Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Nicole Greenfield L&S Sciences

Analyzing the Ecological and Geomorphological Effects of Reintroducing Native Plants in Riparian Zones of He'eia Stream

Hawaiian riparian zones have a high incidence of invasive plants that threaten the biodiversity of native vegetation and stream habitats. Restoration efforts to replant native vegetation are underway; however, Hawaiis extensive history and abundance of invasive species make it challenging to find natural reference sites. Therefore, my project aims to explore ecological relationships between the riparian zone and stream habitats to help monitor the progress of an ongoing restoration. I will use Heeia Stream in Oahu as my study site, where I will compare stream habitat between invaded and restored riparian reaches of the stream. Specifically, I will explore the effects of riparian canopy cover on water temperature and microalgal communities. In addition, I will characterize stream leaf litter and woody debris to identify the plant species that contribute to habitat and organic matter for aquatic macroinvertebrates. My findings will help guide the restoration team as they continue to restore invaded habitat.

Message To Sponsor

With this fellowship and the gracious support of my mentors Kauaoa Fraiola and Dr. Caldwell, I have the opportunity to conduct field research in Hawaii. Working in the field has taught me invaluable lessons about asking questions, developing methods, and synthesizing theories to understand relationships in stream ecology. In addition, I am learning how this research applies to the management and restoration of these vulnerable ecosystems. I will build upon these experiences as I continue to explore the interactions between humans and their natural environments and pursue research in the field of restoration ecology. Mahalo nui loa!
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Major: Integrative Biology
Mentor: Roy Caldwell, Integrative Biology
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
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