March  2016
Two SOEST projects receive large-scale awards from Joint Genome Institute 
Projects from two SOEST scientists, Michael Rappe and Ed DeLong, were recently selected for large scale DNA sequencing by the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute 2016 Community Sequencing Program. The project proposed by Rappe aims to provide the first comprehensive assessment of the microbial community structure in what may be the largest biome on (or in) the planet supporting microbial life-the subseafloor basement biosphere. DeLong's proposed work will use single cell genome sequencing and advanced genome assembly methods to help create a comprehensive microbial genome database for Station ALOHA, the field site for a long-term time series north of Oahu.These are highly competitive grants and SOEST has been awarded two of the 27 total large scale awards.

Recognition for Ruth Gates's work on coral reefs
Credit: Honolulu Magazine, Aaron Yoshino
Dr. Ruth Gates, director of the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology, was selected for the "20 For The Next 20" class of 2016 by Hawaii Business Magazine as a leader who will make a significant contribution to our shared future over the coming years. Additionally, Gates was honored as an Islander of the Year by Honolulu Magazine in recognition of  people "who made the most impact on Hawai'i in the past 12 months." Gates and her team identify corals with strong genes and bring them back to the lab where they are slowly exposed to ocean conditions that mimic the warmer and more acidic water of the future. "By giving the corals this 'experience' and switching on a 'memory,' we think this helps them better survive future stress," she says.

Coral reef islands and atolls in the Pacific are predominantly surrounded by vast areas of ocean that have very low nutrient levels and low ecological production. However, the ecosystems near these islands and atolls are often extremely productive and support an enhanced nearshore food-web, leading to an abundance of species and increased local fisheries. New research from a team of international scientists, including those from NOAA , SOEST, National Geographic Society , Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Bangor University , provides the first basin-scale investigation of this paradoxical increase in productivity near coral reef islands and atolls -referred to as the 'Island Mass Effect'. Important services that ecosystems provide to human populations, such as fisheries production, can be intrinsically linked to nearshore phytoplankton enhancement associated with the Island Mass Effect.
A three-minute video produced by a team from the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology and the University of California, San Diego has been selected as one of nine finalists in the Ocean 180 Video Challenge , a video competition calling for video abstracts that not only summarize recently published research findings but also highlight their relevance and real-world implications. The video, filmed with a 360-panoramic GoPro set-up, focuses on an innovative method for reconstructing coral reefs in 3-dimension. Through the YouTube player , viewers can use their mouse to scroll and look in any direction, or watch on a smartphone and pan through the scene by simply moving the phone.
To help Hawai'i communities reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change,  NOAA 's National Ocean Service has awarded the University of Hawai'i Sea Grant College Program $845,160 in funding through the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program.

Hawai'i is particularly vulnerable to coastal hazards. Because the state is heavily reliant on tourism, and most of the development and infrastructure in Hawai'i are concentrated on or near the coast, it is highly susceptible to flooding, coastal erosion, sea-level rise and coastal disasters. The project, titled "Building Resilience to Coastal Hazards and Climate Change in Hawai'i", aims to address these critical issues and increase the state's resilience to coastal hazards and the impacts from climate change.
McKenna Lewis, a Global Environmental Science ( GES) undergraduate major in the Department of Oceanography, recently returned from a 6-week expedition to Antarctica-"a once-in-a-lifetime experience in and of itself!" she said.
Lewis traveled to Antarctica to be part of FjordEco, a collaborative research project led by scientists from UH Mānoa, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. The goal of the project is to learn more about the under-studied fjord ecosystems of the Western Antarctic Peninsula, and understand the physical and biological drivers of the highly productive ecosystem and its sensitivity to climate change.

Alumni updates
Research into the humpback whale microbiome by WHOI researcher Amy Apprill (Ph.D., 2009, Oceanography;  M.S., 2004, Oceanography) is featured on " XX Files: Extraordinary Science, Extraordinary Women ". Microbial populations can change quickly in response to alterations in environmental conditions. If a whale is sick, it may take a really long time for researchers to be able to tell by just looking at the animal. But the microbes are using nutrients from the whale so if there's a change in the metabolism of the whale, the microbes will start to change as well.
Currently a post-doctoral research scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Elise Rumpf (Ph.D., 2014, Geology and Geophysics) has been  developing experiments to test how quickly and in what patterns lava flows over different types of material, such as sand, gravel or larger rocks. By understanding how lava moves over different materials on this planet, scientists can study images and data of other planets and have a better idea of those planets' volcanic evolution and the surfaces hidden beneath their lava flows.
Follow the  link to watch the experiments.

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