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Ocean & Earth Sciences

[VIDEO] How to train your coral


Scientists warn extreme sea temperatures could cause a “historic” coral reef die-off around the world over, following a massive coral bleaching event in fall 2014 in the North Pacific. A huge swathe of the Pacific was affected, including the Northern Marianas Islands, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Hawai‘i, and Kiribati. Some areas recorded serious bleaching for the first time, and ...

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New research finds oceanic microbes behave in synchrony across ocean basins

Artist's rendering of the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), suspended from the flotation buoy during a free-drifting deployment for plankton sampling (Credit: MBARI, Moss Landing, CA).

Researchers from UH Mānoa and colleagues found that microbial communities in different regions of the Pacific Ocean displayed strikingly similar daily rhythms in their metabolism despite inhabiting extremely different habitats – the nutrient-rich waters off California and the nutrient-poor waters north of Hawai‘i. Furthermore, in each location, the dominant photoautotrophs – light-loving bacteria that need solar energy to help them photosynthesize ...

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UH Professor honored with American Meteorological Society’s highest award

Bin Wang

Bin Wang, professor and former chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at UH Mānoa, was awarded the 2015 Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal by the American Meteorological Society “for creative insights leading to important advances in the understanding of tropical and monsoonal processes and their predictability.” Wang has been with the Department of Atmospheric Sciences (formerly Department of Meteorology) at ...

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Research team discovers intact ‘ghost ship’ off the coast of Oahu

The USS Kailua, 1943.

Researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries today announced the discovery of an intact “ghost ship” in 2,000 feet of water nearly 20 miles off the coast of Oʻahu.  Sitting upright, its solitary mast still standing and the ship’s wheel still in place, the hulk of the former cable ship Dickenson, later the ...

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Climate researchers discover El Nino’s fueling effect on intense hurricanes

Typhoon Vicente

El Niño, the abnormal warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, is a well-studied tropical climate phenomenon that occurs every few years. It has major impacts on society and Earth’s climate – inducing intense droughts and floods in multiple regions of the globe. Further, scientists have observed that El Niño greatly influences the yearly variations of tropical cyclones ...

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Another human footprint in the ocean: Rising anthropogenic nitrate levels

Human-induced changes to Earth’s carbon cycle – for example, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and ocean acidification – have been observed for decades. However, a study published this week in Science showed human activities, in particular industrial and agricultural processes, have also had significant impacts on the upper ocean nitrogen cycle. The rate of deposition of reactive nitrogen (i.e., nitrogen oxides ...

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CT scans of coral skeletons reveal ocean acidity increases reef erosion

Coral reefs persist in a balance between reef construction and reef breakdown. As corals grow, they construct the complex calcium carbonate framework that provides habitat for fish and other reef organisms.  Simultaneously, bioeroders, such as parrotfish and boring marine worms, break down the reef structure into rubble and the sand that nourishes our beaches. For reefs to persist, rates of ...

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Study reveals tiger shark movements around Maui and Oahu

UH Mānoa researchers are using tracking devices to gain new insights into tiger shark movements in coastal waters around Maui and O‘ahu. The ongoing study reveals their coastal habitat preferences “We need to understand tiger shark movements in our coastal waters to gain a clearer comprehension of the circumstances bringing sharks and humans together,” said Dr. Kim Holland, senior shark scientist at the ...

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EPA grants recognize two grad students working with corals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $168,000 in fellowship grants to two graduate students at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). John Burns and Raphael Ritson-Williams were named as recipients of the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) fellowship. Burns’ research will focus on the relationship between land-based sources of pollution and coral reef ecosystem function off the Hamakua ...

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New study shows the importance of jellyfish to deep-sea ecosystem

Jellyfish baits in the deep sea

This week, researchers from University of Hawai‘i, Norway, and the UK have shown with innovative experiments that a rise in jellyfish blooms near the ocean’s surface may lead to jellyfish falls that are rapidly consumed by voracious deep-sea scavengers.Previous anecdotal studies suggested that deep-sea animals might avoid dead jellyfish, causing dead jellyfish from blooms to accumulate and undergo slow degradation ...

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