Cas is the research manager of the Hawaii Ant Lab.  Born in Holland, Cas grew up in Australia where he attended several universities including: Charles Sturt University, the University of New England and Curtin University. He has worked extensively throughout the Pacific region, New Zealand and Australia. His professional interests include the biology and control of invasive ant species, Ecological restoration, island ecology and contemporary anthropoly.  In his spare time he restores vintage motorcycles.
Dr Casper Vanderwoude
Introducing our staff
Michelle is the program specialist for the Hawaii Ant Lab. Originally from California; she has lived on the Big Island since 2002 where she began her career in Entomology. She has a degree from UH Hilo in Agriculture Crop Protection and has worked for various federal research facilities within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hilo over the past 10 years. Her professional interests include invasive species and insect pest control, conservation, education, and public communication. In her spare time she skates for the Volcano Vixens Roller Derby team in Hilo where she goes by the name of “Da Kraken”.


Kanoe is an invasive ant research technician with the Hawaii Ant Lab. She was born and raised on Oahu and has lived in Hilo since 2008. She received her B.S. in Agroecology and Environmental Quality, with a minor in Hawaiian Studies from UH Hilo. She’s worked for several USDA agencies in the areas of post-harvest crop quality enhancement, entomology, plant pathology, and natural resources management. Her professional interests include invasive species ecology and control, native species restoration, sustainable agriculture, and cultural preservation in the common goal of protecting Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources for future generations. She also enjoys producing nature-inspired creative arts and photography in her free time.  Recently, Kanoe accepted a position with the Hamakua Soil and Water Conservation District as a consevation planner.
Kanoe Malani

Michelle Montgomery
Matt is an Invasive Ant Research Aide with the Hawaii Ant Lab.  Originally from Kaneohe, Matt moved to Puna after graduating from college.  He received a Bachelors of Science in Networking and Communications Management from DeVry University in 2005.  His professional interests include the conservation and protection of Hawaii against invasive plant and animal species, community outreach and education.  In his free time, Matt enjoys many things.

Matt Kema

Past HAL staffers
Heather is HAL's support technician.  Originally from California, she moved to Hawaii in 2002 to begin her college education at the University of Hawaii at Hilo; later graduating with honors with a degree in Marine Science and a Certificate in Planning. Before joining the Hawaii Ant Lab (HAL), she worked as an Environmental Planner performing a variety of development, transportation, and public involvement projects. Because Hawaii is all part of the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Area, conservation is a primary professional interest of hers. To protect the delicate environment here in Hawaii, she acknowledges the importance of community awareness, cultural sensitivity, and public participation in conservation efforts. Whenever possible, she takes time to appreciate the many natural wonders on Big Island by snorkeling pristine coral reefs, hiking deserts and rainforests, and snowboarding on Mauna Kea.
Heather Forester

a repository of information about invasive ants



Ersel Hensley
Ersel is the invasive ant technician with the Hawaii Ant Lab.  He was born and raised here in Hawaii and has a degree from UH Hilo in Tropical Agriculture and a certificate in plant tissue culture.  Before joining HAL he was a navy veteran and has also worked in the construction industry.  His main interests lie in Hawaaian entomology, biology and sustainability of agricultural and natural landscapes.

Trent Hanzawa
Matt is an Invasive Ant Research Aide with the Hawaii Ant Lab.  Originally from Kaneohe, Matt moved to Puna after graduating from college.  He received a Bachelors of Science in Networking and Communications Management from DeVry University in 2005.  His professional interests include the conservation and protection of Hawaii against invasive plant and animal species, community outreach and education.  In his free time, Matt enjoys many things.
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