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Ancient Innovation and Modern Science: NSF Grant Fuels Archaeological Research on Hawaiian Fishponds

I'm thrilled to announce that our collaborative project, "Management practices and microbial communities in prehistoric Hawaiian aquaculture," has been awarded a prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Can you believe it? This is a monumental achievement for our team comprised of researchers from Ohio State University and Hawaii Land Trust, and I couldn't be more excited.

Project Overview: Our research is all about unraveling the mysteries of early Hawaiian fishponds (loko iʻa) and

their fascinating interactions with microbial communities. We want to understand how and why these microbial communities, along with traditional ecological knowledge about their management, evolved through niche construction. And trust me, the implications of our findings are mind-blowing, touching on elite control, management practices, and broader socio-political influences.

What We're Aiming For: Our project has some ambitious objectives, including characterizing microbial communities in archaeological fishpond sediments, defining paleo-proxies for fishpond management practices, and analyzing the succession of management practices and fish production. We're diving deep into the past to make sense of the present and future.

Why It Matters: Beyond the intellectual merit of our research, we're committed to creating broader impacts. We're forging partnerships that connect researchers, microbiologists, paleoecologists, and local Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) communities. Our goal is to bridge the gap between research and action, promoting knowledge transmission, stewardship, and leadership.

What's Next: Now that we have this incredible opportunity, we're ready to dive headfirst into our research and make a difference in the Hawaiian community. We'll be supporting Native Hawaiian researchers and nurturing the next generation of STEM students. It's all about inclusivity and diversity in STEM fields.


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