science

Hawaiian Monk Seal Vaccinations Begin On Oahu

Feb 22, 2016
Flickr / Robin Wendler
Flickr / Robin Wendler

Researchers say the endangered Hawaiian monk seal population is on the rise. But so is the threat of a fatal virus that could wipe out the native species if it reaches Hawai‘i. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports on new efforts to prevent a future outbreak.

In case you’ve ever wondered how to vaccinate a wild Hawaiian monk seal, the first thing you’ll need is one of these. “This is a pole-syringe,” said Michelle Barbieri, holding up a 4-foot long spring loaded pole. She’s a veterinarian for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hawaiian monk seal program.

University of Hawaii
University of Hawaii

Scientists say a disease killing hundreds of thousands of ‘ōhi‘a trees on Hawaii's Big Island is spreading. Recent aerial surveys show the acreage of infected trees has more than doubled in the past two years. State, county and federal agencies collaborated to conduct the surveys by helicopter last month. The fungal disease, called Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death, was found in 34,000 acres of ‘ōhi‘a forest. Rob Hauff is the Forest Health Coordinator with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Duncan Hull / Flickr
Duncan Hull / Flickr

Here's a story to take you back to high school biology class.

You may recall that the "Y" chromosome is present in all males.  While a lot remains unknown about that gene, a recent study shows that it can be mimicked or replaced. The application of that knowledge could lead to advances in fertility treatments.

A team from the Institute for Biogenesis Research at the John A. Burns School of Medicine spent the last 2 years researching replacements for the Y chromosome.

Hooked On The High Seas

Jan 27, 2016
SOI / Michelle Schwengel-Regala
SOI / Michelle Schwengel-Regala

A research ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is not the kind of place where you would expect to find artists. But a new partnership is bringing together art and science through a residency program on board The Falkor, part of the Schmidt Ocean Institute. HPR’s Molly Solomon caught up with a local fiber artist who was able to hop aboard.

Pacific Fire Exchange
Pacific Fire Exchange

Scientists with the University of Hawai‘i are mapping the human impact of wildfires in the islands.

Over the past decade, the state has experienced on average, more than 1,000 fires burning over 20,000 acres each year.  Relative to total land area, the percentage of Hawai‘i’s land that burned from 2005 to 2011 was roughly equivalent to a fire consuming the western United States.

Robert Hartwick
Robert Hartwick

Box jellyfish are responsible for more deaths each year than shark attacks.  But despite the danger, scientists and medical professionals still do not agree on the best way to treat and manage jellyfish stings.

Researchers at UH Mānoa have developed an array of experiments to allow scientists to safely test first-aid measures used for box jellyfish stings without using human subjects.  By creating an artificial skin with human cells, scientists were able to simulate a sting and test different scenarios.

Flickr / Tchami
Flickr / Tchami

Most people in Hawai‘i are familiar with the Hawaiian green sea turtle, frequently spotted on island beaches. Far less common is its cousin, the hawksbill turtle. With only 100 breeding adults left in Hawaii, much is still unknown about the endangered species. But recent research suggests the answers may lie in its shell.  HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

Alan L / Flickr
Alan L / Flickr

Hawai‘i residents will have a rare opportunity to visit the telescopes atop Mauna Kea.

The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center will begin a series of tours beginning this Saturday to see the telescopes and learn about the cultural and environmental importance of the mountain. The Kama‘āina Visitor Experience is held on every third Saturday, and space is limited.  It’s offered on a first come, first served basis with only 24 seats available each month. 

Norbert Schörghofer via aaarjournal.org
Norbert Schörghofer via aaarjournal.org

Researchers with the University of Hawai‘i are studying the potential impact of climate change on melting ice on Mauna Loa.

In the 1970’s researchers documented two frozen lava tubes perched more than eleven-thousand feet above sea level.  Scientists say the lava tubes could be between 750 and 1,500 years old - and the ice inside may contain clues to Hawai‘i’s past environmental conditions.

Ned Ruby Kewalo Marine Laboratory
Ned Ruby Kewalo Marine Laboratory

Researchers with the University of Hawai‘i are using what they call a “charismatic squid” to demonstrate the relationship between bacteria and living creatures.

Ocean Robot Dives for Data in Maunalua Bay

Dec 10, 2015
Liquid Robotics
Liquid Robotics

Scientists are turning to new technologies to determine the health of Maunalua Bay. A new ocean robot is collecting data on everything from turbidity levels to pollutants in the water. HPR’s Molly Solomon took a boat tour of the bay and has this report.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

  Today on Bytemarks Cafe, we’ll discuss planetary research being done at the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. We’ll talk about New Horizons, Rosetta, Lunar and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the technologies developed here in Hawaii.

Keck Observatory
Keck Observatory

Twenty five years ago- the Keck Observatory opened the dome above its telescope to look into the night sky. Since then- its twin domes on top of Mauna Kea have hosted generations of scientists and students.

Schmidt Ocean Institute
Schmidt Ocean Institute

A research team with the Schmidt Ocean Institute has just finished mapping the world’s largest undersea volcano.

Tamu Massif is an undersea volcano off the coast of Guam which lies 6,500 feet below the surface.  For perspective- it’s about the size of New Mexico. 

Researchers aboard the Falkor research vessel were able to map about 98% of the area – filling in gaps of information about the geography of the volcano.  Scientists also collected almost 2-million magnetic measurements which help to better understand how the volcano was formed.

James St. John / Flickr
James St. John / Flickr

Rock formations can tell scientists a lot about changes in the earth. Fractures in bedrock affect where drinking water will flow and the path magma will take as it pushes toward the surface.

Now a team of researchers at the University of Hawai‘I, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Wyoming and elsewhere has created a model that measures horizontal pressure on rock layers.

Michele Reynolds/USGS
Michele Reynolds/USGS

Rising sea level and climate change could leave some atolls in the Pacific and Indian Ocean uninhabitable. That’s according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. And as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, researchers worry that could happen sooner than you think.

The study was recently published in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal.

USGS
USGS

Lava flowing from Kīlauea is the subject of a new study. Researchers from Hawai‘i and the mainland are partnering on a three-year project to better understand active volcanoes. And as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, it could lead to improved predictions and disaster preparedness.

Dealing with an active lava flow can be unpredictable. Pāhoa residents learned this firsthand, after spending months in limbo as lava neared the Big Island town. A new study may pinpoint ways to better assess volcanoes.

Raphael Ritson-Williams
Raphael Ritson-Williams

Researchers with the University of Hawaii at Manoa are being honored for their work to understand and reverse coral bleaching. The team headed by Ruth Gates and Madeleine van Oppen from the Australian Institute of Marine Science attempts to grow coral that’s resistant to the effects of global warming and rising levels of acid in the water.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

We talked with members of the brand new Science Communicators Ohana from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In today's world, understanding science has become more important than ever before. But what forms of communication are best suited for advancing science literacy?

Town Square: The TMT Project

May 28, 2015
wikimedia.org

  The TMT project is often characterized as Science versus the Hawaiian Community. What that simplification doesn’t show is the varied and nuanced perspectives with in the Hawaiian Community. We’ll talk about them this week on Town Square with Annelle Amaral, Peter Apo and Williamson Chang.  

Opah: First Discovered Warm-Blooded Fish

May 16, 2015
NOAA / Ralph Pace
NOAA / Ralph Pace

  It’s not just mammals and birds that belong to the warm blooded family. Opah is now believed to be the world’s first known fish to be completely warm-blooded. That’s according to researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

Wegner’s findings are published in the recent issue of Science.

Five Teams Compete For $2M Science Prize in Hawaii

May 13, 2015
Flickr / janhatesmarcia
Flickr / janhatesmarcia

Only five teams remain in the running to win up to $2 million to help save the world’s oceans. The finalists are building technology that aims to effectively measure the changing climate under the sea. The teams are currently in Hawai‘i and are set to embark on a 6-day trip off the coast of Oahu to test their innovations at deep sea levels. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Scientists with the University of Hawaii at Manoa are using Microbes to take a pulse on the ocean’s health. Photoautotrophes are light-loving bacteria that need solar energy to photosynthesize food.  Though these microbes are too small to see, they are the very basic element of the ocean’s food chain.  Scientists took samples from different areas, and discovered that the presence of morning light causes all the microbes to photosynthesize at the same.

First we'll cover some local science and tech stories, then we'll speak with Arthur Garbiso, HICTA President, about the upcoming HICTA Conference. Also Jay Fidell will join us to give us an update on Think Tech shows and panels. Finally, we'll talk to two science writers, Sarah CP Williams and Brittany Moya del Pino about the citizen science and the fledgling Science Writers Association.

Thomas Linley Rattial
Thomas Linley Rattial

Scientists exploring the Marianas Trench returned to Hawaii with a few surprising discoveries.  An international team onboard the Falkor research vessel used deep sea vehicles to dive more than 34,000 feet. They studied how life adapts to ocean depths and the history of volcanic activity.

http://www.chem.hawaii.edu/
http://www.chem.hawaii.edu/

Chemists with the University of Hawaii say that a key building block of life may have come from outer space.

They say that Glycerol, an important molecule in Earth’s living organisms may have formed in space more than 4 billion years ago.

astropixels.com
astropixels.com

The University of Hawaii Astronomy program has picked up a new telescope.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Fungus is a living organism that’s all around us.

It grows on the walls, on our skin, but also on coral, and it’s become a link to understand how species can evolve.  It turns out that the fungus linked to dandruff and flakey skin is very similar to a strain that lives on Hawaiian coral, arctic soil, and deep sea vents.

Fishy Labeling Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Aug 20, 2014
Flickr / michellerlee
Flickr / michellerlee

Mislabeling of seafood is a growing problem that often hits consumers at their wallets. But a new study out of the University of Hawai‘i suggests the impacts could be far more than economic. They might even be hazardous to your health. HPR’s Molly Solomon explains.

You can read the full report here.

China’s Stress Cam

Aug 11, 2014
outdoors.stackexchange.com
outdoors.stackexchange.com

  Scientists in China are working on a new approach that they hope may help fight terrorism. But it also raises questions about crowds, control, and government surveillance. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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