July 2017
Courtesy: NASA & U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team
Using NASA satellite data, Estelle Bonny, a graduate student in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and her mentor Robert Wright, a researcher at the Hawaiʻi Institute for Geophysics and Planetology, recently discovered that infrared satellite data could be used to predict when lava flow-forming eruptions will end. Being able to predict the end of a lava flow-forming eruption is significant because it will greatly reduce the disturbance caused to those affected by the eruption, for example, populations who have been forced to evacuate. In the future, the researchers plan to use this approach during an ongoing eruption as a near-real time predictive tool.
Credit: Terry Hunt
Research by an international team, including SOEST geology professor Brian Popp, has shed new light on the fate of the ancient people of Rapa Nui. Their study challenges the 'ecocide' hypothesis that attributes societal collapse on Rapa Nui to human overexploitation of natural resources. They discovered that the ancient population ate roughly equal amounts of seafood and terrestrial resources and agricultural crops were planted in soils that were deliberately managed and manipulated to provide better yields. The research highlights unique and varied environmental adaptations that Pacific Islanders have shown through time. "Lessons from the past and from traditional island societies have value and relevance today," said lead author Catrine Jarman.
Courtesy: Asa Ellison
The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) will develop a high-resolution, real-time wave run-up forecast and notification system for West Maui's coastline with a $500,000 award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. West Maui is affected by flooding, wave inundation and chronic shoreline erosion. PacIOOS will also model a suite of inundation planning scenarios that take rising sea levels and increasing wave energies into account. Site-specific, short- and long-term forecasts will strengthen West Maui's coastal community and economy by enhancing preparedness and response operations, and by informing future land use planning.
Courtesy: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
Biodiversity losses from deep-sea mining are unavoidable and possibly irrevocable, an international team of 15 marine scientists, including oceanography professor Craig Smith, resource economists and legal scholars argue in a letter published in Nature Geoscience. The experts say the International Seabed Authority, which is responsible for regulating undersea mining outside national jurisdictions, must recognize this risk. They say it must also communicate the risk clearly to inform discussions about whether deep-seabed mining should proceed and, if so, what safeguards need to be in place to minimize biodiversity loss.
Credit: Paepae o He'
The newly released Loko I'a 2.0 iPhone app allows users to explore He'eia fishpond on Oahu, Hawai'i through guided on-site and virtual tours, photos, narration, natural history, culture, and science. The new version, created through a collaboration led by the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology, includes access to real-time data from water quality sensors in the native Hawaiian fishpond, sections on Mea Ola (pond life) and 'Ike Hawai'i (Hawaiian knowledge), as well as all new graphics and images. The goal of the app is to promote technology-enabled, place-based learning, and to highlight the integration of science, traditional knowledge, and cultural practice to help restore Hawaiian fishponds.
The HIMB Research Experiences in Marine Science (REMS) summer program, an advanced, inquiry-driven and experiential marine biology summer course hosted at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), just completed its fifth year. The course builds science and environmental literacy skills for Hawai'i high school students and recent graduates. The 2017 cohort of 18 students and 6 peer mentors who are alumni of the program recently completed the program and presented their team research projects to family, friends, and other distinguished guests. Small groups of students worked with peer mentors and staff instructors to conduct original research related to how human impacts and global change affect coral reef ecosystems.
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