OPIHI Undergraduate Research Experience

Students collecting data

The OPIHI undergraduate research experience is a year-long course in the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Life Sciences that immerses students in scientific research and furthers our knowledge of Hawai‘i’s intertidal and coastal ecosystems. Students work in small groups with collaborating scientists to engage in the entire scientific process—from writing a proposal to collecting data to sharing findings. Students learn from and with community partners through collaborations, service learning, and sharing findings directly with the community.

Undergrad Opihi group
intern measuring intertidal

Undergraduate research projects have included investigating trampling in the intertidal, linking invasive species in the intertidal with anthropogenic inputs, tracking algae biomass shifts over time, measuring how sea cucumbers affect water quality, and mapping benthic community composition with respect to submarine groundwater discharge. Click here to see some products from OPIHI undergraduate interns’ research.

Activities & Projects

Past projects have included ecology-based work across O‘ahu on subjects such as invasive algal communities, coral recruitment dynamics, water quality mapping, feeding dynamics in fishponds, limu (algae) aquaculture, and crab population and baseline surveys.

Goals for the OPIHI undergrads:

  1. To collaborate with researchers and community groups engaged in the study and management of Hawai‘i’s coastal ecosystems.
  2. To mentor the next generation of community ecologists by engaging them in authentic, place-based research.
  3. To increase knowledge of the intertidal and shallow coastal ecosystem by using student data in scientific products.
Interns group photo