Oleson Lab

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management | University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa

Category: Uncategorized

Funded position on economics of Hawaii’s longline fishery

Job Description:

To assist with a project to evaluate fishery economic performance of Hawaii pelagic longline fishery. Main responsibilities include conducting in-person interviews with fishery communities and gathering secondary data from reports.

Minimum Qualifications:

Must qualify and enroll in the Natural Resources and Environmental Management graduate program at UH Manoa (will consider related degrees such as Marine Biology, Geography, Economics) and have research interests in fisheries economics. Must be able to work at NOAA facility at least 8 hours a week. Must pass Federal security clearance to access NOAA facility.

Desirable Qualifications:

Demonstrated ability in interviewing; Excellent grades in natural resource economics coursework; Good database management skills (such in ACCESS, R, or Oracle); Possess a valid driver’s license.


Begin August 19, 2019 and renewable annually pending satisfactory performance and availability of funds.

To Apply:

Send resume, contact information of two professional references, and a cover letter with your motivation and a short demonstration of how you meet the minimum and desirable qualifications to Kirsten Oleson koleson@hawaii.edu. Applications will be accepted until position is filled.

Funded position on fire and ecosystem services!

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 (olesonlab.org) and Trauernicht lab (https://www.nrem-fire.org/)

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 (koleson@hawaii.edu)


Fellowship available to get MEM in NREM!

Full fellowship for Masters in Environmental Management Degree. Requirement: good grades, local (as demonstrated by Hawaii-based HS diploma)

Due March 1

The overall goal of the Hau‘oli Mau Loa graduate assistantships is to develop the next generation of natural resource management leaders in Hawai‘i.

Hauoli Mau Loa_NREM MS B Graduate Assistantship Announcement_2017


New study in PloS One shows the importance of reef fisheries

Article full text here: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0123856

Kīholo Bay, North Kona, Hawai'i, August 5, 2015  – A study published today showed that a single artisanal coral reef fishery can produce over 30,000 meals per year, with an annual economic value of more than $78,000. The study, published in PLOS ONE, was conducted in the Hawaiian bay of Kiholo by Conservation International, the Hui Aloha Kīholo — a community-based stewardship group — the National Geographic Society, The Nature Conservancy and the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

Ocean and coastal ecosystems bring a range of benefits to people worldwide, providing food and livelihoods to millions, but global and local stressors threaten these services. To better understand the benefits from ocean environments, the authors of this study investigated how an artisanal fishery supports a community, using a community-based approach to assess the factors affecting resource sustainability and food security in a small-scale coral reef fishery. 

The authors found that the small-scale Kīholo Bay fishery provides large-scale benefits to communities. "This coral reef fishery generates diverse social, economic and cultural values, which support the health and well-being of the Kīholo community," said lead author Dr. Jack Kittinger, director of Conservation International's Hawai'i program. "These benefits are likely common to coral reef fisheries across the globe, supporting key food security functions, cultural practices as well as local livelihoods." 

The results of the study suggest that similar coral reef fisheries around the world provide the same types of benefits to the people who depend on them. 

The survey found that 58 percent of the caught seafood is kept for home consumption, 34 percent is given away and only 8 percent sold to commercial markets. "We found that the vast majority of the catch is kept for home consumption or given away as part of cultural practices, showing the important role that this bay plays in sustaining our community," said Jenny Mitchell, a board member of Hui Aloha Kīholo. "When Kīholo thrives, so do we." 

By surveying fishermen for an entire year, researchers were able to estimate that the fishery produced more than 7,300 pounds of seafood per year for the community of people who rely upon the fishery. Nearly 60 percent of the catch is used for subsistence, contributing to community food security, and geographic analysis of community beneficiaries showed that 20 percent of seafood procured is used for sociocultural events that are important for social cohesion.

"By working with community fishers, we were able for the first time to map the distribution of benefits from a coral reef fishery, helping to understand the linkages between the ecology, food security and social networks — all of which are critical for sustainable management," said Dr. Alan Friedlander, a co-author of the study and chief scientist of the National Geographic Society's Pristine Seas project.

The community is already seeing benefits from the study, including increased willingness to engage among the fishing community, improved fishery knowledge and evidence of decreased illegal fishing. 

"The participatory approach for this project — where the community took a lead role in the design, implementation and use of the findings, provides a model for conservation science," said Dr. Lida Teneva, science advisor for Conservation International's Hawai'i program. "By developing the project with community management priorities incorporated at the outset, the potential for this information to influence on-the-ground stewardship was embedded in the project." 

The project demonstrates a transferable participatory research approach that resource-dependent communities can use to assess their reliance on — and benefits from — the environment. The cultural, social and economic benefits of coral reefs play a vital role in sustaining communities across the globe, and empowering community members to monitor the resources can play a significant role in supporting sustainable resource management and enhancing community food security.

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