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From Mauka to Makai: Behind the Scenes at UH Hilo’s College of Natural & Health Sciences


UH Hilo College of Natural & Health Sciences: Hilo, HI (map)


Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 5:00pm - 7:30pm


Join UH Hilo is celebrating their newly established College of Natural & Health Sciences!

Come learn the latest and greatest in the Natural Sciences at UH Hilo at a meet & greet and behind-the-scenes tour and pau hana designed exclusively for UH Hilo alumni. Don’t miss this exclusive insider’s view of current research in the areas of Forest Ecology, Native Birds, Reefs, Volcanoes and Skies over Hawai‘i Island.

Register online by April 29 »

The following brand new tours will be available to attendees from which to choose:

Forest & Birds

  • 6:00 – 6:30 | Forest Ecology with Becky Ostertag
  • 6:30 – 7:00 | Native Birds with Pat Hart

Reefs & Sky

  • 6:00 – 6:30 | Coastal Water Quality with Steve Colbert and Tracy Wiegner
  • 6:30 – 7:00 | Behind the Scenes of Hoku Kea Telescope with Pierre Martin

Volcanoes & Geology

  • 6:00 – 6:30 | Volcanoes and Geoarchaeology with Steve Lundblad

Meet your guides

Dr. Steven Colbert is a coastal hydrologist in the Marine Science Department at UH Hilo. His research focuses on quantifying groundwater inputs to the coastal ocean and the impact of groundwater on biogeochemical cycles. His projects include examining the groundwater connections between cesspools and the Hawai’i Island shoreline, studying how climate change and ocean acidification may impact primary productivity in groundwater-fed native Hawaiian fishponds, and managing the two Hawai’i Island Water Quality Buoys. Steve contributes to the community as a member of Puakō Clean Water for Reefs Advisory Committee and the South Kohala Coastal Partnership.

Dr. Patrick Hart has broad interests in the ecology and conservation of Hawaiian forests and forest birds. After receiving a PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa in 2000, Hart joined the faculty in the Department of Biology at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in 2005 where he is currently Professor and Chair. Hart also serves as Associate Director of the UH Hilo Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Graduate Program and Director of the Hakalau Forest Biological Field Station. Hart’s most recent lab (Listening Observatory for Hawaiian Ecosystems- LOHE) has two 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, and 2) Hawaiian forest and forest bird inventory and monitoring, particularly with respect to climate change.

Dr. Steve Lundblad is a professor of geology at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo specializing in carbonate sedimentology and geochemistry. He is also co-director of the UH Hilo geoarchaeology lab, an NSF-funded geochemistry lab predominantly studying the provenance and exchange of basaltic stone tools in pre-contact Hawai‘i. Recent projects include measuring the deformation associated with the 2018 Kilauea eruption on the Lower East Rift Zone and in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.


Dr. R. Pierre Martin is an Associate Professor of Astronomy and the Director of the UH Hilo Educational Observatory. He earned his MS and PhD in astrophysics at Universite Laval in Quebec, Canada. He has held post-doctoral fellowship positions at Steward Observatory (Arizona), and with the European Southern Observatory New Technology Telescope (Chile). Between 1997 and 2008, Dr. Martin was an astronomer and the Director of Science Operations at the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope on Maunakea. Before joining UH Hilo in 2012, he was the Executive Director of the WIYN Observatory on Kitt Peak (Arizona) and a consultant for the Giant Magellan Telescope project. Dr. Martin fields of research include the chemical evolution of galaxies, massive star formation, Milky Way abundances, astronomy from the moon, astronomical instrumentation, and the optimization of the observational process for professional observatories.

Rebecca Ostertag is a forest ecologist who examines questions relating to biological invasions, nutrient cycling, and restoration. She received a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Florida, and did post-doctoral work jointly with University of California- Berkeley, and the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service. At UH Hilo Ostertag currently serves as the Director of the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Master’s Program, and as a principal investigator on several grants, including the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program at UH Hilo on conservation science. She has worked in tropical forests in Hawai‘i, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico. Her research has a strong field component and involves integration of natural history, community structure, and ecosystem dynamics.

Dr. Tracy Wiegner is a professor of Marine Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (UHH). She has been at UHH for 15 years. Her research focuses on the connection between the land and ocean. Specifically, she studies how freshwater inputs from rivers and groundwater affect near-shore water quality and biological processes. Her most recent work has focused on documenting sewage pollution and human pathogens in nearshore waters. She works on both the windward and leeward coasts of Hawai‘i Island. Before moving to Hawai‘i, she earned her B.S. from Cornell University and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University, and was a post-doctoral scientist at the Stroud Water Research Center. At UHH, she teaches courses on global change, watersheds, chemical oceanography, and the scientific method, as well as mentors undergraduate and graduate students on research projects.

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