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Ocean & Earth Sciences

Enhancing coastal resilience in West Maui goal of new PacIOOS grant

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) will develop a high-resolution, real-time wave run-up forecast and notification system for West Maui’s coastline with a $500,000 award from NOAA’s Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program. PacIOOS will also model a suite of inundation planning scenarios that take rising sea levels and increasing wave energies into account. Site-specific, short- and long-term forecasts, will strengthen …

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New research uses satellites to predict end of volcanic eruptions

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) recently discovered that infrared satellite data could be used to predict when lava flow-forming eruptions will end. Using NASA satellite data, Estelle Bonny, a graduate student in the SOEST Department of Geology and Geophysics, and her mentor, HawaiʻiInstitute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) researcher Robert Wright, tested a hypothesis first published in 1981 that detailed how lava …

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Hundreds of species of fungi in deep coral ecosystems discovered by UH Mānoa botanists

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Botany have discovered hundreds of potentially new species of fungi in the deep coral ecosystem in the ʻAuʻau channel off Maui, Hawaiʻi. Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCE) are generally found at depths between 130–500 feet and possess abundant plant (algal) life as well as new fish species. The mysteries of these reefs are only recently being revealed through technological advances …

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Giant sea spiders use their legs as gills and their guts as hearts

Sea spiders, a bizarre and ancient group of marine arthropods in the class Pycnogonida, breathe in a way not previously known to science, according to a study involving University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researcher Amy Moran and zoology PhD student Caitlin Shishido. The study, published in the July 10 issue of Current Biology, was performed at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, while Moran and her team were there in the fall …

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CTAHR Cooperative Extension Service convenes the Hawai‘i Extension Climate Forum

Pacific islands contribute less that 0.03 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet they suffer some of the greatest threats of climate change. This was a central point made at the Hawaiʻi Extension Climate Forum, an event organized last month by faculty and staff of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). The forum brought together other university and community partners addressing …

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World’s oldest continuously monitored coral reef transect celebrates 100 years

In 1917, Alfred Mayor from the Carnegie Institute began what is now the world’s oldest continuously monitored coral reef transect in the world. The Aua transect on Tutuila island in the remote island territory of American Samoa celebrated its 100th anniversary, and scientists from throughout the region traveled to the island for a week-long celebration and to conduct the 100th …

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Biodiversity loss from deep-sea mining will be unavoidable

Biodiversity losses from deep-sea mining are unavoidable and possibly irrevocable, an international team of 15 marine scientists, resource economists and legal scholars argue in a letter published recently in the journal Nature Geoscience. The experts, including Craig Smith, oceanography professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), say the International Seabed …

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Reptile skin grown in lab for first time, helps study endangered turtle disease

Scientists, including Tina Weatherby with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), published a study wherein they reconstructed the skin of endangered green turtles, marking the first time that reptile skin was successfully engineered in a laboratory. In turn, the scientists were able to grow a tumor-associated virus to better understand certain …

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UH researchers help community understand and prepare for king tides

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa were out in force again this month to document and study the king tides that occurred on June 23 and 24. The water level along the coast, already expected to inundate nearshore areas with the some of the highest annual tides was enhanced by elevated water levels and a large south swell …

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New wave buoy off Pearl Harbor to measure ocean conditions

On June 6, the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) deployed a new wave buoy near the entrance to Pearl Harbor, approximately 1.5 miles offshore. The wave buoy provides accurate information on wave height, direction and period, and also measures surface currents and sea surface temperature. Wave buoy data benefit the entire community and are important to make well-informed and …

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