December 8, 2017
Leaf Fungus Smoothie Brings Endangered Hawaiian Flower Back From the Brink
Transplanting wild microbes from healthy related plants can make a native Hawaiian plant healthier and likelier to survive in wild according to new research from the Amend Laboratory in the UHM Botany department and the Oʻahu Army Natural Resources Program. Professor Anthony Amend and postdoctoral researcher Geoff Zahn used microbes to restore the health of a critically endangered Hawaiian plant that, until now, had been driven to extinction in the wild and only survived in managed greenhouses under heavy doses of fungicide. The plant, Phyllostegia kaalaensis, is in the mint family and only grew in the Waiʻanae mountain range in West Oʻahu.
December 7, 2017
Origin of modern humans more complicated than originally thought
New archaeological evidence has undermined elements of the so-called “Out of Africa” theory, the widely supported model that maps the migration of the earliest humans from Africa. Scientists now believe humans departed Africa as early as 120,000 years ago—60,000 years earlier than previously thought. Researchers from UHM and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History used cutting-edge DNA analysis to date ancient human bones found in Asia.
A team of researchers, led by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, examined coffee-drinking habits in 185,855 Americans who were participating in the Multiethnic Cohort Study, which has been tracking volunteers since 1993. On average, each volunteer was followed for 16.2 years. Compared with the 16% of people who didn’t drink coffee at all, those who downed two or more cups each day were about 18% less likely to have died during the study period. In addition, those who drank just one to six cups of coffee per week were 12% less likely to die. Both of these figures were calculated after taking into account known risk factors for early death, such as smoking (which is often paired with coffee drinking), diet and body mass index.
Sea spiders, a bizarre and ancient group of marine arthropods, 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. Most animals extract oxygen from the environment using specialized structures like gills and lungs, and distribute oxygen through their bodies using hearts and blood vessels. Sea spiders, distant marine relatives of land spiders, have no specialized structures to take up oxygen and their hearts are weak. Moran and her colleagues showed that sea spiders get oxygen through the surface of their legs and move it around their bodies while digesting their food with peristaltic contractions of the gut, which extends out to the end of all of the animal’s 8 to 12 legs. “We are really excited about these results because they show that sea spiders solve one of life’s biggest challenges—getting oxygen into the body and taking it where it needs to go—in a way that is new to science,” said Moran. “The next thing we would love to know is if this is unique to sea spiders, or if other animals also move oxygen with their guts and we just never knew about it.”
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 Authority, which is responsible under the UN Law of the Sea for regulating undersea mining in areas outside national jurisdictions, must recognize this risk. They say it must also communicate the risk clearly to its member states and the public to inform discussions about whether deep-seabed mining should proceed, and if so, what standards and safeguards need to be put into place to minimize biodiversity loss.
June 25, 2017
Fighting for freshwater amid climate change
Climate scientists warn: if the current pace of global warming and sea level rise continues, then low-lying islands like the Marshalls Islands could become incapable of sustaining their population within a generation or two. Geology professor and SOEST associate dean of academic affairs Chip Fletcher talked with PBS NewsHour about the effects of climate change in the Marshall Islands. On a longer time scale, sea level rise is probably the biggest threat, he says. Simply because it has the potential to rise above the average elevation of the Marshall Islands. On a shorter timescale though, it’s the fundamental need for fresh water.
Seventy-four percent of the world’s population will be exposed to deadly heatwaves by 2100 if carbon gas emissions continue to rise at current rates, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change. Even if emissions are aggressively reduced, the percent of the world’s human population affected is expected to reach 48 percent.
“We are running out of choices for the future,” said Camilo Mora, associate professor of geography in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and lead author of the study. “For heatwaves, our options are now between bad or terrible.
March 4, 2017
What biracial people know
New York Times
“Social scientists find that homogeneous groups…can be less creative and insightful than diverse ones. They are more prone to groupthink and less likely to question faulty assumptions…Diversity — of one’s own makeup, one’s experience, of groups of people solving problems, of cities and nations — is linked to economic prosperity, greater scientific prowess and a fairer judicial process.
Consider this: By 3 months of age, biracial infants recognize faces more quickly than their monoracial peers, suggesting that their facial perception abilities are more developed. Kristin Pauker, a psychologist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and one of the researchers who performed this study, likens this flexibility to bilingualism. Early on, infants who hear only Japanese, say, will lose the ability to distinguish L’s from R’s. But if they also hear English, they’ll continue to hear the sounds as separate. So it is with recognizing faces, Dr. Pauker says. Kids naturally learn to recognize kin from non-kin, in-group from out-group. But because they’re exposed to more human variation, the in-group for multiracial children seems to be larger.”
December 29, 2016
The biggest digital map of the cosmos ever made
New York Times
For four years, “Pan-STARRS, short for Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, photographed the entire sky, as seen from Hawaii, 12 times in five colors of visible and infrared light. In December, the astronomers who operate Pan-Starrs released the first results from their survey. Their big data universe lists the positions, colors and brightness of three billion stars, galaxies and other objects. All this information, the universe in a box, now resides in the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (named for Barbara A. Mikulski, the retiring Maryland senator and space champion) at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore where any astronomer can get access to it.
After 365 days, the longest mission in project history, and amidst a throng of media from around the world, six crew members exited from their Mars simulation habitat on slopes of Mauna Loa on the Big Island. The crew lived in isolation in a geodesic dome set in a Mars-like environment at approximately 8,200 feet above sea level as part of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s fourth Hawaiʻi Space Eploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS, project.
June 2, 2016
Shark study helps explain higher incidence of encounters off Maui
Important research out of the University of Hawaiʻi is providing state leaders with critical information to better develop outreach and awareness efforts to minimize possibly dangerous encounters with tiger sharks. After a spike in shark bites off of Maui in 2012 and 2013, the State Department of Land and Natural Resources turned to the experts at the UH Mānoa Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). After years of work, HIMB shark researchers Carl Meyer and Kim Holland and a team of students completed an important study in 2016 revealing movement patterns of tiger sharks around Maui and Oʻahu.
Christopher Kelley, program biologist at the Hawai‘i Undersea Research Lab (HURL) and associate professor of Oceanography, was among the researchers who, in the summer of 2015, were surveying an ocean ridge in a marine conservation area off the shores of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and amid ordinary ocean floor fare — a bit of coral, some volcanic rock — and came across something surprising: they discovered what they say is the world’s largest known sponge.
Roughly the size of a minivan, the animal was discovered about 7,000 feet down in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The rare sponge, with a bluish-white color and brain-like appearance, stunned scientists when it appeared in the remote cameras attached to their underwater rover.
Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) director and coral expert Ruth Gates and her team are racing against time and climate change to breed corals that can withstand future ocean conditions and that can be used to restore and build resilience in our reefs. Part of that work involves figuring out why healthy brown corals thrive while those growing right next door turn white or bleach, a sign that signals stress. Said Gates, “Everybody is affected by it here in Hawaiʻi because the reef is intimately linked to our health and our economy.”
Gates has multi-million dollar support for her world-class research from a number of prominent sources. In August, a company formed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Vulcan announced a $4-million dollar investment into Gates’ and a collaborator’s research. Other support came earlier in the form of a powerful confocal microscope, funded by a million-dollar 2009 donation from philanthropist Pam Omidyar. This powerful tool provides new insights into corals and the marine microorganisms that interact with them. Healthy corals display vibrant, vivid colors. Stressed corals literally pale by comparison.
April 21, 2015
Is There an Antidote for Emotional Contagion?
New York Magazine
Emotional contagion is the idea that we really can and do “catch” emotions from the people around us Mostly, the research has focused on the cheerier, pro-social consequences of emotional contagion, because feeling what the people around us feel seems to increase empathy and understanding, thereby improving communication, according to work by the University of Hawaii’s Elaine Hatfield, considered one of the leaders in this field. But the contagion effect isn’t always a positive thing, particularly when the emotions you’re catching are negative.
Waste Handling Under the Sea
Pollution Engineering (cover story)
Using increasingly innovative technology, UH Mānoa has been helping the Army investigate munition disposal sites on the sea floor to study the effects of the discarded munitions on the sea and surrounding wildlife.
October 17, 2014:
Here’s what you need to know about the deep-sea gold rush
The Center for Investigative Reporting
UH Mānoa’s Craig Smith is quoted in a new analysis of the big questions facing the next gold rush–the rush to mine the seafloor. The authors note that deep-sea mining is extremely expensive and extremely difficult. But higher prices for metals and advances in oil and gas drilling are paving the way, and the first deep-sea mine could begin operations as soon as 2017. “This mining, when it occurs, is going to be just massive in scale,” Smith said. “It probably will have the largest footprint of any single human activity on the planet.”
September 25, 2014
Obama to create world’s largest protected marine reserve in Pacific Ocean
President Obama used his legal authority Thursday to create the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve in the central Pacific Ocean, demonstrating his increased willingness to advance a conservation agenda without the need for congressional approval. The move has not been universally popular, but it has been lauded by many conservation advocates. “If you put aside the emotion and put aside the rhetoric on both sides, less than 3 percent of the Pacific is in under effective protection,” University of Hawaii professor Robert H. Richmond said.
September 12, 2014
The Korean Eve
Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) Panorama
Center for Korean Studies faculty member Christopher J. Bae of the UH Mānoa Department of Anthropology appears prominently in a new Korean Broadcasting System documentary that aired in Korea September 11 and 12. The documentary, titled ‘The Korean Eve,’ deals with the seven-thousand-year archaeological history of the Korean peninsula. Bae and his students, filmed in Hawai’i, are featured in the first 10 minutes of the documentary (Bae’s interview at ~2:45 is in English).
Franz Josef Land – The Meaning of North
National Geographic Magazine
UH Mānoa’s Alan Friedlander is a fisheries ecologist participating in Enric Sala’s Pristine Seas journeys with the National Geographic Society. This article highlights an expedition in the high Russian Arctic, a place imperiled by climate change.
Hana Hou (the magazine of Hawaiian Airlines)
Hawai’i’s maker movement is part of a worldwide D.I.Y. revolution, and UH Manoa is part of the action. As Brian Chee, director of UH Mānoa’s Advanced Network Computing Laboratory, told Hana Hou, “Free exploration is central to the maker ethos, and it’s part of what makes our lab one of the best in the world.”
July 10, 2014
These Microbes Drive The Planet’s Breath And Ocean’s Pulse
National Geographic: Phenomena
Think of these microbes as a city full of people, of day-workers and night-workers, larks and owls. Each of them gets up, goes to work, and falls asleep at different times of the day. And yet, they’re all connected.
July 7, 2014
UH websites offer help with solar decisions
Those interested in getting solar panels for their homes could benefit from a new, interactive website that will provide an estimate of how much solar radiation reaches their rooftops. The solar radiation website, along with one on climate in Hawaii and another on evapotranspiration — the process of water going from the surface back into the atmosphere as water vapor — are part of the UH Mānoa Geography Department’s Evapotranspiration of Hawaii project. (subscription required)
July 1, 2014
Searching for History
The Military Engineer
UH Mānoa’s Margo Edwards writes about the HUMMA project, a multi-year program examining the impacts of past munitions disposal practices off the coast of Hawaii that will dramatically increase the knowledge base of what is happening at historic sea disposal sites across the globe.
June 28, 2014
Researchers Embark On Mission To Explore The Loihi Seamount, Hawaii’s Newest ‘Island’
Brian Glazer, lead researcher and associate professor of oceanography at UH Mānoa, said that the expedition will provide a “window to the ancient Earth,” so the trip will shed light on the growth processes of the planet we know today. Basically, the researchers will be going back in time.
June 27, 2014
Ancient Asteroid Destroyer Finally Found, And It’s a New Kind of Meteorite
A rare meteorite find has not only revitalized interest in a southern Sweden limestone quarry has also brought together the world’s top meteorite experts for a global hunt through geologic time. UH Mānoa’s Gary Huss says, “Something we didn’t really know about before was flying around and crashed into the L-chondrites.”
May 10, 2014
World is unprepared for major El Nino later this year
IPRC’s Axel Timmerman warns that the tropical climate system is primed for a big El Nino this year, even though forecasters are taking a conservative approach to the data. “One thing I hear over and over again is ‘we do not want to create a panic’,” Timmermann told New Scientist. There is a reason: forecasting a big El Niño would cause a spike in food prices. “But it may be better to have this reaction at an early stage, when farmers can still adapt, rather than later.”
May 5, 2014
University of Hawaii joins consortium to find ways to control nuclear arms
Pacific Business News
Milton Garces, associate researcher in the Hawaii Institute for Geophysics and Planetology, will lead the infrasound portion of a $25 million research and development program funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration.
April 24, 2014
Designer Reefs: Biologists are directing the evolution of corals to prepare them to fight climate change
Scientists are working to throw threatened reefs a lifeline–by launching a program of human-assisted evolution aimed at creating corals that are better adapted to the acidic, higher temperature oceans of the future. “It’s a brave new world of working with corals in this way,” says Ruth Gates, a marine biologist at UH Mānoa who, along with coral geneticist Madeleine van Oppen at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, is helping to pioneer the field. (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED). See also local KITV television news story on May 2 on this topic: “UH marine biologists creating designer coral reefs.”
April 7, 2014
Volcanic island eats another off Japan
Niijima island, a volcano which broke through the ocean’s surface off of Japan last November, has now merged with a nearby island that formed from a volcano which last erupted 40 years ago. Ken Rubin, UH Mānoa professor and expert in deep submarine volcanism, is watching closely.
April 4, 2014
Plane Search Shows World’s Oceans Are Full of Trash
UH Mānoa’s Nikolai Maximento, who has modeled debris drift from Japan’s Fukushima tsunami event, weighs in the Malaysian plane crash and the challenge in locating even large debris fields in the open ocean.
March 25, 2014
Papaikou Resident Finalist in Innovation Competition
Big Island Now
Graduate student John Burns wants to develop waterproof computer tablets to further the study and conservation of coral reef ecosystems in Hawai’i.
March 17, 2014
The Health and Environmental Dangers of Overpopulation
The Weather Channel
Public health problems, food and water scarcity, climate change: all serious global issues mitigated if there were just fewer of us, says Camilo Mora, Ph.D., assistant professor at UH Mānoa, who published a new review of population studies in the journal Ecology and Society.
February 18, 2014
Earth is prepared enough for next asteroid strike
From late 2015, the ATLAS telescope array in Hawaii will start searching for Chelyabinsk-sized rocks and bigger coming near Earth. The system should be able to find the smaller objects in time to give as much as a two-day warning of a possible collision, says project leader John Tonry at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.
Hawaii’s Bumpy Road For Hydrogen Cars Doesn’t Bode Well For The Technology
Honolulu Civil Beat, Huffington Post
Mitch Ewan, hydrogen systems program manager for the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, commented on the challenges related to bringing hydrogen cars to the islands. Fueling stations currently cost about $3 million each, he said, and it’s still expensive just to produce the hydrogen. “Here in Hawaii, we are slowly, slowly trying to progress the development of hydrogen infrastructure to support a potential roll out,” he said.
January 27, 2014
Solar Wind Creates Water in Star Dust, Implications for Life
Interplanetary dust known to possess more carbon-laden organic molecules than any other known class of meteoritic material. Such dust “may well have acted as a continuous rainfall of little reaction vessels containing both the water and organics needed for the eventual origin of life,” says Hope Ishii, new Associate Researcher in the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) at UH Mānoa and co-author of a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
December 30, 2013
Glow-in-the-dark pigs are part of radiant green menagerie
Los Angeles Times
Scientists from UH Mānoa’s Institute for Biogenesis Research have used a new technique to quadruple the success rate at which plasmids carrying a fluorescent protein from jellyfish DNA were transferred into the embryo of the pig. The resulting piglets now glow green under black lights. The green color simply indicates that the fluorescent genetic material injected into the pig embryos has been incorporated into the animal’s natural make-up. “It’s just a marker to show that we can take a gene that was not originally present in the animal and now exists in it,” explains Dr. Stefan Moisyadi, a veteran bioscientist with the IBR.
December 12, 2013
Finding I-400: How It Happened and Why That Matters
U.S. Naval Institute News
The discovery of I-400 was the result of the perseverance of Terry Kerby, Steve Price, and the team at the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL)—along with a small amount of funding from NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, and a convergence of opportunity, writes James Delgado.
December 12, 2013
Western Australia’s shark culls lack bite (and science)
Removing large numbers of sharks in the hope of keeping ocean users safe is nothing new in Australia, writes UH Mānoa shark expert Carl Meyer. But new shark control programs are controversial both because they are a new strategy for the Western Australia region and also because they will target Great White Sharks, currently protected as endangered species due to their naturally rare occurrence and low rate of reproduction which make them vulnerable to population collapse.
December 5, 2013
Scientists warn of permanent heatwave looming over the Pacific
UH Mānoa graduate student Ryan Longman is co-author of a report called “The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability,” and he says the results of the study are “shocking.” He and his fellow researchers are warning that the climate people are used to will be a thing of the past within a generation, but he says if the world takes the right action now, they could at least buy enough time to allow the human race to adapt.
November 22, 2013
High-tech Doppler radar comes to Hawaii
Hawaii News Now
[VIDEO] A high-tech doppler radar — a tool used to see where rain, hail and snow fall — has been brought to the islands. UH Mānoa’s Michael Bell and his meterology students join members of the National Weather Service to give Hawaii News Now a chance to see it in person.
November 20, 2013
Is Your Garden Good for Hawaii?
Helping people discover which plants are better versus not-so-good is one of the goals behind Ulu, a new sustainable garden project at the University of Hawaii’s Lyon Arboretum, located at the back of Mānoa valley amidst a tropical rainforest and screaming cockatiels. Bernice Fielding explains.
November 6, 2013
More Large Asteroid Strikes Are Likely, Scientists Find
New York Times
In new research, a team of scientists is suggesting that the Earth is vulnerable to asteroid strikes as often as every decade or two. With a $5 million grant from NASA, University of Hawai’i astronomers are setting up telescopes to scan the sky for quick-moving spots of light that could be oncoming asteroids.
October 21, 2013
Lava flows found to have formed most of islands’ mass
Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription required)
A recent study by researchers at SOEST and the University of Rhode Island (URI) changes the understanding of how the Hawaiian Islands formed, determining that it is the eruptions of lava on the surface called “extrusion” that grow Hawaiian volcanoes, rather than internal emplacement of magma, as was previously thought.
October 16, 2013
Unusual erosion eats away at Wakikiki Beach
Dolan Eversole of the Sea Grant College Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa was quoted in an article focusing on severe coastal erosion occurring in Waikiki and Sunset Beach. More information on this issue and a graph displaying the unusual high tides are available on the Sea Grant website: http://seagrant.soest.hawaii.edu/unusually-high-tides-may-be-contributing-seasonal-coastal-erosion-hawaii
October 10, 2013
Coral significantly impacted one month after molasses spill
Hawaii News Now
[VIDEO] One month after 233,000 gallons of molasses spilled into Honolulu Harbor, researchers have learned a little more about its impact on the coral and underwater ecosystem, but studies are ongoing to determine the full scope of damage. Bob Richmond, a research professor at the UH Mānoa’s Kewalo Marine Lab, says samples indicate the water quality of the harbor has returned to its pre-spill environment, but he cautions that coral health and resurgence are critically dependent on conditions of the ocean floor as well.
October 7, 2013
Hawaii’s top papaya variety takes center stage in GM debate
University of Hawai’i researcher Richard Manshardt explains how the genetically modified Rainbow variety of papaya came to prominence and took over the once struggling Hawaiian industry. Manshardt worked on the development of the variety at a time when Kapoho Solo papaya production in Hawaii teetered on the verge of collapse as a result of the ringspot virus.
September 24, 2013
‘Disaster University’ studies way to minimize death and destruction in Asia-Pacific
Academics from the Asia-Pacific region have developed a project dubbed Disaster University, a global forum to share aspects of disaster preparation and management, from meteorology to urban planning to economics. “Generally speaking, hazards don’t kill people — it’s the building that collapses on them,” says Karl Kim, executive director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawai’i. In the first phase of the USAID-funded initiative, faculty from several Indonesian universities took classes at the University of Hawaii in areas like humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery.
September 9, 2013
E-cigarettes raise new questions about smoking
Though e-cigarette makers do not make safety or health claims, many users assume that eliminating the smoke of burning tobacco also eliminates the harm. That may not be true. For now, researchers are trying to get a handle on the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes. “It’s a new product, and there’s still a lot we don’t know,” says Pallav Pokhrel, a public health scientist at the University of Hawai’i Cancer Center.
September 5, 2013
New UH study tracks the migration of female tiger sharks
[VIDEO] Marine biologists have known for years that tiger sharks give birth in Hawaiian waters during late summer and fall months. Groundbreaking research tracking the movement of female tiger sharks from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to Hawaii is providing new information. “What our data suggest is approximately one-third of the mature females from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are participating in this migration each fall,” Dr. Carl Meyer of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology. Meyer says while the population of tiger sharks is unknown, this new information can help better interpret events that we see in Hawaiian waters including the recent shark bites.
Hawaii Space Exploration: UH Students Reach for the Sky
Once UH students fling there Hiaka Satellite into space, this place might never be the same, according to Honolulu Magazine. Its August 2013 update on the Hawai’i Space Flight Laboratory’s efforts to initiate Hawaii’s first space launch includes remarks from HSFL Director Luke Flynn, who says it’s not a complicated rocket. “It’s a simple system. It’s easy in terms of guidance. It keeps costs low to develop these things and to launch them into space. And previous versions of the rocket are very reliable.”
August 11, 2013
Not all genetically modified foods are the same, and a blanket ban on them would be misguided
Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription required) and Big Island Video News
In this editorial opinion, Maria Gallo, dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, and director of research and the cooperative extension service at UH Mānoa weighs in on GMOs, stating that the technique of genetic modification itself is not harmful, and that the focus should be on the safety of a given genetically modified organism and its use.
July 17, 2013
Aquarium Celebrates 110 Years
Written by Aquarium Director Andrew Rossiter, this Business Roundtable piece highlights the Aquarium’s storied history and firsts. “Furthermore, the University of Hawaii projects that take place at the aquarium are a great example of how exhibits in public aquaria can aid research and provide otherwise inaccessible data, and also familiarize the public with research being done at the university,” Rossiter says.
June / July 2013
Hawaii, we have liftoff
The Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory has already generated a raft of technology that could have a major effect on space research, like software that will make it easier to manage space operations. But it’s the launch capability that puts UH into an elite club. There aren’t many organizations that can put spacecraft into orbit, especially the low-budget, experimental satellites that universities are building. Includes an interview remarks from HSFL director Luke Flynn.
June 24, 2013
Planting for Hawaii’s Future, One Test Tube at a Time
Hawaii Public Radio
Hawai‘i is home to over 12,000 native plant species, with 90% found nowhere else in the world. Hundreds of these plants are endangered and teeter on the brink of extinction. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports on a Lyon Arboretum science lab at the center of a conservation effort that’s working to save some of Hawai’i’s rarest native plants.
June 21, 2013
Canadian quake refines Pacific tsunami riskNature
A study of the magnitude-7.7 earthquake that shook the northern coast of British Columbia, Canada, last October has solved a longstanding argument about the region’s geology. The finding suggests that even Pacific islands as far away as Hawaii might need to worry about tsunamis originating from this part of the Canadian coast. UH Mānoa’s Keith D. Koper is one of the study’s authors.
June 18, 2013
Quark quartet opens fresh vista on matter
Physicists have resurrected a particle that may have existed in the first hot moments after the Big Bang. The new particle has also been vouched for by a second experiment, the Beijing Spectrometer III (BESIII) at the Beijing Electron Positron Collider. “This gives credence to all of the other particles that Belle has seen,” says Fred Harris, a particle physicist at UH Mānoa and a spokesman for BESIII.
June 13, 2013
New Video Map Shows Large-Scale Cosmic Structure out to 300 million Light Years
Researchers with the Cosmic Flows project have been working to map both visible and dark matter densities around our Milky Way galaxy up to a distance of 300 million light-years, and they’ve now released this new video map which shows the motions of structures of the nearby Universe in greater detail than ever before. “The complexity of what we are seeing is almost overwhelming,” says researcher Hélène Courtois, associate professor at the University of Lyon, France, and associate researcher at the Institute for Astronomy, UH Mānoa. Courtois narrates the video.
June 3, 2013
Hawaii gets more muggy as trade winds drop, but scientists don’t know what’s causing change
Washington Post (AP article)
Part of what makes living in Hawaii so pleasant is the gentle breeze. Arriving from the northeast, it’s light enough that it is barely noticeable but strong enough to chase away the humidity. It’s a natural draw to the outdoors. It is not uncommon to show up at a house to find its residents relaxing out in the covered porch or in the car port, not their living room, and enjoying the cooling winds — and a cool drink. Nowadays, experts say, these breezes, called trade winds, are declining, a drop that’s slowly changing life across the islands. “People always try to ask me: ‘Is this caused by global warming?’ But I have no idea,” said UH Mānoa meteorologist Pao-shin Chu, who began to wonder a few years ago about the winds becoming less steady and more intermittent.
Sea Level Could Rise Five Feet in New York City by 2100
Since North American glaciers began retreating 20,000 years ago, the crust from New York City to North Carolina has been sinking, as the larger continent continues to adjust to the unloading. The land will continue to subside by one to 1.5 millimeters (0.04 to 0.06 inch) a year, according to S. Jeffress Williams, a coastal marine geologist with the USGS and UH Mānoa.
May 30, 2013
Possible ‘Comet of the Century’ Blazes Up in New Photos
Comet ISON is streaking toward a dramatic rendezvous with the sun on Nov. 28, when the comet is set to skim just 800,000 miles (1.3 million km) above the solar surface. If the comet doesn’t break apart or fizzle out beforehand, it could put on a spectacular show around this time, scientists say, perhaps blazing as brightly as the full moon. Karen Meech of UH Mānoa’s Institute for Astronomy says, “It is just now getting close enough to the sun where water will erupt from the nucleus, revealing ISON’s inner secrets.”
May 24, 2013
Aloha, Mars! What We’ll Eat, Wear and Play with to Ease Boredom in Space
COSMIC LOG on nbcnews.com
One month into a simulated space mission, a team of “gastronauts” in Hawaii is already figuring out what to have for dinner on Mars. It’s thumbs up for wraps and vegetables, even when the vegetables are dehydrated or freeze-dried. It’s thumbs down for pre-prepared meat dishes and most sugary drinks. But Tang is a hit, just as it was for astronauts 50 years ago. Read more about the food study led by researchers at Cornell University and UH Mānoa.
May 23, 2013
NASA Reveals First Topographical Map of Saturn’s Moon, Titan
Science World Report
Orbiting Saturn is the massive moon, Titan. Now, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has peered through the thick orange clouds surrounding the moon in order to help create the first full topographical map of its surface using radar measurements. Check out the image courtesy of Emily Schaller, Insitute for Astronomy, UH Mānoa.
May 21, 2013
Waikiki shoreline holds up against pounding surf
(VIDEO) It’s being called an epic southern storm and it’s generating some of the best surf seen on Oahu’s south shore in 30 years. UH Mānoa’s Chip Fletcher and the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System — a federally funded network of ocean monitoring locations across the country — is keeping a close watch on the sands of Waikiki Beach, monitoring for erosion.
May 21, 2013
Abundance and distribution of Hawaiian coral species predicted by model
Researchers from the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) developed species distribution models of the six dominant Hawaiian coral species around the main Hawaiian Islands including two species currently under consideration as threatened or endangered.
May 5, 2013
Hopeful new signs of duplicate earths
Andrew Howard of UH Mānoa’s Institute for Astronomy has a new paper in the journal Science that highlights an entirely new class of planets, midway in size between Earth and Neptune, that nobody had predicted — and which turn out to be incredibly common in the Milky Way. “For me,” says Howard, “it’s kind of amazing that we keep expecting to find planetary systems like our own, and they keep turning out to be different.”
VIDEO: “How to Hunt for New Earths” – TIME video features IfA astronomer Nader Haghighipour and the W. M. Keck Observatory (5:05)
May 3, 2013
VIDEO: UH microbiologists search for clues to coral die-off
UH Mānoa professor Sean Callahan and graduate student Christina Runyon are part of a multi-agency team that is investigating a mysterious die-off of coral along Kauai’s north coast discovered by a resident last summer.
April 29, 2013
ORS Office teams with University of Hawaii on small sat launch
Officials with UH Mānoa’s Hawai’i Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL) hope a new launcher, set to debut in October 2013, will help jump-start a Hawaiian space industry while providing a low-cost launch option for small satellites, including cubesats, which are becoming increasingly popular with universities and government agencies.
April 26, 2013
A space aloha: Hawaii gears up for first satellite launch
For the state of Hawai’i’s first space launch, UH Mānoa’s Hawai’i Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL) is the contractor for the launch facility, the satellite booster’s three stages, and the spacecraft itself.
April 24, 2013
Where do Hawai’i’s great white sharks come from?
UH Mānoa researcher Kevin Wang outlines the results of his recent study, which determined that great white sharks spotted around the Hawaiian islands are likely migrants from populations centered off of California and Mexico. There is no evidence of year-round or breeding populations in Hawaiian waters.
April 24, 2013
Climate study projects less rain in Hawai’i
Summit County Citizens Voice
Almost imperceptibly, rainfall over the Hawaiian islands has been declining since 1978, and this trend is likely to continue with global warming through the end of this century. Researcher Oliver Elison Timm of UH Mānoa and the International Pacific Research Center explains.
April 18, 2013
Correspondent’s Diary: Life on Mars
The principal purpose of the Hawaii Space Exploration and Analog Simulation (HI-SEAS) mission is to learn how best to feed six astronauts in order to keep their spirits and productivity for 120 days. It is financed by NASA and led by Jean Hunter of Cornell University and Kim Binsted of UH Mānoa. Read along with Economist correspondent Kate Greene, one of the researchers inside the model habitat.
April 17, 2013
University of Hawaii cancer warriors
“Four ways the new UH Cancer Center is going to make a difference”
More than 100 ongoing research projects are moving in to the new UH Cancer Center, which opened its doors in February 2013. This article highlights four of the most promising projects — including research focused on tracing cancer to metabolism; the genetic links to mesothelioma; breast cancer’s ethnic link; and smoking intervention.
April 2, 2013
Detectors zero in on Earth’s heat
Nature – News
UH Mānoa neutrino physicist John Learned describes Hanohano, the proposed Hawaii Anti-Neutrino Observatory, which aims to detect mantle geoneutrinos from the ocean floor, where the crust is thinner than on land.