Marine Biology graduate student Kekuʻiapoiula “Kuʻi” Keliipuleole was selected as a 2020-2022 Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation conservation fellow. Fellows are chosen because of their strong academic records as undergraduates, their connections to and integration with the local conservation community, their passion for the ʻāina and keen interest in preserving and protecting shared and limited natural resources and their commitment to career and future efforts to preserve and sustain their local environment.
The two-year fellowships for Hawaiʻi high school graduates, which include tuition exemption, regular stipend and funds for professional development, will help increase the number of qualified Hawaiʻi students and professionals pursuing environmental resource management careers.
Keliipuleole’s graduate research with associate professor of Oceanography Rosie Alegado is focused on understanding the linkage between the management of living resources within anchialine pools and ʻōpelu fisheries. Anchialine pools are typically small, nearshore pools which form in limestone or volcanic rock and have their own unique ecosystems populated by tiny and often rare species of crustaceans, fish, and eels. Due to their subterranean connection to the ocean, anchialine surface waters are often brackish. More than half of the world’s known anchialine pools are found in the Hawaiian Islands.
“The Hauʻoli Mau Loa fellowship will help to ground my research in Aloha ʻĀina,” said Keliipuleole who is also the program manager for the SOEST Maile Mentoring Bridge. “HML gives me the resources I need to work with our kamaʻāina communities and to be a pono steward of Hawaiʻi.”