Undergraduate Research and Mentoring
Biological Sciences

Faculty Mentors

URM Home
What is URM?
Student Eligibility
Application Procedure
Research Locations
Faculty Mentors
After Acceptance
Program Dates
Contact Info
Our Achievements
Photo Gallery
Streaming Video
You can work with scientists involved in many different aspects of research in biodiversity and conservation in the Pacific. Here are some of the things that people are doing. Click on their name and find out more.

Faculty Mentors -- Areas of Interest

Faculty Mentors -- Contact Info

Ecology and Conservation

Some researchers, including Robert Richmond, Celia Smith, Florence Thomas and Rob Toonen conduct research on different aspects of the biology of coral reefs.

Throughout the Pacific, from the beaches to the ocean floor, you can find a variety of marine invertebrates. To learn how these animals find a place to live and the mechanisms by which new species are invading these habitats contact Dave Carlon, Michael Hadfield and Rob Toonen.

What are the processes that influence dispersal and recruitment in coastal marine invertebrates? Michael Hadfield's lab studies larval settlement and recruitment. Robert Toonen is studying the evolutionary consequences of larval development in Hawaiian coral reef species. Stephen Karl and Rob Toonen's groups also study the biology of fishes associated with coral reefs.

Celia Smith and Florence Thomas work on native and invasive algae of the coral reefs. Alison Sherwood studies diversity, phylogeography, systematics, evolution and ecology of the marine, freshwater and terrestrial algal floras of the Hawaiian islands.

Do you love working outdoors? Gail Grabowsky is interested in a variety of topics related to marine and terrestrial ecology and conservation.

Curt Daehler studies the ecology of invasive plants both in the forests and in marine and coastal environments. Cliff Morden's group uses the most modern techniques to understand the population and community relationships of native and non-native plants in Hawaii.

Megan Donahue studies the changing environment of traditional Hawaiian fishponds. To fully understand these changes, the Donahue group is conducting intensive research on the hydrodynamics of water flow in the ponds. Florence Thomas also has an interest in the impacts of alien algae on the fishponds.


Are you are interested in discovering new species and conserving nature through providing fundamental information on the diversity of life?

There is an amazing diversity of terrestrial and arboreal snails on the different islands. To understand their evolution and extinction, contact Michael Hadfield or Brenden Holland.

Tom Ranker is interested in the systematics, ecology and evolution of terrestrial plants, especially ferns which are notable for their diversity and abundance in Hawaiian forests.

Researchers in Dave Carlon's and Rob Toonen's labs use molecular approaches to study diversity and population biology of Hawaiian marine animals.

Alison Sherwood is interested in understanding the diversity of algae species that occupy the streams and taro fields of Hawaii.

Development and Evolution

Marguerite Butler studies phylogenetics, adaptive radiation, functional morphology and sexual dimorphism in a variety of organisms including lizards, frogs and damselflies. Other researchers among the URM mentors also have interests in the evolution of Pacific Island snails (Holland and Hadfield), coral-reef organisms (Karl and Toonen) and plants (Morden, Ranker and Sherwood).

Genes, Development and the Environment

How do genes and their biochemical products influence the development of organisms and the interaction of the organism with its environment? These are questions being asked by Steve Robinow in his studies of transporter genes in fruit flies.

David Haymer studies genetic variation at the DNA level in insects and other organisms. Michael Hadfield's group carries out similar studies on marine bacteria and invertebrates, and Pacific Island tree snails.

Cliff Morden's lab examines the genetic variation among native Hawaiian plants.

Captive Propagation

Many of our species are in perilous danger of extinction. What do you do about the last remaining individuals of a species?

Find out what is being done for snails by contacting Michael Hadfield or Brenden Holland, and for corals by contacting Rob Toonen.

Environmental Pollutants

Have you ever watched a mystery or detective show trying to figure out who the killer was? Robert Richmond and his colleagues are developing techniques for figuring out if and which pollutants may be responsible for coral reef decline through the use of molecular biomarkers. Abby Collier's research focuses on the impacts of environmental endocrine distruptors on human pregnancy, as well as other impacts of environmental toxicology.