Brenda Asuncion

brenda.asuncion 'at' gmail 'dot' com

Last Updated October 22, 2010



Brenda was born and raised on O'ahu, Hawai'i. She left her beloved island and her warm ocean to attend Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Despite intense phases of homesickness, this proved to be one of the best decisions of her life. In her undergraduate years, she was able to experience a slice of "the big land" (aka continental US), study abroad in New Zealand, and generally satisfy her enthusiasm for science. While at Oxy, Brenda dipped her toes in a wide range of field work; she became quite adept at catching and preserving leaf-litter invertebrates, counting infauna from sediment cores, hunting for cone snails, and counting fish in freezing California waters (while wearing an insanely thick wetsuit). Despite the scattered variety of her research experiences, they were all held together by fundamental concepts of ecology and the potential relationship between science and management. In May 2007, she left Oxy with a B.A. in Biology and a Marine emphasis.

Brenda happily returned home and jumped into a summer internship while ultimately preparing to begin her graduate studies at Hawai'i Pacific University in the fall. Her summer project was a study of marine algal virus diversity in Kane'ohe Bay, and it was extended to continue until June 2008. At HPU, Brenda's thesis work will be studying green sea turtles and their small-scale patterns of habitat use in Kailua. Her overarching interest is in marine protected areas and ways to devise more effective resource management approaches by integrate research with traditional cultural and ecological knowledge.

When she's not doing school-type things, Brenda works as a part-time educational coordinator for Paepae O He'eia, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration of a traditional Hawaiian fishpond in Kane'ohe. She also participates with Halau I Ka Wekiu in learning hula and she surfs whenever she gets a chance.


Brenda defended her thesis on December 2009



After graduating from HPU, Brenda was awarded a one-year fellowship managed by the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fellowship, working at the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, starting in October 2009.


After completing her one-year internship at the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary program, Brenda is currently working on a part-time basis with the NOAA Humpback Whale Sanctuary and at the He'eia fish pond.


Back to People