The purpose of this fund is to provide continuous support for undergraduate or graduate
students pursuing a degree at HIMB, who are conducting research on impacts of climate change on coral reefs. Other areas of research may include coral reef ecology and coral reef monitoring. Funds shall be used for costs associated with attendance (e.g. tuition, books, fees, etc.) and/or research equipment, supplies, travel related to research, publishing or vessel costs, or conference registration fees and travel. The funds in this endowed scholarship are intended to continue the legacy and research of Dr. Paul L. Jokiel.

2019 Scholarship Recipients to be announced soon!

Austin Greene and Yuko Stender – 2018 Scholarship Recipients

Austin Greene is a Ph.D. student in the Donahue lab. He is developing a low-cost, autonomous benthic monitoring platform, the CoralCam. The goal of this project is “understanding ecological processes and the natural history of organisms central to effective management or conservation strategies. Frequently these ecological processes occur across a range of temporal scales spanning hours or days to months. Collection of study data such as growth patterns, herbivory, or predation rates at daily scales is costly and logistically impossible in remote locations. For example, the cost or complexity of conducting daily surveys on coral reefs has led to a gap in our understanding of coral recruitment and post-settlement selection in-situ. CoralCam was developed as a low-cost alternative to commercial timelapse cameras, enabling the study of ecological processes in a wide variety of marine or terrestrial habitats. It is controlled by a simple electrical circuit and easy-to-program, open-source Arduino microcontroller. A real time clock is used to improve power efficiency and the repeatability of data collection. Designs for a custom printed circuit board (PCB) are freely provided in this repository to reduce build time to approximately 1 hour or less.” You can read more about this methodology and research tool at In his 50 years as a researcher, Paul Jokiel developed numerous methodology and research tools that have been instrumental in the Marine Biology field. Austin’s CoralCam is closely aligned with the innovations of the scholarship’s founder.

Yuko Stender is a Ph.D. student in the Coral Reef Ecology Laboratory. She worked closely with Paul Jokiel on the impacts of sedimentation on coral reefs. As part of her dissertation she is conducting research on the changes in the coral community assemblage 15 years after a major nearshore mudslide at Pila‘a on Kaua‘i. This examines spatial and temporal reef recovery. Her research involves sediment effects including metabolic and isotopic changes, coral recruitment, historical cores, and case histories from the individual to the community level at all life stages. Paul Jokiel conducted initial research on the impacts to corals and coral reefs at heavily sedimented sites including Kaho‘olawe, South Moloka‘i, Pelekane, Hawai‘i, Pila’a, Kaua‘i, Kāne‘ohe Bay, O‘ahu and the Pearl Harbor battleships Arizona and Utah. He conducted field and manipulative experiments on the effects of sediment to coral larvae, recruits, settlement, and adult colonies. Yuko’s work expands our understanding of sediment impacts and builds on the research of Paul Jokiel.

Stacie May – 2017 Scholarship Recipient

Suitably, Stacie May became the first recipient of the Paul Jokiel scholarship. Stacie was an undergraduate at Windward Community College when she joined the Coral Reef Ecology Lab as an Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) intern. Her research was directly in line with the goals of the scholarship.
Her project entitled, “Defining coral thermal tolerance changes over the past half century to determine acclimatization to increased global seawater temperatures” replicated the seminal thermal tolerance research conducted by Drs. Paul Jokiel and Steve Coles in 1970 that formed the basis for all subsequent coral bleaching research throughout the world. This groundbreaking research on the thermal tolerances of corals is still being used today by climate change modelers and government and state agencies for conservation purposes. There was currently conflicting research on whether corals have acclimatized/adapted to increased temperatures. Therefore, this 1970 experiment serves as an exceptional baseline from which to study the current state of the same species of corals from the same environment at the same lab following nearly 50 years of increasing sea surface temperatures due to climate change.
This research published in 2018 in the journal PeerJ lead to a press release with the caption, “Scientists replicate landmark study to determine changes in coral sea temperature tolerance over time. In the three species of Hawaiian corals retested, bleaching occurred later, with higher survivorship and growth rates than the same species of corals in 1970. However, scientists warn that temperatures are rising faster than corals can change.” Over 15 media publications followed including the prominent media outlets Newsweek and Science Daily.

SL Coles, KD Bahr, KS Rodgers, SL May, A McGowan, A Tsang, J Bumgarner and JH Han. 2018. Evidence of Acclimatization or Adaptation in Hawaiian Corals to Higher Ocean Temperatures. PeerJ.

Donations can be made to the UH Foundation Paul L. Jokiel Endowed Scholarship Fund.