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Postdocs        Graduate Students        Undergraduate Students        Research Technicians        Lab Alumni






  Dr. Creighton M. Litton
  Associate Professor
  (Curriculum vitae)







I began my faculty position at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in August, 2007.  Prior to my current position, I worked as a postdoctoral ecologist for 4 1/2 years on the Island of Hawaii.



Postdoctoral Associates


Rebecca Cole






  Dr. Rebecca Cole
  (Curriculum vitae; Website)









Rebecca is interested in understanding how human-driven disturbances affect ecosystem structure and function, and using this information to develop viable restoration and land management strategies. Her current work in Hawaii examines  how nonnative animals and plants affect the community structure and biogeochemistry of forest ecosystems, and tests strategies to restore native ecosystems. Her prior research in Costa Rica tested methods to restore tropical forest on degraded lands, measured recovery of ecosystem process during forest succession, and tested the role of soil-plant feedbacks in shaping community composition. Ongoing projects in the Peruvian Andes examine how land management choices affect key ecosystem services and resilience to climate change in high altitude forests and grasslands.



Paul Selmants





  Dr. Paul Selmants
  (Website)








Paul’s research interests lie at the intersection of plant ecology and biogeochemistry. He is especially interested in unraveling the functional consequences of global change drivers such as climate change, biodiversity loss, biological invasions, and nitrogen deposition. Paul is currently working on a project examining carbon and nutrient dynamics across a mean annual temperature gradient on the Island of Hawaii. He’s also selecting sites to set up a mean annual precipitation gradient to complement this work.



Graduate Students

Amanda Knauf




   Amanda Knauf (M.S.)







Amanda is working on a M.S. degree in  NREM  with a target finish date of May 2016. She has a B.S. in Forestry from Northern Arizona University. Her thesis research is focused on understanding how soil nutrient availability affects  competitive dynamics between native and invasive species in Hawaii. She hopes to focus her current and future work around the restoration of terrestrial ecosystems.


Ben Laws





   Ben Laws (M.S.)







Ben is working on an M.S. degree in NREM with a target finish date of "sometime this century".  His research project is designed to quantify the impacts of feral cattle on the vegetation and soils of native Hawaiian wet forests. The project location is  windward Kohala Mountain on the Island of Hawaii, where he is establishing permanent monitoring plots in two forested areas: (i) active feral cattle (>100 years), and (ii) ungrazed pristine control.   Feral cattle are a reality in many Hawaiian forests, and to date little work has been conducted to document their impacts on native vegetation and soil physical and chemical properties.


Mike Long






   Michael Long (M.S.)









Mike is working on an M.S. degree in NREM with a target finish date of December 2013. His research is focused on understanding the biogeochemical impacts of nonnative, feral pigs on the cycling, retention and loss of soil carbon. The project is located in the Ola'a Tract of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Pu'u Maka'ala Natural Area Reserve, both on the Island of Hawaii, in paired fenced and unfenced plots across a series of pig exclosures ranging in age from 7.5 to 19.5 years.  Mike is a Cancer who enjoys long walks in the forest carrying a heavy pack.  He graduated from UCSD and is always in need of a haircut.


Ryan Pe'a






   Ryan Pe'a (M.S.)









Ryan is working on an M.S. Plan B degree in NREM with a target finish date of May 2016.  He received a bachelors degree in NREM and also a certificate through the Marine Option Program.  He is interested in the management and conservation of Hawaiʻi's Native ecosystems, both terrestrial and marine.


Julia Rowe






   Julia Rowe (Ph.D.)









Julia is working on her Ph.D. with a target finish date of December 2014. She received a Masters of Philosophy in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic in Maine, where she worked with Leach’s Storm-petrels and studied domestic and international law and policy. As a Fulbright Student in Niger, West Africa she studied waterbird migration patterns and resource use.  For her dissertation work, she is interested in the area where science meets policy, particularly in the context of conservation of biodiversity. Julia is co-advised by Dr. Chris Lepczyk.


Melissa Valdez







   Melissa Valdez (M.S.)









Melissa is working on her M.S. Plan B with a target finish date of December 2014. She is interested in the conservation of Hawaii’s forests and native fauna, and the restoration of biological diversity in forest ecosystems.




Undergraduate Students

Click here to see a video of some undergraduate research projects from the lab.


Jeremy Albano






   Jeremy Albano (NREM) - Spatial & temporal variability of soil respiration along a 5C mean annual temperature gradient in Hawaiian wet forests









Lori Bothwell






   Lori Bothwell (UHH) - Leaf litter decomposition and temperature in Hawaiian tropical montane wet forests








Emily Guymm






   Emily Guynn (NREM) -  Impacts of wildfire on C storage in live and detrital  biomass across a mean annual precipitation gradient in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park









Darcey Iwashita3






   Darcey Iwashita (NREM) - Impact of mean annual temperature on native wet forest structure and biodiversity in Hawaii









Manoa Johansen






   Manoa Johansen (HCC) - Impact of feral pigs on soil respiration in native Hawaiian tropical montane wet forests











Bryson Luke






   Bryson Luke (NREM) - Prediciting and managing fire on Oahu's guinea grasslands 










Molly Murphy-Winters  




   Molly Murphy-Winters (UHH) - Invasive feral pigs reduce tree fern growth and survival in a native-dominated Hawaiian montane wet forest








Joey Quitan





   Joey Quitan (NREM) - Coarse woody debris & C storage across a 5C mean annual temperature gradient in Hawaiian wet tropical forests










Olivia Schubert





   Olivia Schubert (NREM) - The impact of rising temperatures on soil nitrogen availability in a Hawaiian tropical wet forest










Angela Stevens






   Angela Stevens (NREM)
- Prediciting and managing fire on Oahu's guinea grasslands









Research Technicians


Scott Laursen





  Scott Laursen









Scott is the Hilo lab manager and, as such, is involved in a variety of projects, most notably the climate change project.  In addition, he runs Teaching Change, our outdoor, experiential, place-based youth conservation education program. He has a M.S. in Botany from the University of Wyoming, and most recently worked as a wildlife expedition tour guide in Alaska and Canada.


Riley De Mattos





   Riley De Mattos - Kipuka and Climate Change Projects










Rob Hamnett








   Rob Hamnett - SERDP Project













Caitlin Morrison - Kipuka Project


Malia Stewart








   Malia Stewart - SERDP Project













Lab Alumni

Graduate Students

Selita Ammondt







   Selita Ammondt








M.S., Plan A; December 2010; Thesis Title: "Ecological restoration of native plant communities in a Hawaiian tropical dry ecosystem dominated by the invasive grass Urochloa maxima"


Beth Weidenhaft







  Beth Boxler










M.S., Plan B; December 2012; Capstone Experience Title: "State forest reserve system revenue development strategy"


Mark Chynoweth





   Mark Chynoweth







M.S., Plan A; August 2012; Thesis Title: "Movement and resource selection by feral goats in a Hawaiian montane dry landscape"


Lisa Ellsworth





   Lisa Ellsworth (Website)










Ph.D.; December 2012; Dissertation Title: "Improved wildfire management in Megathyrsus maximus dominated ecosystems in Hawai‘i"


Ted Evans





   Ted Evans










M.S., Plan B; December 2011; Capstone Experience Title: "Impact of cattle grazing on fine fuel loads and potential fire behavior in a nonnative grass ecosystem on Oahu, Hawaii"


Darcey Iwashita




   Darcey Iwashita







M.S., Plan A; August 2012; Thesis Title: "Role of coarse woody debris in carbon storage and seedling distribution in Hawaiian montane wet forests"


Jon Lance




   Jon Lance







M.S., Plan B; May 2014; Capstone Experience Title: "Comparison of propagation methods for endemic Hawaiian plants in ecological restoration using soil, hydroponic, and aquaponic methods"


Endri Martini




   Endri Martini







M.S., Plan B; May 2011; Capstone Experience Title: "Exploring agroforestry potential for linking biodiversity conservation to human livelihood enhancement in tropical forests of Indonesia"


Dana Ogle

 

   Dana Ogle








 M.S., Plan B; May 2009; Capstone Experience Title: "Effects of recent fire and swordfern invasion on modeled fire behavior in mesic forests of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park"


Kelly Powell






   Kelly Powell









M.S., Plan B; May 2013; Capstone Experience Title: "Ecological and economic aspects of restoring a Hawaiian dry lowland ecosystem dominated by the invasive grass Megathyrsus maximus"


Billy Sale







   Billy Sale









M.S., Plan B; December 2012; Capstone Experience Title: "Effectiveness of systemic insecticides in reducing seed predation in Acacia koa"



Nick Wilhoite






   Nick Wilhoite









M.S., Plan B; May 2014; Capstone Experience Title: "ʻŌhi‘a growth dynamics: Secondary succession and competitive release"


Postdoctoral Associates

Rebecca J. Cole



  Dr. Rebecca J. Cole









Postdoctoral Ecologist; January 2010 - January 2011; "Impacts of feral pig removal on native and nonnative plant community dynamics in Hawaiian wet forests"


Dr. Kristen R. Freeman



 
Dr. Kristen R. Freeman
 








Postdoctoral Ecologist; February 2010 - March 2011; "Impacts of rising temperature on soil biogeochemistry and microbial community composition and activity in tropical wet forests"


Andrew Pierce





  Dr. Andrew Pierce










Postdoctoral Ecologist; July 2011 - March 2014; "Improving wildfire science and management on tropical Pacific Islands"

Research Technicians

Lindsey Deignan








  Lindsey Deignan (Field technician on the Oahu fire project)











Kevin Kaneshiro





   Kevin Kaneshiro
(Field technician on the climate change project)







Michael Koontz








  Michael Koontz (Field technician on the climate change and feral pig projects)











Kaimi Moraes






  Ka'imikila Moraes (Field technician on the climate change and feral pig projects)











Rachel Moseley





   Rachel Moseley (Field technician on the climate change project)









Mataia Reeves






   Mataia Reeves (
Field technician on the Oahu fire project)








Caitlin French (Field technician on the climate change project)



If you are interested in working in the lab, either as a student or technician, please contact Dr. Litton about your interests to explore existing educational and research opportunities.



Prospective Graduate and Undergraduate Students

Would you like to see your name and picture here?  Apply!



Collaborators

Some of our lab's more recent collaborators include:

Dr. Susan Cordell, USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry
Dr. Susan E. Crow, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management
Dr. J.B. Friday, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management
Dr. Thomas Giambelluca, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Department of Geography
Dr. Christian P. Giardina, USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry
Dr. Steve Hart, University of California Merced, School of Natural Sciences
Dr. J. Boone Kauffman, USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry
Dr. James Leary, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management
Dr. Chris Lepczyk
, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management
Dr. James W. Raich, Iowa State University, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology
Dr. Michael G. Ryan, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
Dr. Darren R. Sandquist, California State University Fullerton, Department of Biological Science
Romulo Santelices Moya, Universidad Catolica del Maule, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales, Chile
Dr. Jed Sparks, Cornell University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology