our chairwoman’s welcome

The Department of Oceanography is a global leader in oceanographic research and education, providing a welcoming and supportive environment for all. Our mission is to integrate education with cutting-edge oceanographic research, building on our unique location in the Pacific Ocean, and serving our diverse communities and cultures, with respect and aloha. Our graduate and undergraduate students have a wealth of opportunity to learn in unique settings while taking advantage of our research vessels, modern oceanographic instrumentation, and state-of-the-art laboratories. Our students work alongside acclaimed researchers and are engaged in diverse projects that encompass the physics, geology, chemistry and biology of the ocean, from the tropics to the poles and from above the sea surface to deep within the seafloor.

Although our activities span the globe, we are at home in the islands and are committed to serving and affirming the unique community and culture of Hawai’i. Our island location and engaged community empower us to address the natural processes and human activities that impact our coasts and watersheds, the food we eat, how we live and recreate along the coastline, as well as the climate and how it is changing. We do this by exploring topics that range from microbial communities to large-scale driving forces on our ocean. Our educational programs inspire and nurture future oceanographers and environmental scientists who have strong ties to the islands. We engage through programs like Maile Mentoring, Hālau Ola Honua’s Mauka to Makai Oceanography Summer Bridge program, as well as public seminars, community work days, open house events, and by fostering connections with teachers and classrooms at all grade levels. 

We encourage independent thinking and ideas in pursuit of scientific inquiry. Ours is a learning environment that enables questioning and risk-taking coupled with scientific reasoning and process. That independent inquiry is underpinned by a strong and well-established system of supports and resources.

We maintain a strict policy against sexual harassment, and stand together in unity against racism and bigotry in any form.

Over the last three years we have:

  • Achieved a shared vision for our department through our strategic planning process; 
  • Secured new positions, which are growing our vibrant research community—continuing our legacy in the future of oceanography; 
  • Strengthened our undergraduate Global Environmental Science and graduate Oceanography programs;
  • Expanded and diversified our resource development efforts to better meet the needs of our growing community;
  • Fostered a culture and community that reflect our commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment.

At this time, I want to express heartfelt congratulations and deepest gratitude to every member of our Department family for their resilience, determination and professionalism as we emerge from the unique and formidable obstacles of the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost seamlessly we have resumed the normal rigors of our life as scientists and members of the University community. Our future is bright—our most important resource, our people, has grown stronger and more stable throughout the pandemic. It is our team of scientists and staff whom we honor. It is on their shoulders where the promise of great scientific discovery and problem-solving resides.  

I am excited to share a consequential piece of news that relates to our new Uehiro Center for the Advancement of Oceanography (UC•AO). This enterprise resides at the core of the Department of Oceanography. The UC•AO’s mission is to facilitate the fruition of our research goals as described in the Department’s official 2022-27 Strategic Plan. The Plan is the result of extensive collaboration, interviews, surveys and department-wide workshops, involving 123 department members. We are ever grateful for this recognition of the value of our work.

Please feel free to contact me (ocnchair@hawaii.edu), or better yet, we hope you will come in person to visit the Department of Oceanography here at University of Hawai’i, Mānoa. We look forward to sharing more about the fascinating world that exists above, on and below the ocean’s surface.


Professor Margaret Anne McManus

Chairwoman of the Department of Oceanography