U.S. DOI Pacific Island Climate Science Center: Research Funding - Hawaii, Marshall Islands

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is funding research through the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center (CSC) on the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) human migration dynamics in 2016. This project will examine the extent to which direct and indirect links between patterns of human migration and climate events can be identified. The researchers will examine migration trends and motivations, characterize changes that have taken place to local lands and ecosystems in the RMI, and use projections of climate change to understand which islands and communities may be at highest risk in the future. The project will also explore the impact of human migration on lands and ecosystems in the receiving communities. 

DOI announced in December 2014 that the Pacific Islands CSC will award universities and other partners over $600K for studies that will assess the potential effects of climate change in and around Hawaii. The research will help natural and cultural resource managers in planning how to help local communities, wildlife and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

The funding will enable six studies researching how climate change will affect natural resources and human communities, as well as the development of strategies to adapt to potential changes. They include:

  • Studying natural streams and learning how to predict low flow rates to manage limited freshwater resources.
  • Creating methods to accommodate changes in the distribution of rare and endangered plants and their habitats.
  • Preparing for potential changes in freshwater resources and agro-forestry to insure food security and maintain community resources.
  • Creating models of coastal erosion and shoreline inundation to determine top priorities in beach conservation efforts and assess potential impacts of climate change on Hawai‘i coastlines.
  • Determining future coast use and planning by comparing human perceptions of coastal habitat quality with actual measured data.
  • Assessing and creating models of watersheds under stress from climate-induced moisture.

The studies were selected by the Interior’s eight Climate Science Centers in collaboration with states, federal agencies, universities, and other partners to determine the top priorities and challenges in need of scientific attention. Teams of scientists and university students are primarily conducting the studies.


The Pacific Islands CSC is hosted by the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa; the University of Hawai‘i, Hilo; and the University of Guam. It is part of a national network coordinated by the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center charged with addressing the impacts of climate change and maintaining natural resources.


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Publication Date: December 18, 2014

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