April 2016
New research published in Nature Geoscience by Richard Zeebe, professor of Oceanography, and colleagues looks at changes in Earth's temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) since the end of the age of dinosaurs. They developed a new approach and were able to determine the duration of the onset of an important past climate event, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. "As far as we know, the PETM has the largest carbon release during the past 66 million years," said Zeebe. Their findings suggest humans are releasing carbon about 10 times faster than during any event in the past 66 million years.

During a test dive, the Hawaiʻi Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) recovered a bronze bell from the I-400-a World War II-era Imperial Japanese Navy mega-submarine, lost since 1946 when it was intentionally sunk by U.S. forces to keep its secrets out of Russian hands. Re-discovered three years ago by the crew of HURL, the bell sat in waters more than 2,000 feet deep until the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum secured the proper permits for its retrieval. "What was once an artifact on the seafloor will now be a national historic maritime treasure for all to see," said Jerry Hofwolt, executive director of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum.

In the microscopic life that thrives around coral reefs, a team of researchers, including Katie Barott, postdoctoral researcher at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, discovered an interplay between viruses and microbes that defies conventional wisdom. Their study, published in the journal Nature, revealed that as potential host microbes become more numerous, some viruses forego rapid replication and opt instead to reside peaceably inside their host, thereby reducing the viruses' potential numbers-a model they refer to as "piggyback-the-winner." This discovery could have implications for phage-based medicine and ecosystem resilience in the face of environmental disturbances that promote microbial blooms.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Hawai'i-Mānoa (UHM), published in the journal Toxins, may finally put to rest the ongoing debate about whether to use cold or heat to treat jellyfish stings. With their systematic and critical review,  Christie Wilcox, a postdoctoral fellow at the John A. Burns School of Medicine and  Angel Yanagihara, assistant research professor at the SOEST Pacific Biosciences Research Center (PBRC) and JABSOM, provide overwhelming evidence that clinical outcomes from all kinds of jellyfish stings are improved following treatment with hot packs or hot-water immersion.

Photo credit: Mark Arbeit for Honolulu Magazine
Terry Kerby, operations director of the Hawai'i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) at SOEST, gave the keynote address at the  Kermadec Science Symposium in New Zealand (NZ) this month. This two-day symposium, hosted by The Pew Charitable Trusts, was attended by scientists and government ministers, and was open to the public. The symposium was a celebration of the declaration of the  Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary and "the unique diversity of the Kermadec ocean wilderness". Following this keynote, Terry was invited to present the NZ parliament with a summary of HURL's 2005 exploration of 13 active submarine volcanoes from Samoa to New Zealand (10 of which are on part of the Kermadec arc).

SOEST has received the ceremonial key to its new marine facility at Pier 35 from the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation. The transportation department along with elected officials and UH representatives conducted a blessing and ceremony to formally convey the newly renovated Pier 35 facility to SOEST. The $17-million project involved partial demolition and renovations to the Pier 35 building. The UH Marine Center relocation (planned for summer 2016) is part of the Department of Transportation's Harbors Modernization Plan to increase container terminal space at the state's busiest commercial harbor.
"This is a new page in the centennial history of marine science at the University of Hawaiʻi," said SOEST Dean Brian Taylor. "It's a great day with a new facility, new building, and a renovated pier."

Marine communities along the Western Antarctic Peninsula are highly productive ecosystems that support a diverse assemblage of charismatic animals such as penguins, seals, and whales, and commercial fisheries such as Antarctic krill. This area also contains many fjords (deep estuaries carved by glacial ice) with active glaciers entering the ocean. These fjords appear to be intense, potentially climate-sensitive, hotspots of biological production and biodiversity. Nonetheless, the structure and dynamics of these fjord ecosystems are very poorly understood. Follow the research activities of scientists with the FjordEco project (from SOEST, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Alaska at Fairbanks) as they study fjord ecosystem dynamics in Antarctica.

Timothy Williams, engineer facility manager with the LEONIDAS project at the Hawaii Space Flight Lab, was named the RCUH 2015 Outstanding Employee of the Year. Williams was nominated and awarded for his work overseeing and executing the design, installation, qualification, and operation of the world's largest rail launcher system, which was used for the ORS-4 launch on November 3, 2015. Williams has worked with HSFL from 2007 and been employed through RCUH for over 20 years.

Rebecca Briggs, manager of the SOEST Laboratory for Analytical Biogeochemistry (S-LAB), was named the 2015 RCUH Employee of the Year runner-up. Under her stewardship the S-LAB has grown into a vibrant, excellent analytical facility that serves the University of Hawaii and local clients. Briggs came to SOEST in 2004 and received her doctoral degree from SOEST in 2011. She is currently a senior program coordinator at I.M. Systems Group in Washington, DC.
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