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Ocean & Earth Sciences

Coral toolkit allows floating larvae to transform into reef skeletons

Two newly settled juveniles and a swimming larva on coralline algae. (credit: H Putnam)

In a study published today, researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Rutgers University and the University of Haifa identified key and novel components of the molecular “toolkit” that allow corals to build their skeletons (called biomineralization) and described when—in the transformation from floating larvae to coral skeleton—these components are used. Corals are the sum of a symbiotic relationship between cnidarian animals and millions of …

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Microbial takeover on coral reefs?

A healthy reef dominated by calcifying corals and coralline algae, Line Islands. (photo credit: Jennifer Smith, Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

Coral reefs—the world’s most productive and diverse marine ecosystems—rely on a masterful recycling program to stay healthy. The corals and algae that form the base of the reef’s food web release a variety of nutrients that support a complex and efficient food chain. But when this system gets out of whack, the cycle breaks down and endangers the coral reef’s …

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Heat trumps cold in the treatment of jellyfish stings


A recent study by researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, published this month in the journal Toxins, may finally put to rest the ongoing debate about whether to use cold or heat to treat jellyfish stings. Their systematic and critical review provides overwhelming evidence that clinical outcomes from all kinds of jellyfish stings are improved following treatment with …

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New imaging technique reveals vulnerability of coral reefs

Nyssa Silbiger conducting filed work.

Corals, the primary reef builders on coral reefs, are often the star player in research studies addressing the impacts of climate change on coral reefs because they are the foundation of coral reef ecosystems. However, the breakdown of coral reefs from borers (such as bivalves, sponges, and marine worms) and grazers (such as parrotfish and urchins)—called bioerosion—and growth from encrusting …

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Piggybacking viruses

Katie Barott filtering water for microbial counts on the ship in the Line Islands. (photo by: Forest Rohwer)

In the microscopic life that thrives around coral reefs, a team of researchers, including Katie Barott, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, have discovered an interplay between viruses and microbes that defies conventional wisdom. As the density of microbes rises in an ecosystem, the number of viruses infecting those microbes rises with …

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[VIDEO] School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology receives new marine facility

Brian Taylor, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Dean; Senator Lorraine Inouye; Darrell Young, Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Harbors Division Deputy Director; Kahu Hailama Farden perform the ceremonial untying of the maile lei at the new facility at Pier 35. (photo from the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation)

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) received the ceremonial key to its new marine facility at Pier 35 today from the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation. The transportation department along with elected officials and UH representatives conducted a blessing and ceremony to formally convey the newly renovated Pier 35 facility …

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Bronze bell recovered from World War II aircraft-carrying submarine off Oahu coast

HURL submersibles recovered the I-400 bronze bell. Credit: UH/ HURL.

During a test dive last week, the Hawaiʻi Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) recovered a bronze bell from the I-400—a World War II-era Imperial Japanese Navy mega-submarine, lost since 1946 when it was intentionally sunk by U.S. forces after its capture. Longer than a football field at 400 feet, the I-400 was known as a “Sen-Toku” class submarine—the largest submarine ever built until …

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Four new algae species discovered in Hawaiʻi’s deep waters

Ulva ohiohilulu, collected at 307 feet depth from south Maui. (photo credit: Hawaiʻi Undersea Research Laboratory)

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi botany department and Friday Harbor Laboratorieshave discovered and described four new algal species from Hawaiʻi’s mesophotic coral ecosystems. The new species (Ulva ohiohilulu, Ulva iliohaha, Umbraulva kuaweuweu, and Umbraulva kaloakulau) are part of a group commonly known as sea lettuces. Sea lettuces are not well described in mesophotic environments (100–500 feet deep), but are known from shallow waters worldwide. This …

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Helping Hawaiʻi prepare for coastal hazards aim of NOAA grant

Shoreline erosion, North Shore of Oʻahu

To help Hawaiʻi communities reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change, NOAA’s National Ocean Service awarded the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program (Hawaiʻi Sea Grant) $845,160 in grant funding through the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program. Hawaiʻi is particularly vulnerable to coastal hazards. Since the state is heavily reliant on tourism, and most of the development and infrastructure in Hawaiʻi are …

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