January 2018
Credit: Paepae o Heʻeia
SOEST researchers and Native Hawaiian fishpond stewards, Paepae o Heʻeia, formed a collaborative partnership to understand the role of climate change in subtropical coastal estuarine environments within the context of aquaculture practices in Heʻeia Fishpond, a traditional Hawaiian fishpond on Oʻahu. Their study indicates that there is a relationship between two periods of high fish mortality at Heʻeia Fishpond and changes in the climate. Additionally, the results provide empirical evidence regarding El Niño effects on the coastal ocean, which can inform resource management efforts about the potential impact of climate variation on aquaculture production.
Researchers at the Hawaiʻi Institute for Geophysics and Planetology , in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), are part of a team that developed an innovative spectroscopy instrument to aid the search for extraterrestrial life. The new instrument is designed to detect compounds and minerals associated with biological activity more quickly and with greater sensitivity than previous instruments. It improves on an analytical technique known as micro-Raman spectroscopy which uses the interaction between laser light and a sample to provide chemical composition information on a microscopic scale. The new spectrometer is significantly faster than other micro Raman instruments and extremely compact, features critical for space applications.
SOEST researchers modeled the impacts of sea level rise and provided the results in the form of GIS layers for additional analysis of economic vulnerability for the Hawai'i Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report. This report, coordinated by the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources, provides the first statewide assessment of the potential hazards and costly impacts to Hawai'i's economy and shorelines with rising sea levels. It's the first report by the Hawai'i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission, a group composed of every State and County agency that has activities or missions relevant to problems related to sea level rise. Researchers who worked on the report say if nothing is done to prepare for the inevitable rise in sea levels, the consequences will be devastating for the state.
Credit: Thierry Work, USGS
Male sea turtles are disappearing from Australia's Great Barrier Reef. A recent study, co-authored by Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research researcher Camryn Allen, found that 99 percent of immature green turtles born in the northern part of the reef are female. Among adult turtles, 87 percent are female, suggesting that there has been a shift in gender ratios over the last few decades. A sea turtle's gender is determined by its nesting environment. As sands warm, more females will hatch relative to males; if the sand temperature tops 84.7 degrees during incubation, only females will emerge. The gender shift suggests that climate change is having a significant effect on one of the biggest green turtle populations in the world.
David Trang, a postdoctoral associate at the Hawaiʻi Institute for Geophysics and Planetology, has been selected as a participating scientist on NASA's first asteroid sample return mission, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). The goal is to take samples of Bennu, an asteroid approximately 1,600 feet in diameter orbiting in the solar system, and return them to Earth. During his three-year tenure with the mission, Trang's role is to help with preliminary survey maps of Bennu, which has been physically and chemically altered by exposure to the space environment. The return sample of a primitive asteroid could help scientists understand the formation of the solar system more than 4.5 billion years ago.
SOEST is thrilled to welcome the Flanigans and the Laws into our donor 'ohana. We are grateful for their wonderful support, and look forward to sharing the impacts of their giving with them and with alumni and friends for years to come.
Mr. John M. and Mrs. Anne C. Flanigan recently endowed the John and Anne Flanigan Award for Oceanographic Research in the Department of Oceanography. The annual award will be given to a graduate student in the Department of Oceanography to support his or her outstanding research. John and Anne are former math faculty at Kapiolani Community College. Early in their post-graduate careers, Anne was invited to American Samoa to help develop improved modules for math curriculum in the public schools, and John was instrumental in helping the island establish its first community college system.
Dr. Edward A. and Mrs. Stephanie S.L. Laws established the Global Environmental Science Endowed Scholarship to support undergraduate students in the Global Environmental Sciences program in the Department of Oceanography. The gift will provide standout GES students with tuition and other academic financial support, allowing them to focus on their studies, be rewarded for excellent work, and be able to take advantage of research opportunities for their senior thesis projects. A former faculty member of the Department of Oceanography at SOEST, Ed is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Louisiana State University. While at UH, Ed was a key supporter in the department's effort to start the GES program. Stephanie works for the State of Hawaii and is active on the ARCS Honolulu board.
The John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship provides a unique educational experience to students who have an interest in ocean resources and national policy decisions affecting those resources. The program, which is sponsored by the National Sea Grant College Program, matches highly qualified graduate students with hosts in the legislative and executive branches of government located in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one-year paid fellowship. Applicants must be graduate students as of Feb 23, 2018 to be eligible but may graduate any time thereafter. Any questions can be directed to Hawai'i Sea Grant Program Leader, Maya Walton (waltonm@hawaii.edu, 808-956-6992). Applications must be received by Friday, February 23, 2018, 5:00 p.m.
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