09 Mar: Predicting and mapping Hawaiian mesophotic coral ecosystems for sustainable coastal development

PI: Robert Toonen
This study sought to address our fundamental lack of knowledge regarding vulnerable low-light, mesophotic coral ecosystems (at depths of 30-180 m) in order to better manage impacts from invasive species, coastal development, and exploration. By using statistical modeling, combined with machine learning, researchers created predictive maps to illustrate the distribution of mesophotic reefs and invasive algae across the main Hawaiian Islands. They found that all islands had some stretches of coastline identified as highly susceptible to invasion of the green alga Avrainvillea amadelpha, in both shallow and mesophotic depths.

09 Mar: Integration of next-generation sequencing into traditional Hawaiian practices to improve management and restoration of fishponds

PI: Robert Toonen
With Hawaiian fishponds as models of sustainable aquatic resource management, this study uses two important crab species, Portunus sanguinolentus hawaiiensis and Scylla serrata, to explore whether fishponds are self-seeding, importing, or exporting species, and whether traditional harvest practices continue to be viable. Early results show a broad diversity of crab sizes, with a possibility of tagging and tracking crabs outside the fishpond, as well as within.

09 Mar: Assessing the vulnerability of coastal wastewater infrastructure to climate change

Clean water is vital for stable economic growth, as well as human and environmental health. Water, wastewater services, and other critical infrastructures enable communities to prosper while protecting sensitive habitats and species. However, our increasing understanding of climate change threats to our wastewater services suggests that our infrastructure is vulnerable to disruptions and failures.

09 Mar: Longitudinal assessment: Our Project in Hawaiʻi’s Intertidal (OPIHI)

PI: Kanesa Seraphin
This project revisited the Hawaiian intertidal zone, last studied over a decade ago, to document, monitor, and assess changes in species compositions due to factors like climate change, coastal development, and the spread of invasive species. The project trained and mentored undergraduate students as interns, for college credit, gaining important, required hands-on research experience. By engaging these students as well as community members in this place-based research, 48 comprehensive surveys were completed across the state, with preliminary results suggesting the spread of invasive algae and changes to water quality.

09 Mar: The use of a euryhaline Tilapia to assess the endocrine disrupting effects of anthropogenic chemicals on growth and osmoregulation of a tropical teleost species inhabiting coastal waters and wetlands in Hawaiʻi and the tropics

PI: Andre Seale
This work sought to understand the integrated physiological and developmental effects of endocrine-disrupting agricultural chemicals on the tropical euryhaline tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus. Mozambique tilapia are widely used for aquaculture production so this research may better inform those interested in the effects of these waterborne chemicals on the growth and health of these fish. It will also provide critical information towards proper management of pesticide use and water resources to mitigate the effects of these agricultural chemicals on aquatic wildlife in general.