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Seaw rds The Marine Option Program Newsletter

April 2016


“The MOP turtle tagging trip is a favorite and gives

each participant a platform to try something new and establish new skills whether it be in the water capturing a turtle, talking with the public or working alongside professionals.”


April 2016

Volume XXX, Number 4

Articles Page 3: Letter from the Editor Page 4: Turtle Tagging Page 7: Ocean Updates Page 10: Global Warming: Update. Page 12: 2016 Photo Competition Announcement Page 14: Three Spheres of Awareness Page 16: How long does it take? Page 18: Ocean Art Page 20: Generation Blue Page 22: Marine Mammal of the Month Page 24: Flashback Page 26: Critter of the Month Page 28: MOP calendar of events

About the Photography -Cover: 2015 Photography Contestant, Joshua Levy, UHM MOP -Table of Contents: 2015 Photography Contestant, Joshua Levy, UHM MOP -February calendar of events: Rebecca Ziegler, UHH MOP Alumna -Back cover: Bryan Dieter, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and Photo Contestant -All uncredited photos by: MOP -Disclaimer: any photo taken from is used under the Creative Commons License and is credited appropriately.

Letter from the Editor


loha readers of Seawords!

The April issue of Seawords is the green issue that is dedicated to the awareness of Earth Day. Ocean Updates by Mason Mellot, UHM MOP Student, highlights several ways you can get involved with and help your community and ocean, while still having loads of fun! Emily Menzies, UHM MOP Student, also breaks down on our currently Global Warming status that has grown to a major concern within the past year. We also have Jessica Lotts, UHM MOP Student, who provides a brief history of Earth Day and how to be more environmentally friendly. This Seawords also contains the most anticipated UHH MOP event of the year, turtle tagging! This is when MOP Students get to help the Turtle Recovery Team collect important data on the Hawaiian green sea turtles. Also, when you’re out diving this month be sure to keep the Three Spheres of Awareness in mind, which Tyler Phelps, UHH MOP Student, explains in his Dive Safety article on page 12. Can you find our April Fool’s Joke? Look for it throughout the issue! It’s time for Seawords’ 4th annual photography competition! And we want YOUR ocean-tastic photos! For rules & guidelines, please see Dean Hall room 105 or visit: mop/?q=photography-contest-rules-guidelines. Please send your submissions to: Mahalo to all the contributing authors and support that made this issue possible. Thank you for reading,

Camra Hopper, Seawords Editor



n February 11, UHH MOP packed up the vans early morning to take students on one of the most anticipated events of the year: turtle tagging. The Hawaiian green turtle (Chelonia mydas) population was almost depleted in the 1960’s from commercial over-fishing. In 1985, a Turtle Recovery Team was formed between the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Hawai‘i State Department of Land and Natural Resources. Their recovery plan was submitted in 1987 and green sea turtles received state and federal protection (Penisten and Dudley 1991). The honu is a turtle with a specific genetic stock that only nests in Hawai‘i, almost exclusively at French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Balazs 2015 and Hawaiian Green Turtle Life History NOAA 2011). It has been found that females start nesting between ages 17-28, the average being 23 years (Balazs 2015 and Van Houtan et al. 2014). They are thought to live between 60-70 years. There are many factors affecting the long-term survival of these turtles including: habitat destruction, ille-

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Written by: Keelee Martin, UHH MOP Student Photos by: Dennis Fukushima ,UHH MOP Student gal harvest, boat strikes, ingestion of and entanglement in fishing line, recreational fishing encounters and climate change (Hawaiian Green Turtle Life History NOAA 2011 and Protected Resources NOAA 2015). For over 30 years, UHH MOP has maintained a relationship with George Balazs, a sea turtle biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (NOAA). Balazs has been studying depleted turtle stocks, restorative measures and human cultural aspects for more than 40 years. In 1987, Marc Rice, the director of the Sea Turtle Research Program at Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA) began assisting Balazs to capture, measure, and tag green turtles in order to study them. Back in the vans, MOP students neared the research site. Punalu‘u Beach is located on the southeastern coast of Ka‘u and is a place that holds a lot of cultural significance, as well as a large population of green turtles. Under permit from the National Marine Fisheries Service, MOP students were able to act as research assistants for this ongoing project.

Vans were unloaded, gear was set up and the research tent was in place. Being able to conduct research in such a locally significant area was a privilege and a pleasure. With that in mind, having the proper attitude for the day was critical. Makani Gregg, a UHH Marine Science B.S. and M.Sc. graduate and her students from Kua O Ka Lā Charter School led an oli (Hawaiian chant). The entire research team stood facing the water breathing in the moment. Toes were buried in the black sand as the waves rolled in and the morning sun warmed up the beach. Those who knew the chant, E Hō Mai, spoke with the line of Kua O Ka Lā students, and when we finished they led the rest of the oli. The mana (power) was present and it was time to begin. At Punalu‘u, Balazs, accompanied by his visitor Connie Ng from Hong Kong, gathered the group and spoke. He thanked Gregg and her students for sharing such a beautiful part of Hawaiian culture with us and for beginning the day. Balazs tagged his first turtle on the beach at Punalu‘u in 1976, and he’s captured hundreds since. He told us about the legend of

Kauila who had the ability to morph between woman and turtle and how she would play with and keep watch over the children on the beach. She gave them a spring with fresh water to drink and it is said that you can still feel her presence at Punalu‘u today (Balazs 1996). This was the 40th year of turtle research done at Punalu‘u, and the standards and expectations of the students were in place. MOP students and HPA high school students got into teams and everyone began their roles. Led by Rice, the first team hit the water. Each team had a leader who had been on a turtle tagging event before, it was their job to make sure each member was in position and felt comfortable with what they were doing. Teams in the water looked for turtles that were distracted with eating the red seaweed, Pterocladiella capillacea, the only food source chosen by green turtles at Punalu‘u (Balazs 1994). Once a turtle was spotted, one person would sneak up behind and grasp the turtle while the rest of the team would come around to assist in placing the turtle on its back in an inner tube to be carefully floated back into shore. Turtles are stronger than they look, and once they’ve seen you in the water and decide to swim off you’ve missed your opportunity. There’s no hope catching up to them. There was no try, only do.

experience handling a wild animal and since without a research permit it is illegal to touch green turtles, it is an odd experience plucking them out of the water and holding them through the process. When the turtle was taken up to the research tent, some of the measurements included were weight, carapace (shell) length and width. Note was taken of any carapace damage or injuries, any limu (seaweed) that was in the mouth and each turtle was checked for Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag ID numbers. Most of the turtles captured had already been tagged because tagging events at Punalu‘u have been ongoing. In the case that a turtle had no tags, it had not been caught before and it would be tagged for future identification. Once measurements were complete, a small paint mark would be made on the carapace so the same turtle would not be caught again and the team would release the turtle back into the water.

Teams not in the water or standing by on the beach to collect snorkel gear from the capturing team, talked with locals and tourists about who we were and what we were doing. As a student, volunteering as a research assistant on a project that has been going on for decades and given the responsibility of sharing that information with people is absolutely incredible and undeniably nerve-racking. It is a feeling of importance, integrity, and value—a pressure to bring an issue from a scientific point of view into a social context as an environmental issue that people should care about. Glenn Ferrier, MOP student said, “because of the sensitivity of the work and the topics of the turtles, [public relations were] essential.” For some visitors to Hawai‘i, it is new information that it is illegal to touch a turtle (Penisten and Dudley 1991). For them to then see students take them out of the water, “[it] could have easily been misunder-

Once a turtle was brought out of the water, the team assisted with data collection. The group must communicate as they navigate over the submerged rocks while the turtle is in the inner tube, lifting and lowering the turtle on and off the beach and keeping the turtle stationary until it’s time for release into the water. For some students, this was the first APRIL 2016 |5

stood,” Ferrier explains. For this rea- the turtle response team. “The UHH of situation, no matter how grueson, the communication job for the MOP turtle response team heavily some it can be,” said Fukushima. If day was arguably the you see an injured, most important. As dead or stranded beginner scientists, turtle you can reach building public relathe response team tions and communiat (808)-286-4359. cation skills during To get more inforfieldwork is absomation about vollutely necessary. unteering or what situations should be Jen Sims, lecturer at called in visit uhhUHH and of the MOP/ tleresponse/. NOAA Sea Turtle Stranding Response The MOP turtle tagTeam said that the ging trip is a favorite goal for this MOP and gives each parevent was to, “assist ticipant a platform and help perpetuate to try something this very significant new and establish and historic data set on green [turnew skills whether it be in the warelies on volunteers to help on calls tles] in Hawai‘i, to expose students ter capturing a turtle, talking with concerning injured, sick, distressed to varying research experiences and the public or working alongside or deceased turtles,” Fukushima extechniques [as well as having] perprofessionals. As of this last trip plains. The response team answers mission to work under special perto Punalu‘u, 271 individual turtles calls for the east coast of Hawai‘i mit for endangered species for the have been tagged, some of which Island. Volunteers are expected to day.” Assisting with turtle tagging have been caught repeatedly making navigate different terrain, be able to not only gives students the experifor 787 captures since 1976. Be sure work in a team when it comes to liftence of handling wild animals, asto check out the day using the photo ing a large turtle, be able to stomach sisting in data collection, and degallery at For the smell of a turtle (alive or dead), veloping communication skills, but a global perspective on Hawaiian as well as handle if any of the turtles also is an opportunity to make scigreen turtles you can visit www.iucare injured or amputees. “We need entific career connections as well. n volunteers to be ready for any kind For many students, this event fuels a desire for more time in the field. One great way to keep developing the skills introduced in the turtle tagging event is to volunteer for the MOP/NOAA Sea Turtle Stranding Response Team. Dennis Fukushima, a biological assistant for the response team, said, “turtle tagging allows UHH students to gain valuable fieldwork experience: what parameters are measured, how to handle live animals, and how to educate the general public about the research being conducted.” These are the skills that transfer over for working with 6| Seawords

cean updates

By Mason Mellot, UHM MOP Student

The Ocean Cleanup Platform by Boyan Slat, an aerospace engineering student whose concern with our environment has come up with possible solution to tackle our oceanic plastic pollution issue. Photo by Hasegawa Takashi, Flickr.

The International Coastal Cleanup The Ocean Conservancy is an organization dedicated to creating science-based solutions to protect the ocean. Each year the company organizes the International Coastal Cleanup, a worldwide event dedicated toward removing trash from coastlines. The event is held on the coastlines of lakes and oceans, focusing more on the Great Lakes in past years. In 2014 the project had more than 560,000 volunteers in 91 different countries and removed an outstanding 16 million pounds of debris from 13,000 miles of coastline. The fact that the Ocean Conservancy has been doing the International Coastal Cleanup for over three decades is even more amazing. Over these 30 years the Ocean Conservancy has removed more than 192 million pounds of trash from coastlines in all 50 states and 153 countries. The impact that this annual event has on the ocean is unimaginably large, and is easily one of the most prominent events in the fight against ocean pollution. The International Coastal Cleanup for 2016 is scheduled for Sept. 17. Sustainable Coastlines Hawai‘i announced that Waimanalo, on O‘ahu’s East Side, will be home to the Earth Day Cleanup Festival on April 30. Check in for this event in 9 a.m., but to volunteer in the International Coastline Cleanup one can visit the Ocean Conservancy website.

Patch they think of a giant island-like mass of trash floating around in the open ocean. The reality is that the vast majority of plastic waste in the pacific is micro plastic that have been broken down over time and circulate throughout the ocean by currents. It is possible to sail through a large patch of ocean debris without notice. Some larger trash items do float around in the ocean, but the real issue is with micro plastics that are much more difficult to remove and contribute more directly to pollution. There is an estimated 7.25 billion tons of plastic trapped in ocean gyres, large-scale currents in the open ocean. As these plastics break down they integrate into the ocean ecosystem more and more, being eaten by fish and releasing toxic chemicals into the sea. The concentration of harmful substances from ocean pollution is rising in the ocean water, and in the fish and animals in the ocean, many of which are consumed by humans.

Boyan Slat, CEO of the ocean cleanup project, designed a product to combat the Pacific garbage patch. Slat first became inspired to fight ocean pollution when he came across more plastic bags than fish while diving in Greece. At the age of 21, the young entrepreneur has developed a system that allows the oceans to clean themselves. Instead of using lots of money and manpower to trawl through the ocean with nets, essentially fishing for plasThe Ocean Cleanup Project tic, Boyan’s idea utilizes the direction of currents in the When most people think of the Great Pacific Garbage ocean gyres to naturally filter out debris in areas where APRIL 2016 |7

it naturally collects. The system involves a v-shaped array of 24 connected platforms that are all anchored to the seafloor. The array is about 100 kilometers long and is designed to trap debris pushed in by an ocean gyre. A mesh net between platforms extending down into the water traps plastics that naturally float higher in the water and funnel these plastics to the collection area located on each platform. Neutrally buoyant marine organisms can pass under the mesh unharmed, greatly reducing the problem of unintentionally removing living organisms by catch. It is estimated that with implementation of just a single array in one of the gyres in the Pacific would reduce the amount of plastic by 42% within ten years. In other words, about seventy million


kilograms of plastic could be removed from the ocean at the cost of about $4.97 per kilogram. Even though it seems like a costly and quite lengthy solution, Slat’s idea is actually relatively inexpensive and cleans the oceans very efficiently. The Ocean Cleanup Project has already received funding from people all over the world. Testing is still being done, but the system is planned to be implemented starting 2020.

Dive Against Debris

Microbeads are plastic particles less than five millimeters in diameter that are used in many health and beauty products to exfoliate or cleanse the skin. These micro plastics are designed to go down the drain and, in doing so, eventually reach the ocean. Microbeads have been used in a wide variety of products from shampoo to toothpaste. Micro plastics are much more detrimental to the health of the ocean than larger debris because they are harder to remove and when they break down they release chemicals into the water more readily. Much of the micro plastics in the ocean are formed by breaking down larger pieces of plastic over time, however microbeads are already very small and when they are released into the ocean they begin to break down further, causing a more immediate threat to ocean health than larger waste. Microbeads contribute to higher levels of toxic chemicals in the water, animals and fish. Fish can easily mistake microbeads for food, making it possible for the plastic to make its way into the food chain. Microbeads have contributed to a rise in plastic pollution in the ocean and in lakes in recent years. Recently President Obama signed a bipartisan bill banning the sale and distribution of products containing microbeads. Before the bill was signed it was estimated that over eight trillion microbeads were entering aquatic environments in the United States on a daily basis. The bill is intended to Tiny plastic beads, used in products such as facial cleansers and toothprotect our nation’s waterways from paste, have started showing up in lakes and oceans around the world. plastic pollution, and hopefully to Photo by: MPCA Photos, Flickr. foster a more sustainable relationship with the ocean. The bill will take effect July 2017.

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Dive Against Debris is a movement created by Project Aware that promotes the systematic removal of ocean debris by scuba divers. The program educates divers on ocean pollution, how to safely pick up debris while diving, what types of trash should be collected, and how to keep record of the trash that has been collected. The Dive Against Debris movement not only promotes the

removal of pollutants, but it also inspires people to fight pollution before pollutants reach the ocean. Many divers already clean up trash on their dives, but this movement aims to not only increase the number of divers actively cleaning the ocean, but also to raise general awareness of ocean pollution, its causes, and what can be done to prevent such pollution. While there are many other possible ways to remove debris from the ocean, the Dive Against Debris program helps specifically with trash that has sunk to the bottom and is more accessible to divers. The program also does a great job of involving people on a voluntary basis, but due to the voluntary nature of the program, their costs are cut because people are not hired for the event, and awareness and passion for the fight against ocean pollution is raised. The guidelines provided by the Dive Against Debris program are quite specific and include all participants uploading information on where they are removing trash, how much debris is being removed, and how often on the website. By systematically cleaning the ocean through voluntary involvement and keeping record of where, how, and to what extent the cleaning is done, the movement is providing valuable data on how much pollution there is, and what can be done to combat such problems.

some are simply small groups of friends doing good for the environment. No matter the type of beach cleanup, all aid in the effort to remove debris from the ocean and from beaches. This Earth Day make an effort to find a beach cleanup and do your part to clean up the ocean. The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Marine Option Program is holding a beach cleanup on Sunday, April 24th. The Surfrider Foundation and Sustainable UH are other organizations in Hawai‘i that often have beach cleanup events. Even if you can’t find a beach cleanup near you, you can always organize your own clean up event with friends. Regardless of size, time spent, and intensity of the beach cleanup, all efforts to reduce the amount of pollution in the ocean helps to keep our oceans clean, both locally and worldwide. n

Close to Home: Beach Cleanups Beach cleanups are popular around the world for their social and environmental aspects, for example, by cleaning debris off local beaches improves the health of the entire ocean and aides in ecotourism ventures. Beach cleanups promote the idea of a healthy relationship between humans and the ocean by inspiring people to be green and to make a difference in a personal way. Beach cleanups and reef cleanups are popular events throughout the Hawaiian Islands, as well as in businesses, nonprofit organizations, clubs, schools and groups of friends participate in cleanups. Although beach cleanups are often events organized by schools, clubs, or businesses, some cleanups are not well-planned events;

UHM MOP students weighing bags of trash during the 2015 MOP Earth Day Cleanup event. Photo by: Jeff Kuwabara, UHM MOP Coordinator.

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GlObal Warming: The Update. By Emily Menzies, UHM MOP Student


lobal temperatures have increased over the past 100 years and humans are responsible for this change. With the continued emissions of greenhouse gases and the exploitation of Earth’s natural resources, it is no mystery that we are causing the rise in global temperature. In 2015, the average surface temperature of the Earth was the warmest it has ever been since modern record keeping began in 1880, according to NASA and NOAA’s independent data. The global average temperatures rose 0.23˚F, which set the record for the largest yearly temperature increase. Although 2015’s temperature had an assist from El Niño and its shifting of upper air wind currents, the increase in global temperature is a cumulative effect of a long-term trend of greenhouse gas emissions. Over the past few decades, more countries that were once considered third-world countries have developed in ways that require them to use more energy. In order to obtain energy, the developing countries need to produce energy in an economically viable way, which is by burning coal. Burning coal, although cheap and efficient, emits a high amount of

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carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. by the world's oceans. Carbon dioxide dissolving in the ocean forms Although many places around the carbonic acid, which increases the world, like the U.S. and Europe, acidity levels of oceans and inhibits have started to use cleaner sources marine life from producing calcium of energy such as wind and solar carbonate. For the past 300 million power, there has been no reduction years, the ocean’s acidity levels have in greenhouse gas emissions. More remained constant with a pH of 8.2. countries are using coal and fossil However, over the past 200 years fuel energy counteracting the gains the pH level decreased to 8.1. This made in clean energy from other 0.1 pH unit represents a 25% incountries using cleaner sources of crease in acidity in Earth’s oceans. energy. If emissions continue at the rate In geological history, high levels of they are now, National Geographic carbon dioxide have been released predicts that by the end of the ceninto the atmosphere by natural emis- tury, the pH could decrease by ansions such as volcanic outgassing. other 0.5 pH units. Additionally, as This led to rapid warming of the the oceans continue to absorb more Earth. Sixteen million years ago, the carbon, it is feared that they are goEarth had the same amount of car- ing to reach their carbon carrying bon dioxide in the atmosphere that capacity. The carbon dioxide will it does today and the ocean was 50 no longer dissolve in the oceans ft. higher and the ocean temperature but will remain in the Earth’s atwas 10˚F warmer. Sea levels were so mosphere, which would encourage high that they covered modern day further climate change. Tokyo, New York, and Berlin. If AntThe 2015 United Nations Climate arctica’s glaciers were to completely Change Conference (COP21) in melt, the sea level would rise 180 feet, Paris, France, brought together 196 according to Ricarda Winkelmann, countries that all agreed the Earth’s Anders Levermann, Andy Ridgewell climate is changing due to anthroand Ken Caldeira in the journal Scipogenic activities. The countries ence Advances 2015. came to an agreement that they On average, humans produce 22 mil- should reduce the production of lion tons of carbon dioxide per day greenhouse gases so the temperaand about one third of it is absorbed ture does not more than rise 2˚C

Icebergs in Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Greenland, where the melting of ice sheets is accelerating, to witness first-hand the impacts of climate change there. His visit aims to build momentum ahead of the Climate Summit which he is convening in September. A view of icebergs in Ilulissat Icefjord from the Secretary-General’s plane. City: Ilulissat Country: Greenland Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten, Flickr Photo Date: 25/03/2014 (3.6˚F) about the pre-industrial temperature. The pre-industrial temperature is the temperature that the Earth was before the start of the industrial revolution during the late 18th century. The industrial revolution was the beginning of the era when humans first began burning fossil fuels for energy. Currently, we are 1.5˚F above the pre-industrial level. It is predicted that if the temperature rises more than 2˚C, then there would be a dangerous level of warming that will permanently change the climate. Some scientists believe that the limit should be changed to 1.5˚C to protect island states from being lost due to sea level rise. At the meeting last year, 186 countries published action plans on how they intended to reduce their production of greenhouse gases. For this agreement to have legal force, it must be validated by a minimum of 55 countries that attended the meeting without objection. Of these

55 countries, they must represent at least 55% of all global warming emissions. COP21 requires countries to submit reports every five years in order to plan strategies and budgets that will lead to a greener path. What they do not do, however, is hold countries that do not follow through accountable. As long as the countries claim they are trying to be environmentally friendly, they are holding up their end of the deal. Additionally, even if they do not make any effort in reducing greenhouse gases, there will be no repercussions. Although much time and effort was put into COP21, if countries do not follow up with what they claimed they would, then all those efforts will be lost. Global warming

is a serious problem that is going to accelerate as the human population continues to explode. Even though it may be too late to stop global warming, being environmentally aware and conscious will delay the rate the Earth is warming. Buying local foods, using reusable items like water bottles and utensils instead of disposable ones, and reducing the amount of waste produced are all simple, yet effective ways to impede global warming and make one small difference at a time.n

Global Warming by J G, Flickr APRIL 2016 |11

2016 PHOTO COMPETITION 2015 Photo Competition contender. Photo by: Kimberly Wood, UHH MOP Alumna

N ATTENTION! – Fancy yourself an ocean photographer? Submit your sea-worthy photograph and who knows‌ You might just find it on the cover of Seawords. Email photos as hi-resolution attachments to seawords@ along with some info on your photograph*. The winning photo will be featured on the cover of the special photography edition of Seawords. *Complete details along with rules of the competition can be found on the MOP website at:

How Do Safe Divers Think Underwater? Creating the Three Spheres of Awareness

By Tyler Phelps, UHH MOP Student


hink back to your last dive. What did you think about? Maybe you were fixated on the bleaching coral, trying to remember the scientific name of “that fish,” or attempting to forget about the homework that is due tomorrow. Most divers do a lot of thinking underwater that’s not directly dive related. If you’re part of the exception, kudos to you! If not, start incorporating these Three Spheres of Awareness into your everyday diving. You’ll find that your time underwater is safer, less stressful and can be more fun.

breathing more than normal? This could be a sign of stress or overexertion. If there is a strong current and they start falling behind the group, stop and let everyone catch their Sphere 1: The Team breath. Make eye contact with your Look around. Where is my buddy? buddy when you are doing hand sigRight next to me, cool. Team aware- nals. Their facial expressions can tell ness is paramount to having a safe you a lot about how they are feeling. dive. Your buddy is your back-up Sphere 2: The Environment brain and back-up air. You should never be more than a few seconds Stay in tune with your surroundings. away from your buddy. Ordinarily How is the landscape changing? Pay time isn’t a unit of distance but think attention to physical landmarks such of your “what if ’s?” What if my bud- as distinct coral colonies, changes in dy ran out of air right now? Moving depth or the benthic topography. The Three Spheres of Awareness with purpose, it should only take a Keep vigilant to changes in current, visibility, temperature, depth, and is a concept that encourages active few seconds to reach them. thinking divers, which is something What is your assigned duty to the swell. Before entering the water at we all should strive to be. If we train dive’s objective? If you are supposed a dive site you should always have ourselves to think proactively, we to be in charge of navigating but find at least one backup exit in mind. will be better prepared for handling yourself taking pictures constantly, If the swell were to increase in size problems and emergencies. Men- it might be time to put the camera or change directions, be conscious of where you are in relation to the tally cycle through these spheres ev- away for a bit. most appropriate exit. ery couple minutes and ask yourself Pay attention to the team dynamics. the “what if ’s?” This might sound Think about your current depth and daunting but after a little practice Notice their bubbles, are they visibly

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it becomes second nature. You will notice a difference in your confidence and comfort from your ability to be a constantly thinking diver.

Jenna Budke (UHH MOP student, right) thinking about the dive and trying to use her camera while Keelee Martin (UHH MOP student, left) keeps close buddy contact. Photo by Tyler Phelps, UHH MOP Student dive time in relation to your dive planning. Do you have enough time to get your objective done? It might be time to wrap up what you are doing so you have adequate time and gas to turn the dive around. (Stay tuned for my article next month, “Are you ending your dive with enough gas?”). Be conscious of your buoyancy and changes in depth. If you had budgeted for a max depth of 60ft in your dive plan, make sure you are not exceeding that depth.

Sphere 3: The Equipment

should be second nature. If your buddy ran out of air the last thing The equipment sphere ties back to you want is to be thinking about team and environmental aware- “where is my alternate air source?” ness. Visibly check your gas pres- Those kinds of things should be sure, dive time and depth. Think of a tactile muscle memory. Touch your gas consumption proactively. your kit periodically while diving to This takes a little practice but after a make sure everything is where it is while you can get a feel of how much supposed to be. gas you use “on the fly.” Let’s say you’re at 12m/40ft with a pressure Also think about the other equipof 190bar/2800psi. After three min- ment you and your team has. If you utes at that depth you notice you’re are laying a line, is it behaving or is now at 180bar/2600psi. Given that it becoming entangled? If you have your depth hasn’t really changed tools such as quadrats or rugosity and gas consumption hasn’t either, chains, where are they and how are quiz yourself what pressure should they being secured? Then you can you be at. Another three minutes tie that back into team awareness, goes by, before you look at your who is using the tool next and where submersible pressure gauge (SPG) are they? say to yourself “hmm, I should be As Rene Descartes said, “I think, at 170bar/2400psi.” Look down. You therefore I am.” By following the were right! If you check periodical- Three Spheres of Awareness, staying ly and think proactively about gas situationally conscious, and being a consumption, you pretty much can thinking diver you will make your never run out of air. time underwater, safer! n

Visibility and current can change very quickly. All it takes is some overhead cloud cover or a change in swell direction to impede your ability to maintain buddy contact. If visibility is decreasing so should the distance between you and your buddy. If you ever catch yourself in a sudden strong current, drop down to the bottom and become slightly negatively buoyant. Use your gloved hands to grip onto sturdy dead or barren rock (not live coral!) to help Everyone’s gear and configuration pull yourself in.

APRIL 2016 |15

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APRIL 2016 |17



ocean art by Randy Ramos

Randy’s poem was chosen from a collection of poems submitted to us by Eric Paul Shaffer, an HCC English professor, and written by his English 241 class.

Sand sifts between my toes as I walk along the shoreline of Waimea Bay. The water is crashing onto shore one after another. I climb up Waimea’s famous rock, strap on my snorkel, and leap off into the clear salt water below. The salt water fills my vision, then clears revealing perfect ridges of sand with hidden shells and rocks. Fishes and turtles swim gracefully with the oceans current. I poke my head above water, only to see the vast ocean remanding to swim. Using the moment of the current, I swam back to the sandy shore. The ocean’s water takes likes every second around the world. I look back into the distant of the glistening water and know I’ve been spared another day with the ocean.

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Photo by: Frank Boisvert, Flickr

APRIL 2016窶ポ19

Actions for the Ocean


By Jessica Lotts, UHM MOP Student


Brush your teeth without leaving the water running. Brushing without the water running could save up to five gallons a day according to, http://www.50waystohelp. com.


Eat locally grown produce. This reduces the amount of greenhouse gasses created from importing/shipping products and boosts your local economy.

THE OCEAN SPANS OVER 70 PERCENT OF OUR WORLD. It is responsible for regulating temperature, food production, sustaining numerous marine species, and is a source of inspiration among multiple other things. The ocean gives us so much and it is time for us to return the favor and take actions to make the ocean ecosystem healthy again. Almost every action that we take affects the ocean in some way. Our everyday choices can be tailored to support a healthy ocean. Here are some examples of green acts that will keep the ocean blue.

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Earth Day is a worldwide event that aims to demonstrate support for our environment. This annual event is now celebrated in over 150 countries each April. It began in 1970, when 20 million people around the world gathered together to demonstrate a need for a sustainable and healthy environment through massive rallies, according to, This year’s Earth Day is on April 22nd, and to continue the Earth Day movement, here are some easy ways for you to go green.

3. 4.

Clean up after yourself when going out. A beach picnic can be a great activity, but make sure you clean up after yourself; no wrappers or plastic end up in the sea. When leaving the beach, do a quick check around you to make sure you didn’t leave any trash or food you may “think is biodegradable. Human food isn’t meant for animal consumption; even something as seemingly harmless as an orange peel can take up to 6 month to biodegrade according to Science Learning.

Travel the ocean responsibly. When boating or kayaking, never throw anything overboard. Have a designated trash bucket on board, then empty it into the appropriate trash bins when you get back on land. Use safe boating techniques. Don’t speed and keep an eye out for dive flags and different marine animals close to the surface. For more safe boating techniques, check out, nauticalknowhow/safetips.html.


Use reusable bags. Plastic bags from stores end up in our ocean and look like a tasty jellyfish to sea turtles. Many places such as Foodland and the UH Mānoa’s Noelani Market on campus honor reusable bags and offer discounts and prizes for using them.

Photo by: Antoinette Ranit, UHM, 2015 Photography Contest Winner APRIL 2016 |21

Tillman the Surfing Bulldog Marine Mammal of the Month:

Scientific Name: Canis lupus familiaris Range: Oxford, California Diet: Dog food, apples Size: 60 pounds

Tillman the Surfing Bulldog

By Jeremy Gasta, American Cetacean Society Student

Photo by: Nathan Rupert, Flickr 22| Seawords


any marine mammals are among the most majestic creatures that have ever graced our blue planet. Intelligent dolphins, massive whales, playful pinnipeds… all astonishing and beautiful animals. But none are more majestic than Tillman, the surfing bulldog, Canis lupus familiaris.

Tillman (also known as Pot Roast or Da-Bow) lived a humble life. Born on June 6, 2005 in Camarillo, California, Tillman was adopted by biped Ron Davis, a self proclaimed “beach bum” who loved to surf and skate while working construction management when the waves were poor. He originally meant to give Tillman to his wife Erika as a Mother’s Day gift, but the two forged an incredible interspecies bond rarely seen in nature. The English bulldog and his human family resided in Oxford, California. While many dogs were happy to learn tricks and play fetch, Tillman was destined for more from the beginning. Ron, an avid lover of surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding, wanted to share his love of board sports with his best friend. And so, before anyone could say “skateboarding dogs are unnatural and an abomination against all that is holy,” Tillman was skating all around town like a quadrupedal Rob Dyrdek. As the weather got warmer and it became too hot to ride, Ron showed Tillman the joys of riding surfboards as well. Admittedly, Tillman does get some help while surfing. While he can easily push off the ground with his paws while skateboarding, his adorable little doggy arms are too tiny to paddle his skim board efficiently. Luckily, his pal Ron steps in to help him, giving Tillman and his surfboard a boost when a good-looking wave rolls in. While Tillman might not be able to catch a wave without a little help, he certainly shreds them with aplomb once they’re in the grasp of his stubby little paws, his immaculate style putting even Bethany Hamilton and Kelly Slater to shame. No human pro surfer can stand up to the might of Tillman the surfing bulldog. Tillman did not choose a life of fame, but a life of fame chose him. In January 2007, when Tillman was not even two years old and already a much better skater than I am, a civilian captured film of Tillman casually riding his skateboard in Venice Beach, California. The video was uploaded onto YouTube and immediately became viral. The video, titled “Skateboarding Dog” by user RNickeyMouse, has well over 22 million views to this day. Tillman was not just a fan of surfing and skateboarding, but an avid lover of all board sports, and would jump on a snowboard when the weather was too poor for skating or surfing. In the few-and-far-between moments of his life when he wasn’t atop a board, Tillman greatly enjoyed playing soccer and tetherball. Also, apples are his favorite snack. As Tillman’s fame spread across the country, he soon found many more doors and opportunities opening to him. His famous viral video starred prominently in a commercial for the first iPhone. He later gained not one, but two starring roles in television shows, including Greatest American Dog and the Hallmark Channel’s Who Let the Dogs Out. He gained a sponsorship for his surfing and skateboarding career from Natural Balance Pet Foods, and repaid them by advertising the brand on his skateboard. Tillman gained a world record during the 2009 X-Games in Los Angeles for being the fastest dog on a skateboard, covering 100 meters in only 19.678 seconds. This record was surpassed by a dog named Jumpy in 2013, who covered the same distance in 19.65 seconds, but reports from a reliable source (a charismatic man named Jeremy Gasta) say that Tillman allowed the younger athlete to win, claiming this was now the era of the underdogs. Tillman passed away from natural causes in October 2015, having lived a long and good life for an English bulldog. His legacy lives on in all of the people and canines he inspired, and will remain a beloved figure for countless years to come. This has been the April Fools edition of Marine Mammal of the Month. n APRIL 2016 |23

9 0 0 2 Y A M : K C A B H FLAS

By Jessica Lotts, UHM MOP

MOP Symposium

This Flashback goes to May of 2009, when Richard Fulton, Vice Chancellor of Instruction 26th Annual Marine Option Program Symposium. Topics from this symposium included P eries Hawaiian Monk Seal Health & Disease and many more. This year the 33rd Annual M 16th-17th, Saturday and Sunday, at Honolulu Community College with no registration fee. ing, it is strongly encouraged that you show up and support your fellow MOPers.

Any MOP student is allowed to participate in this event. If you have completed your MOP sign up with your MOP Coordinator to get the application packet and guidelines for writing a good idea to come learn about the variety of projects MOPers undertake. 24| Seawords

Also, don’t forget to check out Hanauma Bay’s Education Program:

April 2015 – Science and Film Research & Education Through Motion Pictures

-5 AprilFilm showing : ‘Ahi: The Yellowfin Tuna Documentary by WestPac Regional Fisheries Management Council

-12 April-

“Voice of the Sea” by Kanesa Seraphin, University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant

-19 April-

Film showing : “Our Deepest Waters” by National Marine Monuments, NOAA

-26 AprilTBA

by Craig Musburger, Founder of HD UnderH2O, Marine Biologist & Emmy Award Winning Underwater Cameraman

n at Windward Community College, opened the Photography for Science Education, NOAA FishMOP Student Symposium will take place on April Regardless of whether or not you will be present-

P Skill Project or are close to completing you may g your abstract. If you are not presenting it is still APRIL 2016 |25

critter of the month Leatherback sea turtle Scientific Name: Dermochelys coriacea Hawaiian Name: (None known) Range: Clumped populations worldwide Diet: Jellyfish / soft-bodied animals Maximum Size: 7-feet


By Jeremy Gasta, UHM American Cetacean Society Student

he leatherback sea turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, is the largest sea turtle in both Hawai‘i and the world. Reaching maximum lengths of seven feet, it is the fourth largest living reptile, behind a handful of crocodilians. Leatherbacks are not very closely related to other living sea turtles as they are the sole surviving members of the taxonomic family Dermochelyidae. They are the only sea turtles that lack a bony shell, instead sporting a carapace of leathery flesh (explaining their name). For this reason they are considered a relic species and are unique among sea turtles. Leatherbacks tend to spend summers feeding in cooler waters and come to warmer tropical waters, including the islands of Hawai‘i, to breed in the winter. This 3700 mile migration is the longest of any sea turtle. They are also the deepest diving turtles, able to reach over 4200 feet in pursuit of food, and have been recorded holding their breath for an hour and 20 minutes (although three to eight minutes is the usual). Bizarrely, they perform endothermic (“warm-blooded”) metabolic functions, virtually unheard of in reptiles, which allow them to live in much colder Arctic waters where they hunt their jellyfish prey. Sadly, these gentle giants are endangered. Human trash dumped in the ocean poses a major threat, as the turtles can mistake decomposing plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them, which can end fatally for them. It is estimated that one-third of leatherback sea turtles have ingested plastic in this way. Their eggs are also harvested to be used for dishes in many Asian countries, primarily Thailand and Malaysia. This causes a major toll on the leatherback turtles’ population, as only one in 1000 hatchlings live to become adults. n

Leatherback sea turutle found at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, US Virgin Islands. Photo by: Claudia Lombard, USFWS

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If you are interested in submitting articles, photography, or art to Seawords, send us an email at with the subject line “Student submission.” We accept submissions year round. Photo Contest Finalist 2015, UHM Angel Melone

Seawords Volume XXX Number 4, April 2016 Editor: Camra Hopper Dr. Cynthia Hunter (éminence grise) Jeffrey Kuwabara (éminence grise) Seawords - Marine Option Program University of Hawai‘i, College of Natural Sciences 2450 Campus Road, Dean Hall 105A Honolulu, HI 96822-2219 Telephone: (808) 956-8433 Email: <> Website: <> Seawords is the monthly newsletter of the Marine Option Program at the University of Hawai‘i. Opinions expressed herein are not necessariliy those of the Marine Option Program or of the University of Hawai‘i. Suggestions and submissions are welcome. Submissions may include articles, photography, art work, or anything that may be of interest to the marine community in Hawai‘i and around the world. All photos are taken by MOP unless otherwise credited.

APRIL 2016 |27


Photo credit: Rebecca Ziegler, UHH MOP Alumna and Photography Contest Contestant





Next month: May -May 1, MOP Snorkel Day -May 4, Last day of Instruction -May 5, MOP Graduation -May 8, Mother’s Day -May 30, Memorial Day














Sunday’s at the Bay Hanauma Bay 3 - 4 pm Science and Film

10 Sunday’s at the Bay Hanauma Bay 3 - 4 pm Science and Film

17 MOP Student Symposium Honolulu Community College 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Sunday’s at the Bay Hanauma Bay 3 - 4 pm Science and Film

24 Earth Day Cleanup Kahuku Beach TBA Sunday’s at the Bay Hanauma Bay 3 - 4 pm Science and Film 28| Seawords

MOP & Community Events








9 He‘eia Fishpond Volunteer Day He‘eia Fishpond 8:00 am - 2:00 pm



16 MOP Student Symposium Honolulu Community College 9:00 am - 5:00 pm




Earth Day




APRIL 2016 |29

University of Hawai`i at Mト]oa Seawords, Marine Option Program College of Natural Sciences 2450 Campus Road, Dean Hall 105A Honolulu, HI 96822-2219 Address Service Requested

Thank you for reading!

Seawords April 2016  

Seawords April 2016

Seawords April 2016  

Seawords April 2016