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Ocean & Earth Sciences

Corals worldwide hit by bleaching

The current coral bleaching event began last year in the Pacific Ocean. This reef in American Samoa was healthy in December 2014 (left) but had lost its characteristic colour in February 2015 (right). Image courtesy of XL Catlin Seaview Survey.

From Hawai‘i to Papua New Guinea to the Maldives, coral reefs are bleaching — in so many regions that the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officially declared a global bleaching event on 08 October 2015. The event, the third in recorded history, is expected to grow worse in coming months. Warm ocean temperatures, linked to climate change and ...

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Ocean Station ALOHA designated a Milestones in Microbiology site

Station ALOHA from UH research vessel Kilo Moana (photo credit: Tara Clemente, UH SOEST)

Ocean Station ALOHA, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s research site 60 miles north of Oʻahu has been designated a Milestones in Microbiology site by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). ASM Milestones in Microbiology program recognizes institutions and scientists that have made significant contributions toward advancing the microbial sciences. This open-ocean research station “has played a fundamental role in ...

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Island boulders reveal ancient mega-tsunami

The gaping scar in this satellite image tells the tale of the Fogo volcano's eastern-flank collapse. Image courtesy of NASA.

When the eastern flank of Fogo, a Cape Verde volcano, splashed into the sea some 73,000 years ago, it generated an enormous wave that rose to 170 meters of height before it crashed into a nearby island, geophysicists have discovered. The mega-tsunami, reported on 2 October 2015 in Science Advances, is one of the largest in the geological record. The flanks ...

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Lunar conference on climate change launched at UH Mānoa


Hundreds of cultural experts, scientists and community leaders convened on September 25 at the East-West Center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa to apply the use of the traditional lunar calendar and explore how ancestral knowledge can address and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The ʻAimalama conference, which featured panel discussions, site trips and presentations, was launched by Pualani ...

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Three UH marine mammals will continue research role at Sea Life Park

BJ, a 29-year-old female Tursiops

Three marine mammals that have been involved in hearing and underwater noise studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa for more than 20 years have been relocated to Sea Life Park. Kina, a 40-year-old female Pseudorca; Boris, a 26-year-old male Tursiops and BJ, a 29-year-old female Tursiops, came to UH with Paul Nachtigall in 1993, when he founded the ...

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Extreme Pacific sea level events to double in future

Extreme low sea levels occurred during August in parts of the western Pacific associated with the ongoing strong El Niño. Data from AVISO satellite measurements. (credit: Widlansky, et al., 2015)

Many tropical Pacific island nations are struggling to adapt to gradual sea level rise stemming from warming oceans and melting ice caps. Now they may also see much more frequent extreme interannual sea level swings. The culprit is a projected behavioral change of the El Niño phenomenon and its characteristic Pacific wind response, according to recent computer modeling experiments and ...

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Funding for UH graduate research could produce scientific breakthroughs

Raphael Ritson-Williams

For 40 years, a group of Hawaiʻi women have been quietly working to keep America competitive by supporting some of the University of Hawaiʻi’s brightest graduate students. The Honolulu chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists, or ARCS Foundation, has provided more than $2 million in unrestricted grants to UH Mānoa PhD candidates in scientific fields from astronomy to zoology. ...

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New aquatic science curriculum now online


Science teachers throughout the state and nation now have a website, based on the award-winning Fluid Earth/Living Ocean aquatic science curriculum, where they can investigate, discover, evaluate, communicate and learn about marine science. The Exploring Our Fluid Earth curriculum, which examines coastal and ocean sciences by studying the influence of water on the planet, was developed to be useful to ...

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UH researchers reach North Pole aboard U.S. icebreaker Healy

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy (photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard)

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, home-ported in Seattle, arrived at the North Pole this week, becoming the first U.S. surface ship to do so unaccompanied. This is only the fourth time a U.S. surface vessel has ever reached the North Pole, and the first since 2005. Healy’s crew and science party, including several scientists and a graduate student from the ...

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David Karl wins $770,000 Balzan Prize in oceanography

Dr. David Karl

David Karl, director of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE), was awarded the 2015 Balzan Prize in recognition of his lifetime of impactful research in the field of microbial oceanography. This honor includes a prize of 750,000 Swiss Francs ($770,000). Karl is also the Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel ...

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