The Environmental Center fulfills its Research function by identifying and addressing environmentally related research needs, particularly those pertinent to the state of Hawaii and its marine environment. Because environmental problems involve complex relationships, an interdisciplinary approach to addressing them is essential. Thus, the research program emphasizes collaborative studies that involve university faculty and staff from many disciplines and interests.
Research projects cover a wide range of interdisciplinary topics, from evaluating environmental regulations and water quality studies to the development of computer programs to aid environmental management. Many of the research topics are brought to our attention through our review and service activities. Others result from direct requests initiated by various departments of the federal, state, or county governments, or by legislative action. These requests are frequently in response to the agency's need for environmental information pursuant to meeting regulatory requirements. "Research" topics include all projects for which extramural funds are acquired and may address environmental education topics, service-related issues, or applied or basic environmental research.