Darren T. Lerner, Ph.D., served as the associate director for the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program (UH Sea Grant) for seven years and was named director of UH Sea Grant and interim director for the University of Hawaii Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) in 2014.
As Director, Dr. Lerner leads and serves both program’s scholarly and creative faculty, staff, and partners in moving UH Sea Grant and WRRC forward to face the challenges as well as embrace the many opportunities that lie ahead. The unique environments in Hawai‘i and the Pacific region are already changing under the influence of rising ocean levels, coastal erosion, invasive species, increasing land-use and development, pollution, and surging populations, to name a few. UH Sea Grant focus areas include sustainable coastal development and tourism, coastal hazard resilience, indigenous cultural heritage and water resource sustainability. The latter is a direct intersection with the research focus of the WRRC, but all have implications for the WRRC’s ability to serve the people and communities of Hawai ‘i and the Pacific in better understanding water resource issues particular to tropical islands.
Lerner also continues a research program in environmental physiology as affiliate research faculty at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology with a focus on the role of the environment and anthropogenic stressors on fish growth, development and behavior.
Lerner earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from the University of Missouri, Columbia, a master’s degree in zoology from Oregon State University, and a PhD in organismic and evolutionary biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.