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Teacher's Institute at HIMB

Published 2014-06-23

The Climate Science Teacher's Institute (CSTI) is currently underway at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. CSTI is a COSEE run program teaching middle and high school teachers the fundamentals of climate science with a special focus on marine biology in Hawaii. The teachers are an enthusiastic crowd and thus far learned about earth and atmospheric systems, climate variability, paleoclimate, climate projections under different emission scenarios and how climate change is affecting coral reef ecosystems and other marine communities. We've had several fantastic guest speakers and will... (more)

Our Ocean 2014

Published 2014-06-16

On June 16-17, 2014 the US Department of State is hosting Our Ocean conference focused on sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and ocean acidification. What makes this conference stand out in the marine science arena is that it is promoted and developed by Senator John Kerry and involves individual practitioners, advocates and lawmakers, and, more importantly, the conference focuses on solutions rather than problems. The goal of this conference is to come up with ideas for tangible actions and policies that can improve the future of our oceans by the time the conference concludes. See... (more)

Mixed effects of temperature and OA on CCA

Published 2014-06-09

Much of research today is focused on how increasing ocean temperatures and acidification will impact our ocean, and of particular interest are effects on coral reef ecosystems. While increasing ocean temperatures are thought to facilitate negative processes on coral reefs, such as pathogen growth, acidification threatens the structure of many potential hosts such as coral and coralline algae suggesting the effect of these two stressors may be more complex than we originally thought. Several graduate students at the University of Hawaii were involved in a research project examining temperature... (more)

Photo-identifying seahorses

Published 2014-06-02

Off the southern tip of Portugal lays a semi-enclosed lagoon which once was home to the densest known population of seahorses in the world. Studies conducted a decade after those reports confirmed population declines in two sympatric species of 94% and 87%. Thus, seahorse conservation is of high interest in the region. Most studies estimating population densities and distributions use tagging and mark-recapture techniques that are invasive to the organism and may cause stress; a less invasive option that has been successful for several animal populations is photo-identification. Correia... (more)

Eelgrass wasting disease part deux

Published 2014-05-26

Following up with last's weeks blog, this week I will discuss a more recent study on eelgrass wasting disease that I had the opportunity to assist during field and laboratory trials. This research was recently published in the journal 'Diseases of Aquatic Organisms' by Groner et al. While epidemics of eelgrass wasting disease are less common than in the early 1900s, potentially due evolutionary changes in host resistance, seagrasses and eelgrasses are still vulnerable in many parts of the world. In the Pacific Northwest (US) there have been several areas where seagrass has declined over... (more)

Seagrass wasting disease: loosing strength

Published 2014-05-19

Zostera marina is the most abundant seagrass in North America and an ecologically important species providing coastline protection and helping to sustain livelihoods; it has also experienced devastating mortality due to disease outbreaks. In the 1930’s the endophytic protist Labyrinthula zosterae caused the world’s largest reported seagrass die-off event. This disease was termed ‘wasting disease’ and it affected populations along the Atlantic coast of North America, the European Atlantic, the North and Wadden Sea and the Baltic Sea, France, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Germany and... (more)

seaHarmony Survey

Published 2014-05-15

Whether you've used seaHarmony just a little, or a lot, we would like your input! Please help us improve seaHarmony by completing our brief survey. And enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card! (more)

Schooling fish help explain group behavior

Published 2014-05-12

In the Disney movie Finding Nemo, Marlin asks schooling moonfish for directions to Sydney during which the school makes ornate 3-D patterns resembling a sailboat, arrow and even a clownfish (mocking Marlin). While in reality, schooling fish cannot react to a conversation with another fish, nor can they create ornate patterns, they do make group decisions based on environmental cues and make rapid movements en masse. A study recently published by Kao and Couzin (PNAS 2014) explored decision making behavior in groups by developing two mathematical models of schooling fish. Early theoretical... (more)

Oil affects developing pelagic fish hearts

Published 2014-05-05

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill resulted in the release of more than 4 million barrels (636 million L) of oil at depth into the pelagic zone of an ocean ecosystem and rose to warm mixed and surface layers of the northern Gulf of Mexico between April 10 and July 14, 2010. This was unfortunately during the spawning window for many commercially import fish species, including bluefin tuna and many other large predator species (e.g., mackerel, amberjack, sailfish, marlin, mahi mahi, and other tunas). The fertilized eggs produced by all these pelagic fish are buoyant, and therefore float in the... (more)

The Phoenix Effect: a story of coral recovery

Published 2014-04-28

In a shallow sandy lagoon off Rangiroa Atoll in French polynesia, a distinctive reef habitat exists formed entirely by living giants: massive Porites coral colonies. On average, these colonies measure 2.65 meters in diameter with the largest measured colony at a whopping 7.1 meter wide - which suggests the colony is anywhere between 284-497 years old! George Roff et al. reported a remarkable recovery in Porites after the mass mortality which followed the 1997/1998 El Nino Southern Oscillation, which caused coral bleaching and death in much of the living coral tissue in Rangiroa. They have... (more)