October 2018
Ruth D. Gates, director and researcher at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology, died on October 25, 2018. Gates, who joined HIMB in 2003, contributed seminal research to understanding coral reef biology and the impacts of climate change on reef ecosystems. "Ruth was not only a shining star in coral research, but an indomitable spirit in every aspect of life," said Judy Lemus, interim director of HIMB and friend of Gates. "Her enthusiasm was contagious and she absolutely loved what she did. Her loss will be felt deeply within our own community and throughout the broader research community."
Read Ed Yong's tribute article in The Atlantic and the  National Geographic article on the Coral Atlas project.
Credit: Brad Romine
By including models of dynamical physical processes such as erosion, wave run-up, and groundwater inundation, a team of researchers from the SOEST Department of Earth Sciences and the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources determined that land area in Hawai'i vulnerable to future sea level rise may be double previous estimates. The additional processes can create new wetlands and cause urban flooding, sometimes in areas that are not in direct proximity to the shoreline. This study was conducted to support the Hawai'i Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report, which is the basis for further government planning and adaptation initiatives.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Univ of Arizona
A recent study by researchers in SOEST's Department of Earth Sciences revealed that Ganymede, an icy moon of Jupiter, appears to have undergone complex periods of geologic activity, specifically strike-slip tectonism, as seen in Earth's San Andreas fault. Both Ganymede and Europa, another of Jupiter's moons, are believed to be ocean worlds--having a liquid water ocean beneath an ice shell. Europa is thought to be the most likely place in the solar system to find life. The new observations provide insights into the tectonic history of Ganymede and Europa, where future exploration missions are planned. SOEST alumni and lead author, Marissa Cameron, is currently employed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to work on the Europa Lander.
Ross Barnes, marine operations superintendent at the University of Hawai'i Marine Center (UHMC) and the UHMC team were honored as the 2018 Tenant Environmental Manager of the Year. In a letter to Barnes, Governor of Hawai'i, David Ige, applauded the team's "efforts as a leader in environmental compliance and the future of sustainability in Hawai'i" and said, "This award acknowledges the continuous positive contributions that you and the University of Hawai'i Marine Center have made toward protecting our valuable ocean resources." Barnes said, "This recognition is significant because it helps show the UH Marine Center team that all their hard work does not go unnoticed. This recognition helps build pride in all that we do here to protect the environment."
The University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program received nearly $1 million from NOAA for aquaculture research in the state. One of the two funded projects will improve culture methods for the native marine fish species Pacific Threadfin, known locally as moi, in land-based systems. The team will make moi fingerlings and extension support available to local stakeholders, help overcome barriers that have impeded mariculture, and help create jobs and a local supply of sustainable seafood. The second project will establish an aquaculture program at UH Mānoa that leverages a state-of-the-art aquaculture facility to address research, education and extension capacity needs of university students, industry producers and the public.
Credit: NOAA Fisheries
The 2018 mission to remove marine debris from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands began recently when the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette departed Honolulu. The mission team members are supported by a partnership between SOEST's Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) and NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. Their goal is to remove derelict fishing gear and plastic debris from the islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Since 1996, the team has removed 848 metric tons of derelict fishing nets and debris from these remote islands and atolls protected by the Papahānaumokuāea Marine National Monument. This year, they aim to remove an additional 30-50 metric tons.
Credit: Harrison Togia
Oceanography assistant professor Rosie ʻAnolani Alegado is part of a team, led by UH Mānoa professor of Ethnic Studies Davianna Pōmaikaʻi McGregor, organizing two faculty workshops on Kahoʻolawe. The goal is to enhance faculty capacity to engage in the sustainability and resilience of island ecosystems and integrate indigenous Hawaiian science into curricula. The focus of the first workshop was to design research projects to support sustainability and resilience of island ecosystems that can be piloted on Kahoʻolawe. The second workshop will offer facilitation sessions on how to design and integrate Indigenous Hawaiian science into curriculum offered by various departments at UH.
Atmospheric Sciences students in assistant professor Alison Nugent's class launched a weather balloon recently to learn first-hand how meteorologists assess the weather 6 to 12 miles high in the sky. The specialized helium balloon has an instrument package attached that measures temperature, pressure and humidity as it rises through the atmosphere. The instruments send back data to a ground receiver. "We've been trying to understand all of these different variables in class and we always used data given to us," UH Mānoa student Maarten Molenaar said. "Now we're going to use our own data and make connections to what we see in the sky right above us."
Stay informed!
Find upcoming events on the SOEST Events page and watch videos on the SOEST Videos  page.