Join the Oleson and Trauernicht labs as an MS or PhD student working on modeling fire and ecosystem services

Fully funded 2 year McIntire-Stennis fellowship (with possibility of up to 5 years, pending funding)

Joint project between Oleson lab ( and Trauernicht lab (

Duties and Responsibilities:

Watersheds provide critical ecosystem goods and services that support human quality of life. In Hawaii, recurrent wildfires have reduced the extent of forested areas, with implications for ecosystem services derived from both upland and coastal environments. Understanding how and where fire-induced degradation impacts socially valuable ecosystem goods and services can aid watershed managers in identifying priority management actions and areas. Understanding the broader benefits and trade-offs of alternate watershed and fire management strategies can improve both conservation and economic outcomes. Managers considering alternate approaches to fire management require decision support tools to help quantify and map ecosystem service changes across the landscape from state changes due to fire. Managers also need decision tools to spatially prioritize fire suppression or other watershed restoration measures to maximize conservation outcomes.

This project will integrate fire prediction and land cover effect models with ecosystem service models into a novel decision support tool capable of assessing the broader benefits and trade-offs of various fire management strategies. The GA will: (1) develop ecosystem service models capable of assessing impact of fire and fire management measures in Hawaii; (2) couple ecosystem services models with fire prediction and land cover change models in a decision support tool capable of assessing the benefits of alternative fire management strategies, and (3) apply techniques derived from decision science to evaluate management alternatives. Initial duties include (but are not limited to) conducting literature reviews; identifying, collecting, organizing, quality controlling, processing, and properly managing secondary environmental, social, and economic data; developing, calibrating, and validating environmental models; analyzing data using appropriate statistical and other analytical techniques; building relationships with potential model users; writing manuscripts for publication; and producing reports and outreach materials. The GA is expected to perform other additional tasks as assigned. Duties also include collaborating and working with other researchers in an interdisciplinary environment.

Minimum Qualifications:

Admission to, or ongoing, graduate student at UH Manoa in NREM or directly related field of study

BS in environmental science, geography, and/or related fields

Excellent knowledge of GIS and experience with geospatial analysis

Experience managing geospatial data

Strong interest in ecosystem services modeling and fire modeling

Demonstrated team player, with ability to work independently

Organized, with excellent communication skills

Desirable Qualifications:

MS in environmental science, geography, and/or related fields

Good performance in environmental courses

Experience working with the Federal and state governments, NGOs, and communities in Hawai'i

To Apply:       

Submit cover letter and CV to Dr. Kirsten Oleson (