Faculty Mentors

There are three major areas within which interns may choose specific mentors: Terrestrial Biology/Ecology, Marine Biology and Plant/Animal – Microbe Interactions.

Terrestrial Biology/Ecology

Kasey Barton

Kasey Barton NOT AVAILABLE SUMMER 2018 – investigations of plant functional ecology, with particular emphasis on plant-herbivore interactions, seedling ecology, climate change, and invasion biology. Current projects focus on coastal plant salinity tolerance, forest tree invasion dynamics, and island plant defenses against herbivores.
Botany, UH Manoa


Pat Couvillon

Patricia Couvillon – comparative evolutionary approach to the study of learning, memory, and cognition in animals, with a particular emphasis on invertebrate species. This lab works mostly with honeybees, whose performance in a wide range of learning situations proves to be closely similar to that of vertebrates despite the remoteness of the evolutionary relationship and the vast differences in brain size and organization. Current studies focus on short-term working memory, abstract or relational learning (same-different, novel-familiar, odd-non odd), and both intrinsic and learned sensitivity to potentially aversive taste substances (salts, acids, glycosides, and artificial sweeteners).
Pacific Biosciences Research Center, UH Manoa


Curt Daehler

Curtis Daehler – global and regional patterns and trends among plant invaders; the ecology and evolution of invasive plants. The lab also explores interactions between invasive plants and pollinators, and herbivores and microorganisms in order to understand the roles that these organisms play in successful and failed plant invasions.
Botany, UH Manoa


Kiana Frank

Kiana Frank – identifying environmental drivers of microbial dynamics and characterizing the impact of microorganisms on biogeochemical cycling in mineral-hosted terrestrial and aquatic Hawaiian ecosystems. We focus on understanding the kinetics of microbially mediated biogeochemical processes, the factor(s) governing activity, the taxonomy of the organisms responsible, and the extent to which they influence the ecosystem as a whole. This work bridges physical and social sciences, with culture. Understanding the structure and impact of microbes in native ecosystems helps to evaluate overall ecosystem health and inform management and restoration of Hawaiian ahupuaʻa (watershed) resources.
Pacific Biosciences Research Center, Kewalo Marine Laboratory


Matt Madeiros

Matthew Medeiros – the evolutionary biology and ecology of hosts, vectors, and infectious pathogens. Medeiros’ lab strives to understand the proximate and ultimate drivers of infectious disease transmission across various ecological scales, from dynamics within host individuals, to those that manifest within and between ecological communities across heterogeneous landscapes by combining field, laboratory, mathematical, and statistical techniques to answer questions on the complexity of infectious disease transmission that could not be achieved through one technique alone.
Pacific Biosciences Research Center, UH Manoa


Cliff Morden

Clifford Morden NOT AVAILABLE SUMMER 2019 – molecular approaches to address issues of the systematics of the native Hawaiian flora. Research projects involve phylogenetic questions of species biogeography in the islands both in terms of their native habitat and how they are distributing among the islands. The lab also addresses questions about the genetic structure of populations, the interrelation of populations within and among islands, or the consequences of hybridization among sympatric species.
Botany, UH Manoa


Floyd Reed

Floyd Reed – development of genetic pest-management techniques and conservation applications in dipterans, with a broad focus on genetics, evolution and the natural history of Hawai‘i. The lab specializes in molecular biology skills such as DNA extraction, PCR, sequencing and analysis.
Biology, UH Manoa


Bob Thomson

Robert Thomson NOT AVAILABLE SUMMER 2019 – broad interest in evolutionary biology and conservation. The lab focuses on phylogenetics (the study of evolutionary history), bioinformatics, and has a fondness for amphibians and reptiles (although they work with several other organisms also).  There are a number of approaches: some involve doing field work, some involve molecular work and genetic sequencing, and some involve writing computer code. It’s all united in its focus on making better sense of the history of life and conserving biodiversity.
Biology, UH Manoa


Joanne Yew

Joanne Yew – neural basis of chemical communication. Using the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, we seek to identify new pheromones (specialized chemical communication signals) and to understand how pheromones are processed by the brain. We use a combination of genetic manipulation, behavioral analysis, and mass spectrometry techniques.
Pacific Biosciences Research Center, UH Manoa


Marine Biology

Brian Bowen

Brian Bowen NOT AVAILABLE SUMMER 2019 – the harnessing of molecular genetics to reveal the origins and natural history of marine biota, with an emphasis on coral reefs of Hawaiʻi and the wider Indo-Pacific Ocean. One of the neglected aspects of conservation is in preserving the origins of biodiversity. This evolutionary conservation is especially pertinent to the volcanic archipelago of Hawaiʻi, where all life above and below the waterline had origins elsewhere. We use genetic techniques to illuminate the pathways of colonization into Hawaiʻi.
Hawaii Institue of Marine Biology, Coconut Island


Megan Donahue

Megan Donahue NOT AVAILABLE SUMMER 2018 – spatial population dynamics and marine community ecology. The lab focuses on integration of theory and data, metacommunity dynamics, and scaling of ecological processes in coral reef ecosystems.
Hawaii Institue of Marine Biology, Coconut Island


Mike Hadfield

Michael Hadfield – settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrate animals. Metamorphosis in larvae of many invertebrates depends on very specific external chemical signals. Major emphasis is on the complex interactions of invertebrate larvae with specific bacterial components of the biofilms that cover all surfaces in the sea, and include complex bacterial substances that induce metamorphosis in the small fouling worm Hydroides elegans, as well as other benthic marine invertebrate species from sponges to barnacle, clams and oysters.
Pacific Biosciences Research Center, Kewalo Marine Laboratory


Peter Marko

Peter Marko – fundamental questions about how historical biogeographic and contemporary ecological processes together shape patterns of organismal diversity in the world’s oceans. Much of this research has focused on models of morphological and genetic divergence before, during, and after speciation. Experimental studies of the fertilization biology of marine species, with the main goal of understanding the factors maintaining high genetic diversity of sperm and egg surface proteins within species of free-spawning coral reef invertebrates.
Biology, UH Manoa


Amy Moran

Amy Moran – studies on early life history stages of marine invertebrates, including eggs, embryos, and larvae, which are vitally important and vulnerable parts of the life cycle, although much less is known about them than is known about adults. The lab is also interested in how marine invertebrates (particularly larvae) function under physiological stress from extreme or changing temperature, pH, and oxygen environments.
Biology, UH Manoa


Megan Porter

Megan Porter – molecular evolution investigations of visual systems, with particular emphasis on the visual pigment protein opsin and estimating selective forces and interactions of molecules in the cascade leading to high-resolution image formation. Organismal systems include mantis shrimp (stomatopods) and copepod crustaceans.
Biology, UH Manoa


Robert Richmond

Robert Richmond – marine conservation biology, with a focus on coral reefs. Research programs include studies of coral reproductive biology, ecotoxicology, coral reef ecology, the impacts of climate change and bridging sound science to policy development and implementation.
Pacific Biosciences Research Center, Kewalo Marine Laboratory


Ku’ulei Rodgers

Ku’ulei Rodgers – Coral reef ecology; responses to climate change; anthropogenic impacts; field assessment and monitoring; community-based monitoring; bioindicators; “ridge to reef” connectivity; management applied coral reef research.
Hawaii Institue of Marine Biology, Coconut Island


Alison Sherwood

Alison Sherwood – diversity, phylogeography, systematics, evolution and ecology of the marine, freshwater and terrestrial algal floras of the Hawaiian Islands. The lab research emphasizes the mechanisms of spread, their evolution, and subsequent phylogenetic relationships.
Botany, UH Manoa


Celia Smith

Celia Smith – the physiological ecology of reef algae and seagrasses in the context of global change. In particular these areas are (1) development and use of non-invasive methods to characterize photosynthesis and growth of reef algae, seagrasses and corals under a wide range of climate driven parameters, (2) physiological ecology of adults and germlings in algal life histories in response to mesocosm conditions simulating the ocean state of 2050, (3) settlement strategies by algae leading to outplanting native species for habitat restoration, as well as grazing strategies by native grazers, as tools for habitat restoration.
Botany, UH Manoa


Robert Toonen

Robert Toonen NOT AVAILABLE SUMMER 2019 – processes that influence dispersal and recruitment in coastal marine invertebrates, and with a particular interest in the evolutionary consequences of larval developmental modes among Hawaiian coral reef species. We approach research from an ecological perspective to scale up from genes to individuals to populations, and ultimately to the micro- and macro-evolutionary consequences of the processes being studied.
Hawaii Institue of Marine Biology, Coconut Island


Angel Yanagihara

Angel Yanagihara studies the field ecology, biodiversity, reproductive behavior and venom of box jellyfish (cubozoans). The research program includes night time box jellyfish observation and collection along Waikiki and leeward beaches as well as beach counts as part of a longitudinal (since 1997) data series analyzing box jelly spawning aggregations which occur over a 3 day period each lunar cycle. Other lab projects include box jelly venom recovery and bioassay as well as biochemical purification and characterization.
Pacific Biosciences Research Center, UH Manoa


Plant and Animal – Microbe Interactions

Rosie Alegado

Rosanna Alegado – My research focuses on understanding how bacteria shape the adaptive potential of their ecosystem along three major research themes – the influence of microbes on animal origins and development, the influence of microbes in coastal ocean ecosystems, and reconstructing past climate in Hawaiʻi. This research includes field studies aimed at understanding the roles of microbes in maintaining healthy ecosystems in Hawaiian fish ponds, and extends to advanced laboratory studies on the influence of bacteria on the biology of single-celled organisms.
Oceanography, UH Manoa


Anthony Amend

Anthony Amend NOT AVAILABLE SUMMER 2019 – fungal ecology at the community level, particularly the factors that determine community composition, and how that, in turn, impacts community function. The research applies macroecological theory to microbial systems to address theoretical and applied questions with relevance to Hawaiʻi; projects are related to mycobiome studies of hosts and environments, likely based on current work on tree snails, native plants and corals.
Botany, UH Manoa


Rebecca Chong

Rebecca Chong – Evolutionary biology, genomics, symbiotic interactions. The lab broadly focuses on how genomic and symbiotic interactions impact the evolution of different organisms including insect-microbe interactions. We use a combination of scientific approaches to investigate these questions, which include field work, molecular techniques such as DNA sequencing, experimental biology and microscopy, as well as bioinformatics and computation for data analysis.
Biology, UH Manoa


Mike Hadfield

Michael Hadfield – settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrate animals. Metamorphosis in larvae of many invertebrates depends on very specific external chemical signals. Major emphasis is on the complex interactions of invertebrate larvae with specific bacterial components of the biofilms that cover all surfaces in the sea, and include complex bacterial substances that induce metamorphosis in the small fouling worm Hydroides elegans, as well as other benthic marine invertebrate species from sponges to barnacle, clams and oysters.
Pacific Biosciences Research Center, Kewalo Marine Laboratory