November  2016
On November 12, the SOEST Department of Ocean and Resources Engineering (ORE) commemorated its 50th Anniversary with a celebration at the Waikīkī Aquarium. Over 150 alumni, faculty, staff, students, donors, and friends came together for the occasion and to celebrate the impact ORE and its graduates have had on the Hawaiian Islands and the world. As evidence of ORE's connection to the community, the event was sponsored by long-time partners of the department: EKNA Services Inc., Navatek Ltd., and Sea Engineering, Inc. In addition, Makai Ocean Engineering made a donation to support ORE graduate students in honor of the department's 50th anniversary.
In a study published recently, scientists from SOEST and UHM College of Natural Sciences used a combination of field experiments and chemical analysis of water and algae to show that the quality of coastal groundwater plays a major role in determining the health of nearshore ecosystems in Maui, Hawaiʻi. Land-based pollutants infiltrate into the groundwaters beneath land and eventually exit into nearshore ecosystems as submarine groundwater discharge. The long-term goal of this collaborative research group is to bridge the disciplines of hydrology, geochemistry and marine biology to help answer pressing questions regarding the source and impact of nutrient pollution in Hawaiian coastal waters.
For decades, marine chemists have faced an elusive paradox. The surface waters of the world's oceans are supersaturated with the greenhouse gas methane, yet most species of microbes that can generate the gas can't survive in oxygen-rich surface waters. So where exactly does all the methane come from? This longstanding riddle, known as the "marine methane paradox," may have finally been cracked thanks to a new study by researchers from SOEST and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The answer may lie in the complex ways that bacteria break down dissolved organic matter, a cocktail of substances excreted into seawater by living organisms.
Two buildings that will generate more energy than they consume are proud additions to the University of Hawai ʻi at Manoa campus. This month, the university held a grand opening for two 1,400-square-foot Flexible Response to Ongoing Growth (FROG) classrooms at the College of Education. Funded with part of a $4.5-million grant from the Office of Naval Research and managed by SOEST's Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), these net-zero structures will provide valuable data on the effects of energy usage and building design on energy demand. The classroom buildings were designed and installed by Project Frog, a California building technology company.
Led by Oceanography doctoral candidate,  John Casey , researchers from SOEST and Chalmers University of Technology developed a computer model which takes into account hundreds of genes, chemical reactions and compounds required for the survival of Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthetic microbe on the planet. They found that Prochlorococcus has made extensive alterations to its metabolism as a way to reduce its dependence on phosphorus, an element that is essential and often growth-limiting in the ocean.This new metabolic model represents a window to the inner workings that enable microbes to dominate Earth's chemical and biological cycles, thrive in the harshest conditions and make the planet habitable--a black box, in a sense.
Jeffrey Taylor, professor in the Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, was among the international team of scientists who retraced the moon's dramatic response in the first hours following the massive impact that created one of the moon's largest craters 3.8 billion years ago. The moon's Orientale basin is surrounded by three concentric rings of rock, the largest one stretching 580 miles across. Until now, it's been unclear how massive impacts produced the complex structures displayed by multi-ring basins. The findings may shed light on how giant impacts shaped the evolution of the moon, and even life on Earth, shortly after the planets formed.
Christopher Lindsay, a 17-year-old high school student from Honolulu was recently awarded a $50,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship from the Davidson Institute of Talent Development for his project wherein he developed new methods to observe marine life using arrays of inexpensive underwater time-lapse cameras. He is one of only 4 students from across the country to receive this level of award. Lindsay worked with Margo Edwards, interim director of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) and HIGP Specialist Mark Rognstad on the Hawaiʻi Undersea Military Munitions Assessment. Lindsay's project demonstrated that time-lapse photographic studies are crucial to assess the effects of human debris on marine environments and yielded unexpected results concerning the effects of pollution in our oceans.
SOEST participated in the 2nd annual Explore Manoa: Application Day where nearly 200 students and 300 guests learned about various academic programs and services at UHM. Hawaiʻi high school seniors, juniors, and their families met UHM faculty, staff and current students; participated in campus tours; learned about financial aid resources; and could submit an application with assistance from a UHM Admissions Officer. This lively event offered a chance for SOEST to share the academic and career opportunities available through our degree programs.
Stay informed!
Find upcoming events on the SOEST Events page and watch videos, including the latest additions from JIMAR and Sea Grant, on the SOEST Videos page.