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Ocean & Earth Sciences

Coordinated national and global effort needed to understand Earth’s microbiome

Woody mussels (shown), like all organisms, rely on microbes for health. Credit: MARUM, Bremen

Microbes dominate Earth. They have been discovered wherever anyone has looked for them. Every animal and plant relies on interactions with the microbial world for health. Given that nearly every habitat and organism hosts a diverse constellation of microorganisms—its “microbiome”—understanding that complex system could transform ideas about the natural world and launch innovations in agriculture, energy, health, the environment and ...

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Volcanoes, marine life, planetary exploration and more at SOEST open house


Learn about the science behind exploding volcanoes, marine ecosystems, planetary exploration and more at the 13th School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) open house on Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. This year’s attendees will have a chance to go on laboratory tours and explore an array of fascinating ...

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Marine biologist Carl Meyer shares insights on recent tiger shark bites

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers Carl Meyer, left, and Kim Holland tagging a tiger shark.

With the recent shark bites occurring around Hawaiʻi, Carl Meyer, assistant researcher at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, shared some interesting shark facts. Meyer is part of a research team using tracking devices to gain new insights into tiger shark movements in coastal waters around Maui and Oʻahu. The ongoing study provides insights into ...

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UH Mānoa undergraduate students make discoveries in Hawaiʻi

Camilla Tognacchini’s field work captured the effects of human activities and tropical storms on the ecosystem of Heʻeia fishpond. Credit: Conor Jerolmon, UH Mānoa

Original scientific research by two recent graduates from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Global Environmental Science (GES) undergraduate program has shed new light on Hawaiʻi’s past and current natural environment. Present day stressors on a traditional Hawaiian fishpond Camilla Tognacchini’s senior research project began with the goal to assess how the removal of invasive mangroves affects the health of ...

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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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