May  2018
Credit: J Ozbolt, Hilo Civil Air Patrol
On April 30, 2018, along the East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano, Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater began to collapse. On May 3, eruptive surface fissures began inundating the community of Leilani Estates, marking the official onset of eruption. On May 4, a Mw6.9 earthquake struck the south flank of Kīlauea. Activity at Halema'uma'u crater includes nearly continuous emission of ash with intermittent stronger pulses that form occasional higher plumes 3,000 to 6,000 feet above the ground and one volcanic cloud that reached as high as 30,000 feet. As of May 30, there have been 23 fissure eruptions--some still active--with ocean entry starting on May 20. 

The Geology and Geophysics volcanologists and Atmospheric Science vog experts have been sought by local, national and international media to provide background and information about the 2018 Leilani Estates eruption on the Big Island of Hawai'i.   
The U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawai'i County Civil Defense continue to monitor the activity, with numerous geologists onsite. Many past and present SOEST researchers, students or graduates are part of the field response team. "The SOEST Department of Geology and Geophysics and the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology have an outstanding endorsement of our training of volcanologists as seen in the composition of the HVO response crew," said  Bruce Houghton , Gordon A Macdonald Professor of Volcanology, who has been in the field. 
Marilyn Dunlap, associate director of the Pacific Biosciences Research Center (PBRC), has donated $45,000 to the University of Hawai'i Foundation to create a new fund supporting Hawaiian Monk Seal research at the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research in honor of her late husband, DB Dunlap, and his tireless work researching and protecting Hawaiian Monk Seals on Oahu. "When DB saw his first Hawaiian monk seal and realized the need for community involvement, protecting and preserving them became his passion," said Marilyn.  From 2003-2017, he recorded almost 20,000 monk seal sightings on Oahu, sending his daily reports and data to NOAA.
Credit: Kostantinos Stamoulis
Unsustainable fishing has depleted coastal fisheries worldwide, threatening food security and cultural identity for many coastal and island communities, including in Hawai'i. A study led by researchers at UH Mānoa identified areas in the Hawaiian Islands that would provide the greatest increase in coastal fishery stocks, if effectively managed. To determine where management and conservation efforts would be most impactful, researchers developed regional "seascape models" that integrate fishing patterns and reef fish survey data to produce maps of key habitats that support abundant coastal fishery stocks. The results provide hope in terms of the scale of potential recovery.
Credit: Athanasios Karagiotas and Theoni Shalamberidze
NASA has awarded five-year grants, each approximately $8 million, to three research teams that will study the origins, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. Sarah Fagents, planetary volcanology researcher in the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology is on the team studying Saturn's moon, Titan. "The single compelling question for this research is: what habitable environments exist on Titan and what resulting potential biosignatures should we look for?" said Fagents. Fagents will lead the team that aims to determine how biosignatures can be transported from the ocean to the surface and atmosphere and be recognized there.
Researchers at the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education have characterized a new, unusually large virus that infects common marine algae. Found in the coastal waters off Oahu, it contains the biggest genome ever sequenced for a virus infecting a photosynthetic organism. The virus was named TetV-1, because it infects single-celled algae called Tetraselmis. The researchers discovered that the virus has a number of genes that it seems to have picked up from the alga it infects. Two of these appear to code for enzymes involved in fermentation, a process whereby microbes get energy from sugars in the absence of oxygen.
Five undergraduate students in SOEST's Global Environmental Science Program have been awarded scholarships from the NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship or Educational Partnership Program. Seniors McKenna Lewis and Kammie-Dominique Tavares, rising senior Cuong Tran, and rising juniors Diana Lopera and Andrew Tokuda are the honored recipients of these highly competitive awards that provide up to $45,000 in total support per student for tuition assistance, a paid summer research experience at a NOAA facility, and travel funds to attend conferences to present research findings. 
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