Student Research Grants

Hawaii Audubon Society offers small grants (~$1,000) for research in Hawaiian or Pacific natural history.

Special considerations are given to studies on dryland forests or aeolian systems in Hawai‘i.

Stipulations apply, like submitting a 2 to 3 paragraph progress report, suitable for publication in the Society’s journal, ‘Elepaio. The Committee also encourages a more detailed 2 to 3 page report, which would be considered for publication in ‘Elepaio. Check the application form for more information.

Applicants are encouraged to obtain additional funds for research that cannot be funded entirely by this grant.



Grants are reviewed annually with deadlines of June 30. 

DOWNLOAD full application details here.

Summer/Fall 2019

Hawaii Audubon Society 

Research Grant Winner

Sara Gabrielson

“Determining Spotted Dove and Zebra Dove Diets on Oahu with Implications for Seed Dispersal”

Sara is a 1st year PhD student at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. She is interested in seed dispersal by birds on Oahu.  The majority of native plants on Oahu are adapted for bird dispersal, yet no native frugivorous (fruit eating) birds remain. Introduced birds now serve as the major dispersers of fruiting plants, both native and non-native, although the effectiveness of these species as dispersers remains unclear. Spotted Dove (Spilopelia chinensis) and Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata) are non-native birds that have become naturalized on Oahu. These doves fly longer distances than smaller songbirds, the more typical disperser, and may be contributing to long distance seed dispersal. Despite the ubiquity of these doves and their potential as important dispersers, no data have been published on the diet of these species. Sara plans to capture and release Spotted and Zebra Doves after taking fecal samples, and to use these fecal samples to identify seeds in their diet. She will also determine if the seeds in fecal samples are viable and can germinate, or if the seeds are digested or broken such that they are no longer viable. This will illuminate the role of these doves as either seed dispersers or seed predators. The seed dispersal capabilities of the doves, or lack thereof, have implications for the maintenance of native plants across the island as well as the spread of non-native plants.