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Ocean & Earth Sciences

Sonia Rowley wins Sir David Attenborough Award for Fieldwork

Gorgonian (sea fan) corals on the twilight reefs of Pohnpei Island. (credit: Sonia J. Rowley)

Sonia J. Rowely, post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, received the prestigious Sir David Attenborough Award for Fieldwork from the Systematics Association and the Linnean Society of London. Rowley’s work was selected based on her project entitled “Exploration and Systematics of Twilight Reef Gorgonian Corals at Pakin Atoll.” …

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Scientists drill deep to gain insights into East African climate history

Lake Challa on the border of Kenya and Tanzania

Researchers from all over the world gathered in November at a beautiful but unassuming volcanic lake in East Africa with the hope of uncovering its hidden record of the climate history so intimately involved in the development of our species. In collaboration with the International Continental Scientific Drilling Programme (ICDP), an international team of Earth scientists, including postdoctoral researcher Christian …

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Milutin Milankovic Medal awarded to climate researcher Axel Timmermann

Axel Timmermann

Axel Timmermann, researcher at the International Pacific Research Centerat the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, has been selected by the European Geosciences Union to receive the 2017 Milutin Milanković Medal. The Milanković Medal is conferred on climate scientists who are recognized for “outstanding research in long term climatic changes and modeling.” Timmermann certainly fits the bill, with his research ranging …

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Explaining mysterious source of greenhouse gas methane in the ocean

The new study determined that much of the ocean’s dissolved organic matter is made up of novel polysaccharides—long chains of sugar molecules created by photosynthetic bacteria in the upper ocean. Bacteria begin to slowly break these polysaccharides, tearing out pairs of carbon and phosphorus atoms from their molecular structure. In the process, the microbes create methane, ethylene, and propylene gasses as byproducts. Most of the methane escapes back into the atmosphere. (Illustration by Eric Taylor, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

For decades, marine chemists have faced an elusive paradox. The surface waters of the world’s oceans are supersaturated with the greenhouse gas methane, yet most species of microbes that can generate the gas can’t survive in oxygen-rich surface waters. So where exactly does all the methane come from? This longstanding riddle, known as the “marine methane paradox,” may have finally …

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UH researchers link quality of coastal groundwater with reef degradation on Maui

Ulva (algae) from areas with high, left, or low, right levels of SGD-derived nitrogen. (D. Amato)

Land-use practices on tropical oceanic islands can have large impacts on reef ecosystems, even in the absence of rivers and streams. Land-based pollutants, such as fertilizers and chemicals in wastewater, infiltrate into the groundwaters beneath land and eventually exit into nearshore ecosystems as submarine groundwater discharge (SGD)—seeping into the coastal zone beneath the ocean’s surface. In a study published recently …

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New model reveals adaptations of world’s most abundant ocean microbe

Pacific Ocean, home to Prochlorococcus. (photo credit: Tara Clemente, UH SOEST)

Researchers from David Karl’s laboratory at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and from Professor Jens Nielsen’s laboratory at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden, developed a computer model which takes into account hundreds of genes, chemical reactions and compounds required for the survival of Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthetic microbe on the planet. They found that Prochlorococcus has made …

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A new study concludes warm climate is more sensitive to changes in CO2

Global mean temperature anomaly with respect to preindustrial reference level.

It is well-established in the scientific community that increases in atmospheric CO2 levels result in global warming, but the magnitude of the effect may vary depending on average global temperature. A new study, published this week in Science Advances and led by Tobias Friedrich from the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, concludes that warm climates are more sensitive to changes in CO2 levels than cold …

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Undergraduate journal Mānoa Horizons publishes first issue

Mānoa Horizons Volume I

Mānoa Horizons, a new peer-reviewed academic journal featuring high quality creativity, innovation and research conducted and synthesized by undergraduate students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, has published its first issue this fall. Under the editorship of Christine Beaule, Mānoa Horizons represents a partnership among the UHMānoa’s Honors Program, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and the honors faculty. The journal will be published annually in the fall and …

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Hawaiʻi high school student awarded for developing ocean research methods

Lindsay preparing cameras for deployment on a NOAA ship.

Christopher Lindsay, a 17-year-old high school student from Honolulu was recently awarded a $50,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship from the Davidson Institute of Talent Development for his project, Kahakai to Hohonukai: Environmental Studies of Marine Biota Using Underwater Time-Lapse Photography and Multiple Camera Arrays at Various Depths. He is one of only 4 students from across the country to receive this …

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