The Carlson lab aims to understand the determinants of agricultural land use, relationships between land use and ecosystem processes, and potential interventions to better manage tradeoffs among agricultural production, ecosystems, and human populations. We leverage diverse methods including innovative analysis of remote sensing products, land change modeling, and field data collected using natural and social science methods to provide spatially-explicit datasets that can be used to examine these research objectives. Our work is solutions-oriented and informs environmental policies and practices at local to global scales. Currently, we focus on tropical commodity crops including oil palm in Southeast Asia and soy in South America.
CROW LAB: Soil & Carbon
In the Soils and ecoSystems Lab, we study carbon dynamics and sequestration, greenhouse gas flux, nutrient and water management in natural and managed (forested or agriculture) ecosystems and how these relate to global change pressures - such as land-use, climate change, and invasive species - sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy production. We pursue mechanistic understanding of ecosystem processes to tackle tough questions relevant to current environmental issues.At the systems-level, we quantify and model the carbon tradeoffs of renewable fuel systems and integrate across disciplines of economics, engineering, and agroecology to build resilience into our society against uncertainty in the climate system, energy, and water accessibility.
LITTON: Ecosystem Ecology Laboratory
Research in our laboratory addresses both basic and applied ecology at local to global scales. Our primary research focus is the ecology and management of terrestrial ecosystems, with emphasis on forest communities and ecosystems in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific Island Region. Much of this research involves quantifying plant communities, and pools, fluxes and allocation of carbon and nutrients in terrestrial ecosystems to examine their plasticity and response to a suite of global change variables, using Hawaiian ecosystems as model study systems for asking globally relevant questions. We are particularly interested in how climate change, invasive species, and wildfires impact ecological communities and plant-soil-atmosphere exchanges of carbon, water, and nutrients, with emphasis on the conservation and restoration of native Hawaiian terrestrial ecosystems.
Our lab’s research program is focused on the development and application of spatial analysis technologies, i.e., remote sensing and GIS for the management of natural resources and the environment from local to global scales. We are currently developing satellite vegetation index products derived from Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) of the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) program for improving the Nation’s weather forecasting and for climate science. Our lab is taking the international leadership role on developing validation protocols for satellite vegetation index products from multi-platforms. We are also investigating the utilities of satellite vegetation index time series data for drought monitoring in Hawaii, and evaluating land suitability for optimum crop growth over the main islands of Hawaii using GIS modeling techniques.
We are a diverse and interdisciplinary group interested in developing management-relevant analyses and tools. We focus on natural resource and environmental management problems spanning the mountain top to the coral reef. We employ a multitude of approaches, from quantification and valuation of ecosystem goods and services, data-driven and participatory modeling, policy analysis, natural capital accounting, and decision analysis. Currently, our research falls under three major themes: (1) How environmental change and management impact ecosystem goods and services from ridge to reef. (2) The value of natural capital and ecosystem goods and services, and the relevance for management and policy. (3) Characterization and management of social-ecological systems. Lab research has been funded by: USDA, NOAA, National Geographic, PICSC, US Army Corps of Engineers, the Moore Foundation, and Conservation International.
PRICE LAB: Wildlife Ecology
To conserve ecosystems, we must understand the ecology of individual species at a landscape scale. Our research examines habitat use, population dynamics, genetic connectivity, and species interactions in the context of heavily impacted environments and climate change. We work closely with state and federal agencies to inform effective management of endangered and invasive species through structured decision processes.
TSANG LAB: Hydrology and Freshwater Ecosystems
We study hydrology, freshwater ecosystem, and their relevant issues in the natural resources environment and management. Our research activities span from stream monitoring, flow measurement, stream habitat and biological survey, hydrological analyses, and hydrological modeling. We aim to investigate the interaction of water and its environment in the tropical ecosystem to understand the mechanism and to describe complex interaction patterns between biotic and abiotic processes contributing to the ecosystem. Examples of the topics include: understanding watershed hydrology in the tropical rainforest, natural flow regime of Hawaii streams, tropical stream ecology, and assessing aquatic habitat vulnerability in Hawaii. We work closely with natural resources managers of the state and produce actionable science in assisting management.