School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
Gates HD Under H2O video image

How to train your coral

Coral bleaching is a huge threat to the planet's coral reefs. Instead of dwelling on the doom and gloom of the future oceanic conditions that corals are facing, Ruth Gates of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) is using cutting edge technology to try to understand the processes at work deep inside coral tissues. Click on the image or title to watch the video.

Click on the preview image or the title to view the video in a pop-up window (you may need to turn off pop-up blockers). Please visit our video page to see more SOEST videos.

SOEST in the News

Photo of scuba diver and coral How to train your coral

One of the very real and immediate impacts of climate change is widespread death of the living corals that make up the building blocks of reefs. Warming oceans are the main cause in a threat to corals known as coral bleaching. When water temperatures are too high, symbiotic plants that live inside the tissues of healthy corals suddenly leave, causing a once colorful animal to turn stark white. If the warm temperatures persist, and the coral remains without its partner plants long enough, the coral will die. HIMB researcher Ruth Gates is working to find a solution: her lab focuses on understanding the processes that happen inside living corals in hopes of understanding how we might be able to help these animals survive the conditions of the future.

Read more about at Huffington Post, and watch the video on our video page. Image courtesy of HD Under H2O; click on it to see the full version.

Drone image That’s not a drone, that’s a researcher

For the average consumer, drones might just be toys, but for businesses, researchers, and government agencies, especially in Hawai‘i, they’re the latest tool helping them work more quickly, safely, and economically. Craig Glenn, a professor of Geology and Geophysics (G&G), and his graduate student Joseph Kennedy are using them in their research on fresh groundwater entering the ocean. Using advanced thermal infrared imaging collected by drone-mounted sensors, they’re looking at tiny differences in coastal water temperatures, which they can then use to pinpoint where groundwater enters the ocean, how long it took to get there, and how it — and anything in it like waste, chemicals, or fertilizer — impacts marine ecosystems and reefs.

Read more about it in the Honolulu Civil Beat and the Government Executive. Image courtesy of J. Rushin / Civil Beat; click on it to see the full version

Photo of diver and bigeye trevallys Broad view of human influence on Pacific ecosystems

A sobering report, part of NOAA’s Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program and published in PLOS ONE by SOEST researchers and their colleagues, draws on data from nearly 40 islands and atolls across the central and western Pacific — including 25 unpopulated islands — to investigate the relative influence of environmental variation and human presence on reef fish assemblages. After accounting for environmental variation among the reefs, the team of scientists estimates that human presence is associated with large reductions in reef fish biomass compared to projections for an uninhabited state, but the affect is variable. Kate Hanson, an Oceanography postdoctoral fellow, is a co-author of the paper.

Read more about it in the UH System News, PhysOrg, and EurekAlert!. NOAA photo by B. Ruttenburg of NMFS SEFSC; click on it to see the full version.

Please visit SOEST in the News: 2015 for archived news articles, with links to previous years.

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