Categorized | Environment

Bertelmann joins Sea Grant Extension


Pelika Bertelmann has been named the new University of Hawaii Sea Grant Extension Specialist for Hawaii Island.

The Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center (PACRC) at the University of Hawaii at Hilo has partnered with the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program to create a new position focusing on the diverse needs of coastal communities on Hawaii Island.

Meet Bertelmann at a special ReefTalk 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 14 at the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park Visitor Center

For further information, contact Chantal Chung at 329-2861 or

Bertelmann will have the opportunity to create an innovative outreach and extension program that connects the many resources available at the university with the needs of the local communities.

While her work will be based in West Hawaii she will plan, organize and conduct extension and education activities islandwide.

These activities will encompass sustainable coastal development, coastal tourism, fisheries, coastal hazards, coastal ecosystem health, and other interrelated issues important to the health and vitality of Hawaii’s coastal resources and its people.

She will be working closely with PACRC which provides the infrastructure to support world-class aquaculture, marine science, and conservation biology programs at University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The center also conducts interdisciplinary research and development in coastal areas throughout the world.

It has two primary facilities: a 12-acre coastal site at Keaukaha, adjacent to the port of Hilo, and an inland site at Panaewa, six miles away.

The Keaukaha facilities include a water quality laboratory, mollusk and marine fish hatcheries, and tanks for replicated experiments. Water supplies include both brackish and salt water.

The primary purposes of the Panaewa site are health management and integrated agriculture-aquaculture farming systems. State-of-the-art quarantine facilities allow work on exotic species while reuse of nutrient-enriched waters including aquaponics demonstrate how to improve efficiency and profitability of local farms.

Students are actively involved in all aspects of center operations.

The center cooperates with several student internship programs and employs students in numerous positions. The center also maintains close relationships with aquaculture firms, many of whom also employ UH Hilo graduates.

Bertelmann is a Native Hawaiian born and raised on Kauai. She has been living and working on the Big Island for the past 18 years and has a long history with the coastal communities of West Hawaii, first as a crew member of the voyaging canoe Makalii and later as a researcher conducting shoreline monitoring along the North Kona and South Kohala shorelines.

She has been involved with many organizations and projects working to better our environment through conservation efforts and lifestyle changes.

For the last five years, she has been developing alternate approaches to monitoring Hawaii’s shoreline and supporting implementation of a management strategy that supports healthy, balanced communities in Hawaii.

Bertelmann has transitioned from the Keaholoa STEM Scholars Program at UH Hilo after serving as the program coordinator for the last four years. Her work there supported undergraduates in STEM research and field experience building strong foundations in our future scientist, managers, and community leaders.

She has a varied background in education, research, fishing, conservation and business. She has lectured on topics ranging from traditional marine management, voyaging, Integration in research, Hawaiian plants and their uses, to digital media arts.

Bertelmann holds a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies, certificates in Marine Science and Pacific Island Studies from UH Hilo in 2007 and a Master’s Degree in Hawaiian Studies, with an emphasis on conservation and management, from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2011

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