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Tag Archives: College of Natural Sciences

Exploring biofilms and the search for life on Mars

Green and purple biofilms hang from the walls of lava caves near Kīlauea caldera on Hawaiʻi Island. These, and other biofilms, may be similar to microbial life on early Earth and possibly an early Mars environment.

Rebecca Prescott, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoamicrobiology student who recently received her PhD, has won a prestigious National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship award for her project, “Survival in extreme environments through cooperation: biofilms and looking for life on Mars,” under the program Broadening Participation of Groups Underrepresented in Biology. “We are interested in how cooperative behavior, through chemical communication in bacteria, may help microbes survive …

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Microbiome transplants provide disease resistance in critically-endangered Hawaiian plant

P. kaalaensis outplanted in the wild. Photo credit: Vincent Costello

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 University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa botany department and the Oʻahu Army Natural Resources Program (OANRP). 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 …

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Biology assistant professor awarded grant to study the evolution of visual systems

Porter and her lab collecting animals in the field.

Megan Porter, biology assistant professor at the University of Hawaiʻiat Mānoa, is among 30 recipients to receive an Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant provides non-tenured researchers with fellowships, partnering them with premier research centers and enhancing their ability to work at the frontiers of science and engineering. Porter’s project is titled Enhancing Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies …

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Ecuadorians disproportionately select non-native plants for medicinal use

Frailejón plants in Ecuador

Plant medicine is practiced widely across the world, however, there is concern that introduced plants could be replacing the use of native plants for medicine in various regions. It is critical to understand the potential influence of introduced plant use on native plant treatments. With hundreds of thousands of native plant treatments used by indigenous peoples worldwide that have yet …

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UH contributes to the study of the evolution of multi-cellularity in animals

microscopic image of Chromosphaera perkinsii NK52, a new microbial eukaryote genus and species cultivated from Hawaiʻi

Scientists have long wondered how single-celled organisms evolved into the multicellular animals we see today, but addressing this has only recently become possible by comparing complete genome sequences of diverse organisms. A study that included newly discovered and known species from Hawaiʻi has provided insights into the evolution of multi-cellularity in animals. Recently published research from an international team that included Associate …

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Hundreds of species of fungi in deep coral ecosystems discovered by UH Mānoa botanists

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Botany have discovered hundreds of potentially new species of fungi in the deep coral ecosystem in the ʻAuʻau channel off Maui, Hawaiʻi. Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCE) are generally found at depths between 130–500 feet and possess abundant plant (algal) life as well as new fish species. The mysteries of these reefs are only recently being revealed through technological advances …

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Giant sea spiders use their legs as gills and their guts as hearts

Sea spiders, a bizarre and ancient group of marine arthropods in the class Pycnogonida, 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. The study, published in the July 10 issue of Current Biology, was performed at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, while Moran and her team were there in the fall …

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Ralf Kaiser named American Chemical Society fellow

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Physical Chemist Ralf I. Kaiser has been elected to the 2017 class of Fellows of the American Chemical Society (ACS) for his outstanding contributions to science and the profession, and for his equally exemplary service to ACS. Kaiser is one of 65 members who will be inducted at the ACS National Meeting on August 21 …

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Microbiology undergraduates supported with UROP awards

Seven University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa students in the Prisic lab are recipients of Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) awards. Jaymes Lonzanida, Jae Yun Lee, Brennen Yasuda, Sasha Canovali, Anna Scheiner, Janey Guo and Mattia Walter received support for their work with Sladjana Prisic, a Department of Microbiology assistant professor. “My research experience in Dr. Prisic’s lab was overall very rewarding,” …

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Alice Ball scholarship honors pioneering chemist in fight against Hansen’s disease

The University of Hawaiʻi honors the remarkable achievements of Alice Ball, the university’s first African American chemist, instructor and researcher as well as the first woman to earn a master’s degree from UH (then known as Hawaiʻi College) in 1915. The Alice Augusta Ball endowed scholarship provides support to full- or part-time UH Mānoa students in the College of Natural …

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