Waipio Valley Stream Restoration Study

Dr. J. Michael Fitzsimons

Dr. J. Michael Fitzsimons
Professor (Animal Behavior and Ethology)
Louisiana State University


"It is extremely rewarding and just tremendous fun to work with such acapable and diverse group of people from the Bishop Museum, the University of Hawai'i, and the Division of Aquatic Resources. The multidisciplinary biological investigation of Lalakea and Hi'ilawe Streams before, during, and after the return of water to Waipi‘o Valley will be the most thorough study of its kind ever pursued in the Hawaiian high islands. It has the potential for becoming the standard for procedures pertaining to stream restoration."

What he does

At Louisiana State University, he teaches ichthyology, ethology, and graduate seminars in behavior, systematics, and ecology. He and his graduate students have studied Hawaiian stream fishes since 1986.

How he got into science

Since I was 12 years old and continuing through college, my grandfather and I spent a month together every summer fishing and camping in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Granddad Fitz taught me how to enjoy watching animals and understanding how each species interacted with others. Year after year we would find the same species, and sometimes the same individuals, doing those things that ensured their survival and the suvival of their young. After more than three decades as a university professor and reseacher, I am still doing many of the things that my grandfather and I did so many years ago.

Favorite accomplishments

It is a tremendous sense of accomplishment for my wife, who grew up on the Big Island, and I to see our two daughters develop successful professional careers in medicine and engineering while keeping a strong appreciation of nature, knowing the companionship of good dogs, and being proud of their connection to Hawai'i.

In his free time

In my free time, I like to be on or in the water or walking quietly through the woods.