November 2017
Oceanographers Grieg Steward and Kyle Edwards, as part of a research team from four universities, received a $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate how viruses alter the properties of cells and influence the outcome of viral infections. "A much more realistic accounting of the nuanced relationships between viruses and microbes is going to be needed if we want to fully understand how the Earth's microbiome keeps our planet habitable," said Steward. To further this quest, the multi-university collaboration aims to develop and adapt microfluidics technology and make these new tools available to the broader scientific community.
Credit: Hawaiʻi Sea Grant King Tides Project.
Over the next three years, the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Level Center (UHSLC) and its partners will receive more than $5 million from NOAA's Climate Program Office for sea level rise research. The team will produce experimental regional sea level outlooks months in advance for Pacific islands including Hawaiʻi, Puerto Rico, and the continental U.S. Given that no seasonal prediction of coastal high water events currently exists on a national scale, this project will be invaluable to community members and community planners for long- and short-term decision making. The funding also provides ongoing support for the UHSLC to collect and quality control tide gauge data from around the world, which are essential for studying sea level extremes and monitoring long-term global sea level rise.
The deepest 45 percent of the ocean depth range remains one of the most unexplored and inaccessible regions on the planet. Very little is known about the circulation, mixing, chemical properties and biological communities in the water of these deep ocean trenches. Armed with a $1.2 million award from the W.M. Keck Foundation, four SOEST researchers, along with industry partners, are on track to build a Hadal Water Column Profiler (HWCP). Thanks to the HWCP, future research will create new understanding of the deep ocean's impact on the climate and biological communities.
Courtesy of Northwest Energy Innovations
When it comes to renewable energy, Hawai'i stands out, with 15 percent of the State's power coming from solar and wind. Now, the State may be pioneering another renewable form of energy: ocean waves. Hawai'i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) Specialist Patrick Cross and other researchers are testing a new frontier of wave power technology. Several different wave-energy devices are being studied at wave energy testing sites in Kāne'ohe Bay off Marine Corps Base Hawai'i, including "The Azura" (shown at right) designed by Azura Wave Energy based in Portland, Oregon, and the "Lifesaver" (because of its shape) developed by a Norwegian company, Fred Olsen.
Credit: B. Holland
Pacific Bioscience Research Center (PBRC) researcher Robert Cowie co-authored a study that explored the evolutionary underpinnings of one of nature's most decimated groups of animals: the land snails of oceanic islands. Roughly 10 percent of all known terrestrial snail species may now be extinct, they reported. Land-loving snails and slugs represent roughly 40 percent of all known animal extinctions since the year 1500. More than 70 percent of those mollusk extinctions took place on oceanic islands. Habitat loss makes island snails especially vulnerable, but there is another key factor: a lack of predatory pressure has left island snails uniquely unequipped to stop invasive species from eating them into extinction.
Credit: Terry Kerby and Max Cremer
The Hawaiʻi Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) facilitated a three-month, National Science Foundation-funded expedition around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and Emperor Seamounts. This survey documented the effects of protection and fishing on these deep coral ecosystems. Terry Kerby, HURL submersible pilot of nearly 40 years, saw pristine ecosystems in the protected areas and complete devastation in areas that had been fished by trawlers or coral harvesters. On 12 seamounts, the HURL team expertly operated the two nimble submersibles, Pisces IV and Pisces V, and obtained survey data, samples of dead coral for age dating and tissue samples to assess coral genetics.
Murli Manghnani, a professor in the Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP), has been elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Manghnani, who joined the HIGP in 1963, has made impressive contributions in the field of high pressure-high temperature mineral physics, with a focus on the structure and transformation of minerals deep in Earth's interior. AGU elects as fellows members whose visionary leadership and scientific excellence have fundamentally advanced research in their respective fields. Among his most significant accomplishments, Manghnani discovered unique properties and structures of silicate melts in Earth's mantle and core-related iron-rich melts--providing fundamental understanding of the properties of planetary cores.
Stay informed!
Find upcoming events on the SOEST Events page and watch videos on the SOEST Videos  page.