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Scientists share discoveries at Ocean Sciences Meeting
Dozens of University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) scientists and student researchers will present new research findings at the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting at the Hawai‘i Convention Center on February 24-28. This 17th biennial meeting will be the largest international assembly of oceanographers and other aquatic science researchers and policy makers, with attendance expected to exceed 4,000.
A selection of School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) highlights includes the following:
Science Research Sessions and Presentations:
Celebrating 25 years of sustained marine observations, scientists working at the open ocean field site Station ALOHA will share biological, chemical and physical oceanography discoveries deriving from Hawai‘i’s own unique ocean science field programs. Station ALOHA was established by the Hawaiʻi Ocean Time-series (HOT) program in 1988, and has been visited on a monthly basis since that time. The emerging data comprise one of the only existing records of decadal-scale ecosystem change in the North Pacific Ocean. "Time series research is more important than ever before; understanding planetary change requires high quality observations and measurements,” said Matthew Church, UHM Oceanography Professor and HOT Program Principle Investigator. “Humans are influencing the oceans in many ways, and measurements made at Station ALOHA are helping us understand and document how ocean ecosystems are responding to these changes." This session includes more than 25 presentations drawing from observations from present day back to 1988, including long-term changes and trends observed in ocean biology, chemistry, and physics. Among the notable topics highlighted in this session include documenting ocean acidification, studies on time-varying changes in biodiversity, and the influence of local and regional climate on ocean ecosystem behavior around Hawai‘i.
Chip Fletcher, UHM Geology Professor and his team will describe their effort to monitor and evaluate beach erosion rates at the Royal Hawaiian Beach in Waikīkī. One year after a major sand replenishment program, the beach width appears to vary by location and by season, resulting in net erosion in eastern and western portions of beach.
In the “Story of Marine Debris from the 2011 Tsunami in Japan,” UHM International Pacific Research Center scientists Jan Hafner and Nikolai Maximenko will present the latest synthesis of modeling and observations over the 3 years tracking the debris. This synthesis has resulted in understanding the pathways of the drift from the debris. The improved ocean drift model can help locate marine debris, marine animals, and people lost at sea.
Other research presentations will focus on ocean acidification, sea-level rise and inundation, and climate change including extreme sea level variability due to El Nino events, among many other topics.
Education and Engagement:
UH Mānoa’s Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute are hosting a Youth Science Symposium on Tuesday, February 25, from 4-6 p.m. Nearly 20 middle and high school youth scientists will present posters of their research.
SOEST will share several programs aimed at recruiting Native Hawaiian students into ocean and earth science. Funded by C-MORE and NSF, the Ocean TECH program engages middle school, high school and community college students in the ocean and earth sciences through technology, career pathways and interaction with career professionals. Funded by the UHM Sea Grant College Program and offered in partnership with Kapiʻolani and Leeward Community Colleges, the SOEST Maile Mentoring Bridge supports Native Hawaiian students throughout their undergraduate years through mentoring relationships that offer encouragement and the sharing of academic and non-academic knowledge.
“Marine Microbiological Mysteries” is a new UHM Outreach College program designed for grades 9-12 to help foster interest in pursuing STEM careers. The hands-on learning opportunity at the Waikīkī Aquarium places microbiology in a real-world context. This presentation is part of an OSM session titled "Sea-ing connections: Ocean science as a catalyst to inspire the next wave of young (preK-16) scientists and keep students engaged within and outside the classroom."