Carmella Vizza PH.D.

College of Natural and Computational Sciences - Department of Natural Science

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science


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ResearchGate Profile



  • Ph.D., Biogeochemistry, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, 2018
  • B.S., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University, 2008



  • BIOL 3081 Ecology Lab
  • CHEM 1020 Introduction to Chemistry and the Environment
  • ENVS 2001 Introduction to Environmental Science Lab
  • ENVS 3003 Applications of Environmental Science Lab
  • ENVS 3010 Environmental Impact Assessment
  • ENVS 3600 Natural Resource Management
  • NSCI 6900 Master's Research



Biogeochemistry, microbial ecology, water quality, wetland conservation, environmental performance of bioenergy crops, nitrogen fixation, methane production and emissions



As a science teacher, my three goals for students are (1) to provide opportunities for experiential learning, (2) to develop their critical thinking, technical writing, and scientific communication skills, and (3) to cultivate scientific values in the classroom. A world inhabited by students armed with these skills is a world with the potential to flourish, innovate, and solve daunting challenges, both in science and in other fields. Science, especially, is tasked with addressing some of society’s most complex issues, such as climate change and vector-borne diseases. As a discipline, science is also facing a reputation problem due to cases of fraud and “scientists for hire” who dismantle sound research for financial gain. To improve science’s reputation and solve these complicated problems, professors must mold a future generation of scientists with excellent communication skills, intellectual creativity and honesty, and the courageous leadership to drive solutions.



I am a biogeochemist who works at the interface of ecosystem and microbial ecology using comparative, experimental, and mathematical modeling approaches in a variety of ecosystems.

My current projects include:

  • Linking water quality to avian botulism outbreaks in Hawaiian waterbirds
  • The effects of nutrient pollution on microbial communities and human health indicators in aquatic ecosystems
  • The effects of invasive vegetation management on water quality and invertebrate communities in O‘ahu wetlands
  • Examining the importance of nitrogen fixation in switchgrass, a potential bioenergy crop, and its response to changing precipitation patterns
  • Investigating the effects of climate change on greenhouse gas emissions in Alaskan wetlands

Prior to my Ph.D., I worked at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center where I examined the role of nutrients brought by Chinook salmon from the ocean to stream ecosystems where they spawn.

Carmella Vizza, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

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  (808) 236-5866
  Hawaii Loa Campus, AC 228