our chairwoman’s welcome

Our mission is to integrate undergraduate and graduate education with cutting-edge, oceanographic research from local to global scales. 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.

My goal is to coalesce our community to achieve a shared vision for our department. Over the next three years I will strive to:

  • Grow our vibrant research community to ensure our legacy in the future of oceanography.
  • Strengthen our undergraduate Global Environmental Science and graduate oceanography programs;
  • Expand and diversify our fundraising efforts to better meet the needs of our growing community;
  • Foster a culture and community that reflect our commitment to a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the uniqueness of the times in which we find ourselves. The current COVID-19 crisis and the impact of the pandemic are complex and far-reaching. Our dedicated faculty, students, researchers, post-doctoral researchers and staff are the heart of the Department of Oceanography and our highest priority is to keep them safe. I am extraordinarily proud and grateful to every member of our department. These dedicated individuals have continued to make contributions to the field while also working diligently to slow the spread of COVID-19. I look to the future with hope and gratitude knowing that with the strong foundation we have established, we will continue moving science forward together.

Please feel free to contact me (ocnchair@hawaii.edu), or better yet, when our global situation has stabilized, 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 on and below the ocean’s surface.


Professor Margaret Anne McManus

Chairwoman of the Department of Oceanography