Office: Hawaii Loa Campus, AC 311C
Phone: (808) 236-7907
Fax: (808) 236-3590

Valerie M. Franck, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology


  • Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawaii; 2002-2003
  • Postdoctoral Experience: Young Investigator, School of Ocean and Earth
  • Ph.D., Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara; 2002
  • B.A., English, B.A. in Environmental Science, University of California, Berkeley; 1995

Courses Taught:

  • BIOL 2050 General Biology I
  • BIOL 2051 General Biology I Lab
  • BIOL 2052 General Biology II
  • BIOL 2053 General Biology II Lab
  • BIOL 4940 Senior Seminar for Biology Majors
  • ENVS 3030 Earth Systems & Global Change
  • ENVS 6920 Special Topics in Environmental Science
  • MARS 1000 Introduction to Oceanography for non-science majors
  • MARS 2063 Marine Biology Laboratory

Teaching Interests/Research:

Valerie Franck’s research involves understanding the complex factors that regulate primary production and phytoplankton species composition in both coastal and open-ocean marine ecosystems. Her graduate work focused on the role of iron limitation in regulating the phytoplankton species composition and biogeochemical cycling of silicon and nitrogen in open-ocean waters in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica and in coastal waters throughout the eastern Pacific (Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, California and Alaska). Currently, her goal is to work towards an understanding of how phytoplankton community composition and physiology can work together to affect biogeochemical cycling. Specifically, she plants to compare the role of diatom species composition in regulating silicon cycling in Kane’ohe Bay, a coastal oligotrophic tropical estuary, to open-ocean waters in the central North Pacific, near the Hawaii Ocean Time-series. She is also interested in continuing her graduate work on investigating the effect of environmental factors such as phytoplankton species composition and physiology on nutrient uptake ratios in natural ecosystems, especially silicon-to-nitrogen, silicon-to-carbon and nitrogen-to-carbon ratios. Lastly, she is interested in quantifying diatom production and the role of diatoms in new production in both coastal and open-ocean ecosystems.