Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science


Message from the Director – Welcome to the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Graduate Program! The TCBES program is emerging as a center of excellence in the Pacific that is capitalizing on Hawaii’s unique natural resources that are integral to the state’s cultural, economic, and scientific enterprises, and by extension, to those of the entire nation and other Pacific nations. The TCBES Program provides Masters-level graduate education in the areas of conservation biology, environmental science, ecology, evolution, genetics and geospatial analyses. The program prepares students for technical positions to meet the growing need for sound management of Hawaii’s fragile natural resources, as well as for entry into Ph.D. programs in related fields. A majority of students are from Hawaii with many students from UH Hilo’s undergraduate programs and other institutions in Hawaii with a growing number from institutions throughout the nation. Special recruitment efforts target Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders and others from groups underrepresented in the sciences. Recently we have reached some important milestones with the graduation of the 100th Masters student and the 10th year anniversary of the program. Many of these graduates are now employed in environmental and biological agencies in Hawaii and on the mainland while others are pursuing their PhD degrees. Over the ten years of the program 173 students have been admitted with 106 graduates to date and 57 students currently in the program.

TCBES unites 38 faculty at UH Hilo with 89 affiliated faculty from federal and state agencies and other universities. Participating UH Hilo faculty reside in the Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, and Marine Science Departments of the College of Arts and Sciences, and in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management. The affiliated faculty come from many different agencies including USFS, USDA, USGS, NOAA, NPS and State Dept. of Land and Natural Resources. As a multidisciplinary, multi-college program, TCBES encourages and facilitates sustained collaboration across the research areas of ecological and evolutionary genetics, ecosystems analyses and responses to environmental change, cyber infrastructure for environmental research, and geospatial analyses. Faculty and students engage in projects in environments that range from marine and coastal habitats to tropical rainforests, mesic and dry forests and shrublands, and rivers.

The TCBES faculty and affiliated faculty in the federal, state and non- government organizations provide the expertise to establish a center of excellence that bridges K-12, undergraduate and graduate education and research initiatives. The program has attracted significant extramural funding to UH Hilo to establish this center.

- Donald K. Price, Director, Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Graduate Program