Photo Credit: Toni Klemm

October 2016: Climate Change Boot Camp Article in Pacific Pandanus

The Pacific Pandanus, a joint newsletter from the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center and the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative recently published an article on the MCC's Climate Change Boot Camp, which took place in Kāʻu over four days in August 2016. Check out the October 2016 edition of the Pacific Pandanus and our Climate Change Boot Camp article on page 7.

Researchers on a clif
Photo: Climate Change Boot Camp participants are in transition at the coast as they follow the path of spring water from the mauka (upslope) location of the spring to where the freshwater enters the kai (ocean). Photo Credit: Ryan McClymont, USGS.

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Partner Agencies

UH ManoaUniversity of GuamDepartment of the Interior
USGSPacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center

Contact MCC Staff

  • Sharon Ziegler-Chong: University Consortium Lead
  • Phone: (808) 933-0759
  • Email: ziegler@hawaii.edu

The MCC partners with the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Graduate Program at UH Hilo and is a part of the larger tri-university consortium of the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center (PI-CASC).