Aurora Kagawa-Viviani, Faculty, Department of Geography, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Aurora Kagawa-Viviani

Assistant Professor
Office: Saunders 415

Browse My Publications:


I identify as an ecohydrologist and a geographer. I also identify as an urban Honolulu-raised kanaka ʻōiwi, which informs my relationship to Hawaiʻi and its peoples. Prior to earning my PhD, I worked across the Hawaiian Islands in conservation and education, supporting ʻāina-based (place-based) and Indigenous STEM program development. These experiences shape my vision for integrated research, teaching, and service underpinned by a desire to address societal and environmental problems related to global change. I strive to conduct research that is both responsive to community needs and also advances fundamental understanding of water, ecosystems, and the roles of humans on the landscape. 

In addition to serving on the faculty of the Department of Geography and Environment and the UH Water Resources Research Center, I also serve (unpaid) on the Hawaiʻi Commission on Water Resource Management (2021-2025), am a Ford Fellow, and am a parent of two small kids.  Please read the description of my research below, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you'd like to work with me.


  • Postdoc: Hawaiʻi Cooperative Studies Unit/ Univesity of Hawaiʻi Water Resources Research Center, USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystem Research Center, 2021-2022
  • PhD, Geography and Environment, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 2020
  • MS, Botany (Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology specialization), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 2008 
  • SB, Environmental Engineering Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003


  • GEO 305/SUST: 315 Water and Society


Terrestrial landscapes are being transformed at unprecedented rates due to urbanization and other drivers of land use and ecosystem change. These land cover changes interact with changing climates to produce new ecological and hydrologic regimes at the land’s surface. How are flows of water and energy altered? What are the implications for human society? What has or what can society at large or local communities do to mitigate these changes or alter the trajectory of these new ecohydrologic regimes? 

Using the lens of change, I seek to understand how plant and human communities are affected by- and affect- hydrologic processes. My current research includes focus on vegetation-water interactions, the ecohydrology of biotic invasion and ecological restoration, and cultivation of plants and landscapes where water limits growth. I work on these topics with an attentiveness to human-ecosystem interactions, leaning on natural science and social science tools and approaches.  More broadly, I seek to engage local community aspirations to drive rigorous scientific investigation in the transdisciplinary space encompassing plants, water, and people. Please reach out if this resonates with you!

Community Engagement

If you have a community water problem that could potentially benefit from researcher effort, please don't hesitate to contact me via email. Similarly, if you would like to financially support community-researcher collaboration, please consider donating to my lab's Community Water Research and Initiatives Fund (UH Foundation).