School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

SOEST in the News: 2007 Archive

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Marine bio rotating images.

2007: SOEST ocean programs rank among top 10 in nation

A listing of graduate programs based on faculty productivity ranks the marine biology and biological oceanography and physical oceanography programs at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa as among the top 10 in the nation. “In both those areas we have some of the best faculty in the nation. So I’m not surprised,” said Brian Taylor, dean of SOEST.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Photos, courtesy of many people and groups, are taken from our 2006 News Archive.

Photo of new scorpion fish.

Dec 23: New scorpion fish species found off Maui

Diving in one of the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory’s Pisces submersibles, researchers have discovered a new species of scorpion fish in waters off the Hawaiian island of Maui at depths of about 165 to 330 feet. “Finding a new species of fish in Hawaii is very unusual, especially one that’s this large and fairly conspicuous,” said self-proclaimed “fish nerd” Dr. Richard Pyle. “We weren’t expecting to find this.”

Read more about the fish, and see the video, at KHNL online and KGMB online; read more about the project in the Kauai Garden Island News. Image courtesy of KHNL.

Photo of yellowfin tuna by William Boyce, boyceimage.com

Dec 21: Climate change affects top predators in ocean ecosystems

John Sibert, manager of the Pelagic Fisheries Research Program (PFRP) helped organize the first Climate Impacts on Oceanic Top Predators (CLIOTOP) Symposium, which was held from 3-7 December 2007 at La Paz, Mexico. The symposium marks the start of the 10-year project to investigate the impact of climate change on top predators in the world’s oceans, such as tuna, billfish, sharks, whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions, sea turtles, and sea birds. PFRP also sponsored student participation.

Read more about it on the KHNL News 8 web site, in the online news service E-Wire, and the Saipan Tribune. Image courtesy of William Boyce at boyceimage.com.

Photo of Barry Raleigh

Dec 13: SOEST researchers work to grow algae for biofuel

HR BioPetroleum Inc., a Hawai‘i-based research firm headed by former SOEST dean and current Hawaii Natural Energy Institute researcher Barry Raleigh, and oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC are forming a joint venture with the ambitious goal of developing an alternative to petroleum-based fuels by growing algae on Hawai‘i Island and converting it into a biofuel. Other SOEST researchers involved in the company include Mark Huntley, Bob Bidigare, Zachary Johnson, and Charles O'Kelly.

Read more about it in Honolulu Advertiser and the Pacific Business News . Image courtesy of Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Photo of cauldron sponge.

Dec 11: New coral and sponge species found in NW Hawaiian reserve

Researchers have discovered what they believe are a new deep-water coral and sponge several thousand feet below the ocean surface, officials said yesterday. The lemon-yellow bamboo coral tree and a giant sponge were discovered last month in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) by the Pisces V submersible operated by the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Image courtesy of PMNM via Associated Press; click on it to see the full image.

Photo of Manoa Ecohouse.

Dec 10: Embracing green in Hawai‘i homes

Stephen Meder, Director of the UH Sea Grant Center for Smart Building and Community Design, comments on the importance of building climate-sensitive, energy-efficient buildings and announces the screening of the new short film “Site Specific: The Legacy of Regional Modernism.”

Read more about it in the Honolulu Advertiser. Image courtesy of Honolulu Advertiser.

Graphic showing structure of Nankai Trough.

Dec 03: “Ultrasound” of seafloor reveals structure of “tsunami factory”

Geology & Geophysics professor Gregory Moore and geoscientists from the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the University of Texas at Austin collected 3-D seismic data revealing the structure of a region of the Pacific seafloor off Japan that has generated devastating tsunami. The results, published in the journal Science, address a long standing mystery as to why not all seafloor earthquakes trigger tsunami.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the UH News online, and download the SOEST press release (PDF). Image courtesy of Greg Moore; click on it to see the full image.

Photo of Sheraton Waikiki and Diamond Head crater by Deborah Booker.

Nov 21: Hawai‘i hotel wants to fix its beach frontage

A Waikiki hotel is seeking to restore a sandy stretch of beach fronting its property and inhibit erosion with three T-shaped, 160-foot-long groins in the water. Discussing the controversial plan, University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant Program coastal geologist Dolan Eversole noted that the difficult part of the erosion issue is that combating the problem requires a maintenance schedule and a plan on how to deal with the long-term causes, which the state does not currently have.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Advertiser. Image courtesy of Deborah Booker, Honolulu Advertiser.

Photo of Pisces V.

Nov 17: SOEST to lead survey of military ocean dump site

Senior Research Scientist Roy Wilkens of the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) is the chief scientist for a $2 million survey project using sonar, manned submersibles, and an unmanned remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to survey chemical weapons dumped south of Pearl Harbor following World War II.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Advertiser. Image courtesy of Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory.

Photo of Michael Antal

Nov 16: HNEI professor turns green waste into charcoal

Hawaii Natural Energy Institute professor Michael J. Antal Jr. has become well known for his Flash Carbonization™ process that turns green waste into charcoal, and even more so since it earned him a licensing deal with Kingsford Products Co. Antal describes his charcoal-producing apparatus as a rocket engine without a vent.

Read more about it in Hawaii Business. Image courtesy of HNEI / SOEST.

Photo of volcano at night

Nov 05: Helium in ocean-island volcanoes

A study co-authored by SOEST Young Investigator Helge Gonnermann found that helium in lavas from ocean islands, such as Hawai‘i, may be derived from a part of the Earth’s mantle that has retained most of the gases originally incorporated into the Earth during its accretion, 4.5 billion years ago. The study was published in Nature.

Read more about it in the News@UH. Image courtesy of Nathan Becker.

Photo of Milton Garces in a lava tube.

Nov 04: Learning about the Earth from “inaudible whispers”

Though we might not be aware of them, the sounds we are unable to hear can tell us a lot about the world around us. Geophysicist Milton Garces from the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and director of the Infrasound Laboratory, for instance, uses special instruments to track sounds in the realm of 0.01 Hz to 10 Hz—what is referred to as infrasound—to study the behavior of volcanoes.

Read more about it and watch the video feature on the PBS Wired web site. Image courtesy of PBS Wired.

Photo of coral.

Oct 25: New project to study deep-sea coral in Hawai‘i’s waters

Hawai‘i-based scientists will use a $1.4 million federal grant to study deep-water corals over the next three years. The grant will go to a team of researchers from the Bishop Museum, the UH departments of plant biology and geology, the state Division of Aquatic Resources and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. Submersibles from the HawaiHawai‘ii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) will be used to explore the deep coral reefs.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star Bulletin and the UH press release. Image courtesy of HURL / R. Grigg and S. Kahng.

Photo of shark tagging.

Oct 23: Scientists track shark behavior in Palmyra Atoll

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) graduate research assistant Yannis Papastamatiou, a current Sea Grant -funded graduate trainee, is part of a team of scientists tagging sharks in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to track their movements and determine how they are coping with increased water temperatures.

Read more about the cruise on the NPR News web site. Image courtesy of Tommy Adkins; click on it to see the full image.

SOEST 2007 Open House icon.

Oct 22: 2007 SOEST Open House a great success

Thank you to all of the SOEST faculty, staff, students and volunteers who helped make the 2007 SOEST Open House a great learning (and fun!) experience for all who attended. We estimate to have hosted about 4500 students, teachers, families on Friday, and an additional 1500 families and students on Saturday.

Read about what the papers had to say about the Open House in the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star Bulletin.

Still image from video conference with Brian Popp.

Oct 21: Video-teleconference with an undersea lab fascinates isle students

“That’s so cool!” a student exclaimed when scientist Brian Popp appeared on the video in the Aquarius, the world’s only underwater habitat. The Geology & Geophysics professor and five other scientists and technicians entered the Aquarius on Oct. 14 for 10 days of research on marine sponges. The habitat is operated about four miles off the Florida coast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Undersea Research Center. The conference was a unique addition to SOEST’s biennial open house.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Image courtesy of Honolulu Star-Bulletin; click on it to see the full version and caption in a new window.

Graphic showing earthquake shocks.

Oct 16: Study shows quake was rarity

Scientists study the two different fault mechanisms of the 6.7 magnitude Kiholo Bay earthquake and the 6.0 aftershock that shook the Hawaiian Islands last October. Hawaii Institute for Geophysics and Planetology Associate Professor Cecily Wolfe is using high-precision methods to try to get better locations of the October 15, 2006, aftershocks and to figure out what caused them.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Image courtesy of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin; click on it to see the full version.

Graphic showing extra-solar planet detection.

Oct 15: Looking to the horizon of future planet searches

In a paper published in the journal Science, Geology & Geophysics associate professor Eric Gaidos, postdoc Nader Haghighipour, astronomer John Rayner and their colleagues reviewed the prospects for discovering smaller planets more like Earth, some of which may even have conditions suitable for life. Astronomers reported the first planet around another Sun-like star in 1995 and since then have found more than 200 such planets, all thought to be “gas giants” like Jupiter and Saturn, made mostly of hydrogen and helium.

Read more about the UH News site and in the UH press release, and in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Image courtesy of the Institute for Astronomy; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of sample collection.

Oct 09: “Underwater Volcanoes” cruise maps Hawai‘i sea floor

A recently completed 28-day marine expedition, led by Garrett Apuzen-Ito and Mike Garcia, to map the Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau submarine volcanic fields could eventually rewrite the story of the Hawaiian islands. Multibeam bathymetry and acoustic imagery, rock samples, and sea floor photos reveal much more volcanic activity than had been previously suspected.

Read more about the cruise in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin here (10-09-07) and here (09-22-07), and more specifically about Waimea Canyon Middle School teacher Linda Sciaroni’s experience in the Kaua‘i Garden Island News. Image of sample collection taken on 09-18-7 and is courtesy of SOEST. Click on it to see the full version; read about it here.

Photo of Johanna Resig.

Oct 03: Johanna Martha Resig • 1932–2007

World-renowned Geology and Geophysics Professor Emeritus Johanna Martha Resig, called a role model for women in science, died September 19 at Hospice Hawaii. She was 75. Born in Los Angeles, Resig was an expert in micropaleontology, studying microfossils in ocean bottom sediments. She was a dedicated teacher and mentor, and was an author of more than 50 articles in scientific books, journals and academic papers. She also supported the arts and volunteered as a tutor reading to elementary school children. Continued….

Photo of mountains in Antarctica.

Oct 02: Sunlight: Terminator of Ice Age in Southern Hemisphere

Greater heating from the sun during Antarctic spring very likely triggered the end to the last ice age in the Southern Hemisphere according to a new study published in Science. The study, co-authored by Axel Timmermann, Associate Professor at the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) and the Department of Oceanography, changes current thinking on how the last ice age ended.

Read more about it in Science’s online abstract and Science Daily, and download the IPRC press release (PDF). Image courtesy of IPRC.

Photo of Earth.

Sep 30: Carbon dioxide levels could present risk to ocean life by 2050

Richard Zeebe, Assistant Professor of Oceanography, is one of the authors in a Geophysical Research Letters commentary that states that, if human-induced carbon dioxide emissions are not dramatically curtailed now, they will alter ocean chemistry to the point where it will violate U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Quality Criteria in less than 45 years, presenting “significant risks” to plankton and coral populations and endangering worldwide food webs.

Read more about it in ScienceDaily (with full author list), Wired Science (with link to draft report PDF) and Raising Islands. Image courtesy of NASA.

Photo of signage being installed.

Sep 27: UH Sea Grant helping to protect Kahaluu Bay

Sara Peck, Coastal Resource Extension Agent in West Hawaii, is collaborating with other groups (including UH Sea Grant) to transform the pavilion at Kahaluu Beach Park into an education center; the article highlights new interpretive signage that was recently installed. Richard Duggan, who created the signage used in the Hanauma Bay education center, designed the Kahaluu panels.

Read more about it in West Hawaii Today (requires registration for a username and password). Photo By Michael Darden, West Hawaii Today.

Photo of Waimea wave by Steven Businger.

Sep 24: Carbon dioxide levels could present risk to ocean life by 2050

Fred Mackenzie, professor emeritus of sedimentary and global geochemistry, participated in a study led by Scott Doney of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that looked at the role of nitrogen and acid rain as ocean water pollutants. They found the release of sulfur and nitrogen into the atmosphere by power plants and other human activity has a minor role in making the ocean more acidic globally, but that the impact is greatly intensified in shallower waters of the coastal ocean.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Image courtesy of Steven Businger.

Photo of Chip Flether with yard stick.

Sep 23: Sea level projected to rise one meter in 100 years

Marine geology professor Chip Fletcher, chair of the Department of Geology and Geophysics and leader of the Coastal Geology Group, weighs in on the global climate change discussion and projections that show the ocean water level will rise about one meter in the next 100 years, dramatically reshaping Hawai‘i’s coastlines.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Image courtesy of Dennis Oda, Honolulu Star-Bulletin (click to see the full version).

Photo of onshore lightning strike by Dr Steven Businger.

Sep 10: New lightning sensors warn of hurricane’s power from far away

A recent study by Meteorology researchers Steven Businger and Kirt Squires introduces a new way of detecting lightning outbreaks within a hurricane over the ocean in real time from thousands of miles away, giving forecasters new insight into just how powerful an oncoming storm may be. As a result, researchers can investigate with greater accuracy whether the rate of lightning strikes produced within a hurricane’s eyewall is tied to the changing strength of that hurricane.

Read more about it at NASA News, Science Daily, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, and ZDNet, and download the SOEST press release (PDF). Image courtesy of Steven Businger.

Photo of Boris the dolphin by Gregg K. Kakesako, Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Sep 10: Human-made noise is too much for marine mammals?

How marine mammals’ brain waves respond to sound is the focus of research currently underway at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), and are part of efforts to determine whether Navy sonar is harmful to marine mammals. At right, Boris, a 20-year-old bottlenose dolphin, “sits” quietly in his pen during a hearing text. The white suction cups gently hold electrodes to his skin, allowing scientists to record brain wave patterns and measure what he hears (click on the image to see the full version.)

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the KHNL News page (includes video). Image courtesy of Gregg K. Kakesako, Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Photo of lunar eclipse by Joe Ciotti

Sep 09: Observations on total lunar eclipse seen from Hawai‘i

Jeffrey Gillis-Davis (HIGP) on the recent lunar eclipse visible from Hawai‘i: “For anyone who didn’t see the eclipse Monday night, here is a picture a friend of mine took. It’s a series of three images taken from Ala Moana beach park [central image shown at right; click on it to see the whole image]. You can comprehend the Earth’s circular shadow by tracing out the curvature around the two outer images of the partially eclipse moon. The totally red eclipsed moon sits in the middle of that shadow. Well over 2,000 years ago, the ancients, like Aristotle, used this observation to prove the earth was round. Gosh, they were smart back then!“

Image courtesy of Joe Ciotti, professor of astronomy and director of the planetarium at Windward Community College (click to see the full version).

Photo of tsunami computer model.

Aug 25: ORE researcher may have better way to predict tsunami size

Ocean and Resources Engineering (ORE) professor Kwok Fai Cheung has created a new tsunami forecasting method that may help in disaster preparedness for the Hawaiian Islands. He says using measurements from tide gauges near an earthquake site — along with deep-ocean buoys — will better predict the size of a tsunami.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Ka Leo, the UH Mānoa campus newspaper. Image, showing computer model of a tsunami generated by an Alaska earthquake reaching Hawaii, courtesy of ORE. Click on it to see the full version.

Photo of HECO check presentation.

Aug 24: HECO supports work of UH Mānoa Climate Change Commission

UH Mānoa chancellor Virginia Hinshaw (left) and Climate Commission chair Lorenz Magaard (second from left) receive a check for $25,0 00 from Mike May (right), president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Company. “Global climate change is one of the most important issues facing our state and our world today. We have the good fortune to have some of the leading experts on climate change already on the faculty here at the University of Hawai‘i,” May said. Denise Konan (center), a professor of economics, established the commission while interim UH Mānoa chancellor. Magaard, a professor of oceanography, also serves as director of the International Center for Climate and Society (ICCS) and executive associate director of the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC).

Read more about it at the UH News site or in the UH Foundation Press Release (PDF) and in Ka Leo, the UH Mānoa campus newspaper. Image courtesy of UH Foundation (click on it to see the full version).

Photo of deep-sea black coral.

Aug 22: Black coral — Hawai‘i’s gemstone — harvested sustainably

Oceanography researcher Richard Grigg comments on the lack of impact that the harvesting of black coral for jeweler has on the black coral populations in Hawai‘i, and tells how Hawai‘i does not face the same overharvesting problems as seen in the Mediterranean and elsewhere around the world.

Read more about it in the USA Today and CNN online editions. Image courtesy of HURL.

Photo of Bob Bidigare.

Aug 18: Bidigare awarded Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research

Robert Bidigare has been awarded a 2007 UH Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research. A professor of oceanography, his research concerns bio-optics, pigments, the foundation of the marine food web and the effects of UVB radiation. He has won best paper awards from the Geochemical Society and the Japanese Phycological Society. Bidigare is also a member of SOEST’s Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE), and Center for Marine Microbial Ecology & Diversity (CMMED). Congratulations, Bob!

Read more about it in the UH News page. Image courtesy of UH.

Photo of TechTalk studio.

Aug 15: The Science of Global Climate Change discussion

International Pacific Research Center researchers Kevin Hamilton, Shang-Ping Xie, and H. Annamalai talk with host Jay Fidell (2nd from right) on the Hawaii Public Radio “ThinkTech” show about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and what the findings mean for climate globally and for Hawai‘i.

Listen to the mp3. See the IPRC News page for more climate research news, and the ”Kudos” section of the News@UH page. Image courtesy of IPRC (click for larger version).

Photo of deep-sea bait station.

Aug 10: Diversity lives deep at sea monument

When researchers lowered a camera two miles deep into the waters of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, they weren't sure what they’d see. “It’s an amazingly diverse community,” said Jeff Drazen, the assistant oceanography professor in charge of the camera deployed from the NOAA research ship Hi‘ialakai.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (including a video about the process). Image courtesy of NOAA (click on it to see the full version).

Photo of humpback whale being tagged.

Aug 08: Tracking and recording humpbacks whales by satellite

Alison Stimpert of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) Marine Mammal Program and her colleagues put sucker-devices onto nine Atlantic humpback whales that allowed them to record the whales’ vocalizations — including unusual ”megapclicks“ clicks that sound more like the sounds created by toothed whales, and which may be used in finding prey — as they track their movement by satellite.

Read more about it at the NOAA Magazine, New Scientist Environment Blog (which also has links to sound files), Science Daily, and Cape Cod Online. Image courtesy of NOAA (click for very high-res version).

Photo of wave by Stephen Businger.

Aug 06: SOEST mounts ocean-forecasting project

Islanders wanting to know what is happening in the ocean — from sewage leaks to sailing and shipping conditions — will be able to find that information on the Internet within a few years. An ocean observing and forecasting system similar to a weather forecasting service or the new Hawaii Beach Safety site is the goal of a three-year, $7.2 million federal grant to SOEST. Dean Brian Taylor pointed out that, “It’s meant to be hands-on … products that are practical and relate to school kids and [the public.]”

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Image courtesy of Steven Businger.

Photo of great white shark.

Aug 06: Great white shark mating grounds in North Pacific?

Researchers have discovered a remote spot in the eastern North Pacific that great whites may be using as a mating ground, according to a recent paper in the journal Marine Biology. “It’s just not an area that a shark would logically go to from California to find something to eat,” said SOEST Young Investigator Kevin Weng, who conducted the study at Stanford University with project leader Barbara Block.

Read more about it in the Discovery Channel web site and DailyIndia.com. Image courtesy of Getty Images (via Discovery Channel).

Photo of Milton Garces.

Aug 02: Garces quoted in Discover article on infrasound detection

Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Associate Researcher Milton Garces is quoted in the August issue of Discover magazine, discussing the potential use of infrasound detection in predicting volcanic events. Certain low-frequency activity may signal that a volcano is likely to spout an ash cloud of jagged volcanic sand that can reach as high as 30,000 feet. An early warning would be tremendously useful because pilots could divert their flights around the threat.

Read more about it in the Discover (Garces is quoted on the second page). Image courtesy of HIGP.

Photo of Michael Antal Jr. and the Flash Carbonization(TM) reactor.

Jul 28: Kingsford licenses University of Hawai‘i charcoal patent

Oakland, CA-based Kingsford Products Co. obtains the rights to use UH’s Flash Carbonization™ process for turning green waste into barbecue briquettes. The process developed by Michael J. Antal, Jr, professor at Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), uses heat and pressure to turn dehydrated green waste into charcoal in about 30 min.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Advertiser (including a video about the process). Image courtesy of Jeff Widener, Honolulu Advertiser (click on it to see the full version).

Journal of Climate graphic.

Jul 25: Special publication about Indian Ocean and El Niño

The American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate released a special issue, Indian Ocean Climate, on July 1, 2007. This publication was edited by Tommy Jensen, researcher at the SOEST climate research center International Pacific Research Center. The IPRC hosted the conference leading up to the special issue.

Read more about it in IPRC news release and the UH News. Image courtesy of the Journal of Climate.

Photo of sandy Hawai'i beach.

Jul 23: Sandy beaches home to wide variety of life

Discussing the rich diversity of life in the sand at the beach, David Karl, professor of oceanography and director of the Center for Marine Oceanography: Research and Education, points out that there are probably a billion bacteria in each cubic centimeter of sand and about a million in each cubic centimeter of seawater. “Although most people fear marine bacteria because of their association with human disease and infection, we owe our very existence to them…”

Read more about it in the Honolulu Advertiser, with info about the some of organisms that call the sand home.

Photo of tsunami model.

Jul 16: New method of tsunami forecasting found

SOEST and US Army Corps of Engineers researchers note giant earthquakes — those that rupture slowly or those with large fault areas — can pose serious tsunami hazards that can be difficult to immediately deduce from real-time analyses of seismic networks. Alejandro Sanchez of the Army Corps of Engineers and Kwok Fai Cheung of the Dept of Ocean and Resources Engineering (ORE) performed a "hindcast" analysis of the 1995 Antofagasta, Chile, tsunami, retracing the earthquake slip distribution and timing from data recorded by tide gauges close to the rupture. Those parameters were then used to estimate possible tsunami hazards across the Pacific Ocean

Read more about it in the Science Daily. Image courtesy of ORE.

Photo of Brian Chee

Jul 16: Testing lab wants to market its services to Hawaii businesses

Brian Chee, director of the Advanced Network Computing Laboratory (ANCL) in SOEST, talks about his plans to offer technology assessment services to Hawaii businesses so that he can help finance student projects, scholarships, and finance trips to trade shows. Funds generated will also allow him to invest in community and work force development and provide assistance to schools and non-profits in need of technology help.

For more information, please see Pacific Business News (subscription required to read whole article). Image courtesy of Tina Yuen, Pacific Business News.

Photo of lahar channel.

Jul 16: SOEST scientists get front row seats to rapid mudflow

Volcanologist Sarah Fagents and colleagues had an amazing opportunity to study volcanic hazards first hand and to document the effects when a volcanic mudflow broke through the banks of a volcanic lake while on a research trip to Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand. Fagents and colleague Bruce Houghton were there on a National Science Foundation-funded project to study the long-forecast Crater Lake break out lahar at Mount Ruapehu.

Read more about it in full SOEST press release (with more pictures); also see the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and at MSNBC. Image courtesy of Sarah Fagents; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of 'octosquid.'

Jul 12: Creature caught off Keahole Point identified

The animal found caught in a filter in one of Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority’s deep-sea water pipelines last week has been identified as an un-named member of the genus Mastigoteuthis, according to oceanography professor emeritus Richard Young. Christopher Kelley, program biologist for the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory, who went to the Big Island last week to pick up the squid, was impressed that it survived the pressure change as long as it did. The pipeline, which runs 3,000 feet deep, sucks up cold, deep-sea water for the tenants of the natural energy lab.

Read more about it in the updated Honolulu Star-Bulletin article. Image courtesy of the Star-Bulletin; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of Hanauma Bay

Jul 5: Summer events for Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve 40th anniversary

The Hanauma Bay Education Program, administered by the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program, is co-sponsoring three summer events to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the designation of the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. In 1967 the state designated Hanauma Bay as the state’s first Marine Life Conservation District, and these events celebrate four decades of stewardship by the state, city and community.

Image courtesy of UH Sea Grant.  Read more about it in the Honolulu Advertiser:

  1. The schedule of events
  2. “Nature park prepares to lure guests” including “Coral Rules” lecture schedule
  3. “Stewards of Oahu marine preserve vigilant”
Photo of anemone on a manganese nodule

Jun 24: Creatures from the abyss

Many deep-sea areas may need protection to preserve ecosystems and creatures being seen for the first time, says oceanographer Craig Smith. ”Ninety percent of species we collected are new to science,“ he said, describing expeditions to collect data for the design of marine protected areas in what’s called the ”abyss“ — the deepest part of the ocean.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Image courtesy of Nodinaut / IFREMER.

Photo of NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai.

Jun 15: HIMB scientists allowed to study marine monument

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved permits allowing scientists from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology to perform research at the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands despite a call for a moratorium on such permits. Scientists will conduct research of the environment at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, scheduled to depart on July 7.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Image courtesy of NOAA.

Photo of dead monk seal extangled in nets.

Jun 12: More Hawaiian monk seal deaths in years with El Niño

Hawai‘i Sea Grant researcher Mary Donohue and JIMAR oceanographer David Foley authored a study in New Scientist that reveals that more endangered Hawaiian monk seals drown or are suffocated in years with El Niño warming of ocean surface waters. During such years, the ocean currents are driven father south into the middle of the seals’ home in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, bringing more debris with them.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the Washington Post, and the KITV News web site. Image courtesy of the Star-Bulletin; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of Earth's Moon.

Jun 07: Scientists have eyes on the moon

Jeff Taylor, a researcher in the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, helped lead a workshop on lunar exploration. Among the ideas discussed were using the moon as a base to study Earth from afar and investigating the history of solar radiation by looking at how it changed moon rocks over time. New research could also help refine the creation of the Earth-moon system 4.5 billion years ago.

Read more about it in the Scripps Howard News Service. Image courtesy of NASA.

Photo of Floyd McCoy.

Jun 07: McCoy researches largest volcanic eruption in human history

Floyd McCoy, professor of geology and oceanography at Windward Community College and affiliate graduate faculty of the SOEST department of Geology and Geophysics, will travel to Greece in June to research the largest volcanic eruption in human history in the Mediterranean region as one of only a few selected Fulbright scholar grantees.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Advertiser and the UH NEWS. Image courtesy of UH News.

Phot of Hawaii from space.

Jun 01: UH Mānoa launches new space program

The Mānoa campus this month established the Hawai‘i Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL) — combining researchers from the College of Engineering and SOEST — with the goal of launching its first space mission by Fall 2009. “Hawai‘i is located in a unique position ... to place UH as the only university in the world to have both satellite fabrication capabilities and unique, direct access to orbital space.” said HIGP Interim Director Peter Mouginis-Mark.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser, in the UH News, and at the KITV News and KPUA.net sites. Image courtesy of NASA.

Graphic of weapons search.

May 25: SOEST and Army to scour sea floor for WWII bombs

The Army will partner with SOEST again this August on a $2.3 million underwater survey to try to pinpoint the location of nearly 600 tons of chemical weapons believed to have been dumped five miles south of Pearl Harbor in 1944. Oceanography professor Eric De Carlo said a more extensive survey in November will involve the use of the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory submersibles Pisces IV and Pisces V.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Image courtesy of US DoD; click on it to see the full image.

Hawaii Ocean Safety logo.

May 23: Visit www.hawaiibeachsafety.org for beach safety conditions

Governor Linda Lingle met with county lifeguard authorities and SOEST researchers Ben Studer, Chyn Lim, and Chip Fletcher to unveil the new Hawaii Beach Safety web site during National Beach Safety Week. Governor Lingle signed a special proclamation praising the lifeguard corps, the Hawaii Department of Health, and SOEST as “innovative world leaders in saving the lives of Hawaii residents and visitors to our beaches.”

Read more about it in the Honolulu Advertiser, in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, and at the Office of the Governor’s news site. Image courtesy Hawaii Beach Safety.

Image of hurricane and bacteria.

May 16: Hurricane effects on water quality were short-lived

UH oceanographer Grieg Steward is one of the authors of a paper that appeared in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggesting that the influence of contaminated floodwaters on water quality of Lake Pontchartrain was relatively short-lived and limited to coastal areas.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Advertiser and the UH News. Image courtesy NASA (left, Hurricane Katrina) and Dartmouth College Rippel Electron Microscope Facility (right, cholera bacterium).

Photo of Klaus Wyrtki.

May 8: Klaus Wyrtki elected to Academy of Arts & Sciences

Oceanography professor emeritus Klaus Wyrtki has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He is most well-known for providing a key piece to the El Niño puzzle that helped to forecast such events several months ahead. Wyrtki was the first to understand that ocean conditions more than 5,000 miles away in the far-western equatorial Pacific affect the ocean temperatures off the coast of Peru.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and in the UH News article. Image courtesy of UH News.

Photo of a shark by Jill Zamzow.

May 8: HIMB researcher comments on shark attack risk

There are an average of three to five shark attacks in Hawai‘i annually; in response to an attack off Maui on May 7, shark researcher Carl Meyer of the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) said there are not enough attacks to be able to make a clear statement about the relative risk level of any particular area. “Generally speaking, these attacks may have a lot more to do with what people do than what sharks do.”

Read more about it in the Honolulu Advertiser. Image courtesy of Jill Zamzow, HIMB.

Map of earthquake intensity.

May 5: “Citizen science” helps map Big Island earthquakes

Hawai‘i residents are helping the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) understand how an earthquake feels so they can estimate potential damage from a bigger temblor. Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) seismologist Cecily Wolfe comments on the USGS web site titled “Did you feel it?”, and talks about how important these human reports are in the study of earthquakes.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Image courtesy USGS; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of marine microbe.

Apr. 27: Tracking carbon in the ocean’s “twilight zone”

UH oceanographers Robert Bidigare, director of the Center for Marine Microbial Ecology and Diversity (CMMED), and Dave Karl, director of the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) are among the co-authors of a paper in the journal Science showing that carbon dioxide does not always sink to the ocean depths where it can be stored — questioning the ocean’s potential impact on greenhouse gases implicated in climate change.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the SOEST press release PDF. Image courtesy Mary Wilcox Silver / UC-Santa Cruz; click on it to see the full version with more microbes.

Landsat image of Kilauea, island of Hawai'i.

Apr. 21: Big Island “slow earthquake” behind schedule

A “slow earthquake” predicted by HIGP scientists Benjamin Brooks, James Foster, and Cecily J. Wolfe for Kilauea volcano has failed to take place so far, but the scientists are interpreting the no-show as additional information for understanding the mountain.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Image courtesy of NASA (click on it to see the whole Landsat image of the island of Hawai‘i).

Photo of iron meteorite sample.

Apr. 19: “When Worlds Really Did Collide”

In an article in the prestigious journal Nature, a research team that includes Ed Scott of the Hawaii Institute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) has discovered evidence in iron meteorites that planetary “embryos” approximately 1000 km in diameter formed less than one million years after the birth of the solar system and quickly began colliding, breaking apart before they cooled.

Read more about it in the SOEST press release and in the Planetary Science Research Discoveries article. Image courtesy of Jeff Gillis-Davis (HIGP); click on it to see a larger version.

UH Sea Grant College Program logo.

Apr. 19: First Regional Sea Grant Forum Held in Micronesia

Growing island populations and the rapid depletion of natural resources are having a profound impact on coastal communities throughout the Pacific. To address these challenges, representatives from the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program will facilitate three regional forums in an effort to streamline the management of marine and coastal areas. The first forum will be held beginning on Friday, April 20 in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Read more about it in the SOEST press release.

Logo graphic for Symposium on Seeing.

Apr. 09: New ocean bottom observatory successfully deployed off Hawai‘i

At 3:00 AM, February 16, 2007, an acoustic release was fired, allowing the ALOHA Cabled Observatory (ACO) to settle to its new home on the ocean floor at Station ALOHA, the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded oceanographic research site approximately 100 km north of Oahu. Within minutes, observers at the AT&T Makaha Cable Station were listening to humpback whale song, inaugurating the beginning of data collection from the ACO.

Read more about it in the press release PDF.

Logo graphic for Symposium on Seeing.

Mar. 27: First “Symposium on Seeing” very successful

The Mauna Kea Weather Center, in cooperation with SOEST Meteorologists Steve Businger, Tiziana Cherubini, and Ryan Lyman, just hosted its first “Symposium on Seeing” in Kona, and it was a huge success. The NSF-funded meeting brought together world leaders in meteorology and astronomy to discuss atmospheric turbulence and adaptive optics. For more information about the meeting, please see the symposium web site. You can also view an image (336K JPG) of the symposium participants.

Landsat image of Kilauea, island of Hawai'i

Mar. 22 : Ready to record an expected “slow earthquake”

HIGP scientists Benjamin Brooks, James Foster, and Cecily J. Wolfe are getting ready to record a "slow earthquake" — a kind of earthquake that takes place so slowly it can only be detected by sensitive scientific equipment — which is expected under Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Many slow quakes seem to happen at regular intervals and the pattern at Kilauea suggests they occur there about every 774 days; the last one was recorded over a period of two days beginning on 26 January 2005.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser. Image courtesy of NASA (click on it to see the whole Landsat image of the island of Hawai“i).

Photo of volcano erupting.

Mar. 22 : Huge Atlantic mystery squid undergoes scrutiny

Emeritus professor of oceanography Richard Young discusses the recent discovery of the carcass of a rare species of huge squid off the coast of Key West, Florida. Tentatively identified as an adult female Asperoteuthis acanthoderma, Young notes that “probably fewer than 10” specimens have ever been reported, all in the Pacific or Indian Oceans. Already decomposing when found, a "rough guesstimate" of the animal’s intact length is 16 to 24 feet.

Read more about it in Science News. Image courtesy of L. Mitchell  and V. Miller (inset) / Mote Marine Lab (click on it to see the full image).

Photo of vestimentiferan tubeworms by dr James Childress, UCSB.

Mar. 20: Volcanic plumbing dictates hydrothermal vents development

Robert A. Dunn, Associate Professor of Geology & Geophysics, is one of the co-authors of a paper in the March 22 issue of Nature proposing that it is differences in volcanic-plumbing systems, rather than in magma production, that better explains why one volcano hosts hydrothermal vents (or “hot smokers”) where unique deep-sea ecosystems can thrive, while another does not.

Read more about it at Newswise. Image courtesy of Dr. James Childress, UCSB (click on it to see a larger version).

Photo of Hawaiian monk seal.

Mar. 09: Fatal Hawaiian monk seal entanglements linked to El Niño

Mary Donohue, Sea Grant College Program associate director, and NMFS physicist David Foley have revealed a link between Hawaiian monk seals, the world's last remaining tropical seals, becoming entangled in discarded fishing gear and the global climatic phenomenon called El Niño. (Learn more about current El Niño conditions.)

Read more about it in New Scientist Environment. Image courtesy of Yoshinaga, NOAA Fisheries (click on it to see the full image).

Photo of Hawaiian Islands taken from the space shuttle.

Mar. 08 : Hawai‘i and NASA unite in unique deal

Hawai‘i took a step closer to the stars as Gov. Linda Lingle and the director of a top NASA research lab signed an agreement to help the agency find cost-competitive ways into space and a fresh generation of innovators and explorers. UH’s world-class research centers in astronomy, planetary science and engineering, and the Maui Supercomputing Center, are obvious attractions, as are the powerful telescopes on Mauna Kea and Haleakala and a UH program to develop very small satellites designed to be launched inexpensively into orbit.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Image courtesy of NASA.

Photo of volcano erupting.

Mar. 01 : Earthquakes might propel lava, trigger eruptions

Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) geologist Andrew Harris and Maurizio Ripepe of the University of Firenze say earthquakes might trigger volcanic activity, a discovery they hope could eventually help save lives. They observed the connection while studying the volcanoes in Indonesia, gathering data on Earth’s hot spots with a global satellite monitoring instrument developed at HIGP.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star Bulletin, at LiveScience.com, and EurekAlert.com. Image courtesy of HIGP.

Image of sea level rise in Waikiki.

Feb. 26: SOEST scientists discuss climate changes threatening Hawai‘i

Within the next 85 years, Hawai‘i will face rising temperatures and sea levels, eroding shorelines, and more acidic ocean waters as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases. Geologist Charles “Chip” Fletcher, meteorologist Kevin Hamilton, and oceanographers Lorenz Magaard, Axel Timmermann, Roger Lukas, David Karl, and Klaus Wyrtki (ret.) comment on the implications.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Advertiser. Photo courtesy of the Coastal Geology Group [click on it to open the full version or download the high-resolution original image (2.2 MB JPG)].

Photo of the Moon.

Feb. 20: HIGP scientist envisions mining Moon for Earth’s energy needs

G. Jeffrey Taylor, professor at the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) and an Associate Director of the Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, was a featured speaker at a special symposium and press conference about lunar science and resource exploration. He joined former Apollo astronaut Harrison Schmitt, a former US senator from New Mexico now with the University of Wisconsin at Madison, in touting the mining of a resource on the moon that holds the promise of cheap, clean abundant energy on Earth.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Graphic of UH Manoa seal.

Feb. 16: UH Mānoa Climate Change Commission appointed

Interim Chancellor Denise Eby Konan has appointed a 15-member blue-ribbon panel that includes top scientists and environmental experts of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa to study the impact of climate change and global warming on Hawai‘i, and recommend strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Hawaiian Islands and from the Manoa campus. Seven of the commission members are from SOEST, including the Commission Chair Lorenz Magaard, Director of the International Center for Climate and Society (ICCS), Executive Associate Director of the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC), and Professor of Oceanography.

Read more about it in the UH News.

Photo of students collaborating on satellite (courtesy of Honolulu Star Bulletin).

Feb. 05: UH on its way to being only university able to launch satellites

“If Hawai‘i were a country, we would be the eighth nation in the world to have this capability,” said Peter Mouginis-Mark, interim director of the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. Luke Flynn, director of the Space Grant Consortium, said the program is working on an agreement to launch student-developed satellites from the Pacific Missile Range on Kaua‘i.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Photo courtesy of Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Bulletin (click on it to see the full version).

Photo of sandbags on eroding Hawai'i beach.

Jan. 30: Rising sea levels doom beaches, geologist warns

UH Sea Grant coastal geologist Dolan Eversole and land planner Sam Lemmo warn that most of Hawai‘i’s sandy beaches are eroding, and that rising sea level will only make things worse. “A foot to foot-and-a-half rise vertically has a tremendous impact horizontally,” Eversole said, showing a slide of Waikiki with that amount of sea-level rise projected. Only a sliver of land remained above water between the Ala Wai Canal and the beaches.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Photo courtesy of George F. Lee / Honolulu Star-Bulletin (click on it to see the full version).

Photo of R/V Kilo Moana

Jan. 29: SOEST ocean programs rank among top 10 in nation

A new listing of graduate programs based on faculty productivity ranks the marine biology and biological oceanography and physical oceanography programs at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa as among the top 10 in the nation. “In both those areas we have some of the best faculty in the nation. So I’m not surprised,” said Brian Taylor, dean of SOEST. Taylor cited researchers like David Karl, recently named to the National Academy of Science, and Roger Lukas as among the top scientists in their fields. He also noted the contribution of the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) at Coconut Island.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. Image courtesy of SOEST.

IPRC graphic of ocean current.

Jan. 15: IPRC scientist advances research on Pacific climate

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) selected for its January 2007 Journal Highlights a paper by Tangdong Qu, associate researcher at the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC). Qu and his co-authors showed that a current flowing from the Pacific through the South China Sea into the Indonesian Seas impacts the heat and freshwater distributions in the Indonesian Maritime Continent.

Read more about it on the IPRC News and the UH News pages. Image courtesy of IPRC; click on it to open a larger version.

Photo of palms and sand at Kuhio Beach.

Jan. 3: Waikiki “sandlift” is complete!

UH Sea Grant coastal geologist Dolan Eversole managed a project to vacuum offshore sand to replenish Kuhio beach in Waikiki. Since Nov. 28, American Marine Corp. has pumped 10,000 cubic yards of sand ashore to replace what's gradually eroded since the last significant replenishment in 1975. Great before and after pictures and volumes of sand moved can be found at the DLNR web site.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Star Bulletin and at KGMB News. Photo courtesy of Richard Walker / Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

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