December 2017
SOEST wishes you happy holidays and a prosperous new year!
Meet the deepest fish in the ocean, a new species named the Mariana snailfish by an international team of researchers, including scientists from SOEST who discovered it. The Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei) thrives at depths of up to about 8,000 meters (26,200 feet) along the Mariana Trench near Guam. "This is the deepest fish that's been collected from the ocean floor, and we're very excited to have an official name," said lead author Mackenzie Gerringer, a graduate student at SOEST with Jeff Drazen at the time of this work. "They don't look very robust or strong for living in such an extreme environment, but they are extremely successful."
An international research team led by Paul Nachtigall of the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology investigated whether marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins, harbor porpoises, and others could protect their hearing naturally. The scientists measured the animals' brain activity while hearing sounds loud enough to evoke a response, but below the threshold of causing temporary hearing loss. Each of the trained captive animals learned to reduce its hearing sensitivity by 10 to 20 decibels when the scientists played a warning signal before producing the loud sound. That is similar to a human putting in foam earplugs. This could potentially allow the animals to shield themselves from the cacophony of sonar activities and oil drilling.
Margaret McFall-Ngai, director of the Pacific Biosciences Research Center (PBRC), has been awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) professorship grant. HHMI professors are accomplished research scientists who are deeply committed to making science more engaging for undergraduates. With this honor, McFall-Ngai will receive $1 million over five years to develop innovative approaches to teaching undergraduate science. She plans to develop an entirely new concept for a biology curriculum at UH Mānoa and other institutions of higher learning. The ideal curriculum will engage leading researchers in the education of future biologists, as well as introduce those in other STEM disciplines to biology.
Nicole Lautze, associate researcher with the Hawai'i Institute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), was recently honored with the 2017 Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Education Award. This C3E Award recognizes the outstanding leadership and extraordinary achievements of mid-career women working to advance clean energy throughout the nation. The C3E is a program of the Clean Energy Ministerial, representing 25 major-economy governments accelerating the transition to clean energy technologies and policies. Lautze has mentored more than 30 undergraduate and graduate students, and been granted nearly $2 million as lead investigator during the past five years at UH Mānoa. As stated in the award letter, Lautze was "selected from an extremely competitive candidate pool" for her work toward clean energy and student engagement.
Chris Sabine will join SOEST as a professor in the Department of Oceanography on January 2, 2018. He is currently the director of the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, one of the premier government laboratories in marine sciences. Sabine's research emphasis is on the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle, in particular, understanding ocean acidification. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles on carbon cycling and was lead author on a 2004 Science article presenting the first estimates of human-derived carbon distributions in the ocean based on inorganic carbon measurements.
"I see this as a return to my roots and a chance to pay back the wonderful opportunities that I received over my career that all started with my education at UH Mānoa," said Sabine.
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