WRRC 2022 Fall Seminar

December 2, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Mānoa Campus, Kuykendall Room 201 and Zoom Meeting Add to Calendar

Linking Climate, Forests, and Limu: Examining the Influence of Environmental Change on Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems in Keauhou

by 1Leah Bremer, 2Brytne Okuhata, 3Angela Richards Donà, and 4Celia Smith

1UHERO Environmental Policy and Planning Group and WRRC, 2PhD from the Department of Earth Sciences, 3Smith “Limu Lab", and 4School of Life Sciences

Groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) are increasingly recognized as a critical component of sustainable groundwater management worldwide. Despite this importance, data linking drivers of hydrologic change to GDEs are scarce. This study focuses on Keauhou, Hawaiʻi Island, where GDEs are culturally and ecologically important, and where there are increasing concerns about the impacts of climate change, urban development, and watershed management on the quality and quantity of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) that these systems depend on. We use a linked land-sea modeling framework to assess how these drivers influence the quantity and quality of SGD and nearshore GDE waters, and how this may affect the habitat suitability of the native limu pālahalaha (Ulva lactuca) and vulnerability of this coast to the invasive macroalgae, Hypnea musciformis. Results suggest that a dry future climate (under RCP 8.5 mid century), increased groundwater pumping, and degradation of native forest all have the potential to reduce SGD, which translates to decreased growth of limu pālahalaha coupled with increased vulnerability to Hypnea. Results point to the importance of policies and programs to support watershed protection and reduce consumptive water use as achievable steps to protect GDEs and their associated native species.

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Event Sponsor
WRRC, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Keri Kodama, 956-3174, kodamak8@hawaii.edu

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