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Seaw rds The Marine Option Program Newsletter

December 2014


“NOAA Scientists at the PNMM have set up a very unique program...The competition is always tight to get one of these four internship positions, so a strict and extensive list of requirements is set, including having attended and excelled in [QUEST], being a fully authorized [AAUS] scientific diver ... and having additional scientific diving survey experience.”


December 2014 Volume XXVIII, Number 8

Featured articles Page 6: Diving in with NOAA Page 13: Ocean Acidification: as adverse as originally thought? Page 16: MOP Talk: the new voice of MOP

About the Photography The following photographs, courtesy of NOAA, were taken by Tate Wester, UHM MOP Student while on the NOAA Reef Assesment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) Cruise this past summer. You can read about the cruise on page 6. -Cover -Table of Contents -Letter from the Editor -November calendar of events -Back cover

All uncredited photos by: MOP



Table of Contents Letter from the Editor

pg 4 Generation Blue

pg 14 Critter of the Month

pg 22

Diving in with NOAA

Ocean Updates

pg 6 MOP Talk: the new voice of MOP

pg 12 Ocean Art

pg 16 Questions about QUEST

pg 18 Hanauma Bay Events & Flashback

pg 24

pg 26

Ocean Acidification

pg 13 Wanna sea something cool?

pg 20 MOP Calendar

pg 27

Seawords Volume XXVIII, Number 8, December 2014 Editor: Kathryn Lam Associate Editor: Brijonnay Madrigal Dr. Cynthia Hunter (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.



Letter from the Editor Photo credit: Tate Wester, UHM MOP Student


ast month, MOP went “On Air,” with UH-Hilo MOP student Zach Higgins, who for his MOP Project is hosting “MOP Talk,” a radio show about all things MOP. He will be archiving all his shows so listeners can hear old podcasts (including an interview with Seawords in the November 9 podcast).

You can tune in every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., either online at http://www.uhhradio. com or on a mobile device by downloading the radioflag app at http://www.radioflag. com/#. The station ID is @ihilo. To learn more, you can flip to page 14 to read the interview Associate Editor, Brijonnay Madrigal wrote. On page 6, UHM MOP employee and student Tate Wester, shares his summer MOP adventure aboard the Reef Assesment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) NOAA cruise, that explored the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Also in this issue, readers can learn about recent research regarding ocean acidification and corals as well as a strange phenomenon that is allowing species not usually found to show up on the West Coast.

Thank you for reading,

--Kathryn Lam, Seawords Editor 4|




MOP Summers

By Tate Wester, UHM MOP Student



STUDENT PERSPECTIVE NOAA Reef Assesment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) Research Cruise to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.


was 80 feet below the surface in the middle of the Pacific Ocean over 500 miles to the Northwest of my home in Honolulu. Thoughts of my comfy couch and Netflix escaped me as a 20 foot high wall of sleek unicornfish, pennant butterflyfish, pyramid butterflyfish and milletseed butterflyfish engulfed my dive buddy and me. Through the towering wall of fish, three grey reef sharks, bigger than I had ever seen before, were circling me. With prehistoric fight or flight instincts flashing through by body, I stared wide-eyed at the impossible multitude of fish I was supposed to count and size. Glancing at my pressure gage, I cringed at how much air remained in my scuba cylinder, but still took that much-needed deep breath to gather myself and frantically continue systematically going down my mile-long list, counting and sizing each and every fish species, just like we had practiced during our week of training dives back on O‘ahu’s fished out reefs.

Wester used a GoPro set on the ground to take this shot of himself counting fish that were swimming above him. (Credit: Wester/UHM MOP, Courtesy of NOAA)


Still madly trying to conserve air at this slightly narcosis-inducing depth of 80 feet, my brain was working at a million miles per hour telling me “even after you finish going through this everlasting list of fishes, you still have to do the misleadingly named rapid benthic survey. Then you still have to swim the 20 meters to the far end of the transect line, swim the 30 meters back to roll it up, and then you still have to have enough air left in your cylinder to do a long safety stop so you don’t get the bends [slang for decompressions illness, where tiny bubbles resulting from ascending too fast at the end of a dive form in

the body, causing a wide spectrum of life-threatening problems]. On top of that, you still have to get to the surface with the mandatory 500 PSI left in your cylinder to avoid getting a harsh reprimand from the all-powerful Chief Scientist, arguably worse than the bends!” At this point, which I thought that was the most stressed, and at the same time exuberated, I could possibly be while underwater, Kanaloa, the god of the ocean decided to throw one last curve ball at Steve and me. Like a tumbling avalanche charging out of the gloom towards us, a school of more than 100 ulua fish (or giant trevally) swarmed us. I watched as my brain exploded, at seeing the giant school of dark and aggressive 50 pound fish mobbing first around Steve, and then around me. They swam in in terrifyingly fast tight circles close enough to touch. Remarkably, both Steve and I not only finished our fish and benthic surveys on this dive at French Frigate Shoals, but we also safely made it to the surface (not without an adequate safety stop) to be able to tell the tale, and of course count more fish the following day in the name of science! Stephen Matadobra and myself were two of the four University of Hawai‘i Marine Option Program (MOP) Students who were brought on as interns for the Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) Team on the Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) Cruise. RAMP consisted of a three week long NOAA Research Cruise to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. These diving intensive research cruises are conducted off of a 224 foot long NOAA Ship called the Hi‘ialakai. NOAA’s CorDECEMBER 2014


al Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) and Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument (PNMM) program trade off organizing these RAMP cruises every summer depending on funding availability. On the summers that the PNMM organizes the RAMP cruise (usually every other summer), the NOAA Scientists at the PNMM have set up a very unique program which allows them to take four MOP students as interns to help the REA team as fish and benthic survey divers. The competition is always tight to get one of these four internship positions, so a strict and extensive list of requirements is set, including having attended and excelled in MOP’s Quantitative Underwater Ecological Survey Techniques (QUEST) diving field school, being a fully authorized American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) scientific diver (which can be achieved through an intensive semester, and having additional scientific diving survey experience. The four MOP students who made the cut for this cruise were Kanoe Steward from UH Hilo and Stephen Matadobra, Nikki Gutlay and myself from UH Mānoa. Before leaving for the three-week-long research cruise, Paula Ayotte from CRED and Brian Hauk and Scott Godwin from PNMM put us through an information packed week of training to thoroughly prepare us for the trip. We were oriented to the NOAA ship, Hi‘ialakai, which would be our home for the next three weeks and were shown the tiny four-person rooms we would be sleeping in. We then sat through hours of PowerPoint presentations about shipboard life, safety procedures, NOAA policies, the cultural importance of the Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument, why collecting ecological data in this remote area is so important, and what NOAA does with the more than 10-year long data set. We then discussed the comprehensive survey methods that would be used. Nikki, Steve and I were on the Fish Team, and Kanoe was on the Benthic Team, so for survey methodology components of our training, we were separated Galapagos sharks swimming in the waters around the Northwestern Hawaiian into those respective groups. The three of us on Islands. These sharks are among the creatures Wester saw during these surveys. the fish team were tested to ensure our ability (Credit: Wester/UHM MOP, Courtesy of NOAA) to rapidly identify over 200 species of fishes with their scientific names, some of which we already knew from QUEST, but many which we had never seen before. We next meticulously went through all of our survey gear, prepping and fixing everything. Before we even went diving, we practiced going through the motions of our complicated surveys on land. By the middle of the week we were finally ready to get in the water. Even though it was important to practice going through many complete surveys on the relatively low fish biomass reefs of O‘ahu, that could never fully prepare us for the mind boggling number of fishes we would be counting and sizing in the following weeks on some of the world’s most pristine coral reefs. After our first few shake down dives, which included a lot of comparing length estimates underwater with each other, we were ready for our “Fish Length Calibration Dive”. This involved around 40 wood silhouette cutouts of fishes, set up along a transect line. This exercise allowed our dedicated trainers to test our ability to accurately estimate fish lengths. The fishes had been measured previously on land, and after the dive, our length estimates were plotted onto a graph against the actual lengths of the cutouts. This enabled us to see in what length ranges we were over estimating, and in what length ranges we were underestimating, so that we could adjust our future estimates accordingly. A few more survey proficiency dives finished off our week of training, and we were deemed ready for the real thing. Depending on the specific missions of the scientists on that given cruise, the Hi‘ialakai will stop at different 8|


Marine debris washed up on the beaches of Midway Atoll. (Credit: Wester/UHM MOP, Courtesy of NOAA)

“NOAA Scientists at the PNMM have set up a very unique program...The competition is always tight to get one of these four internship positions, so a strict and extensive list of requirements is set, including having attended and excelled in [QUEST], being a fully authorized [AAUS] scientific diver ... and having additional scientific diving survey experience.” islands and atolls along the Northwestern Hawaiian Island archipelago. On this cruise we stopped first at French Frigate Shoals, then Midway Island, and finally, Lisianski Island. On the first night of our three-day transit from O‘ahu to French Frigate Shoals, I laid in my bunk, utterly unable to fall asleep thinking about how honored and privileged I was to be heading out to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands with this amazing group of scientists and researchers, not only from NOAA, but from the University of Hawai‘i’s Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) as well. Many of these people lead lives filled with such awesome accomplishments and experiences, that they have become celebrities in my eyes. So as you can imagine, being able to sit down and talk to them about their life’s work over dinner, or maybe a surface interval between dives, was truly the opportunity of a lifetime for me. Our arrival at French Frigate Shoals marked the beginning of many long and exhausting days of diving. A standard day would start with rolling out of our bunks around 5:30am to glimpse the sunrise as we prepped cameras and slates and staged all of the day’s scuba cylinders, dive gear, survey equipment, and a water and food cooler. All the equipment would then quickly be loaded onto one of the four small dive boats. If there was time before breakfast at 7:00am, sometimes I could guzzle a quick cup of coffee and if I was lucky, send an email using the painstakingly slow internet. My enormous appetite would usually result in me gorging myself at the home-style breakfast buffet prepared by Mr. White, the southern and spirited Chief Steward. Following a rushed breakfast, we would gather on the fan-tail, or the back deck of the ship to have the daily Dive and Safety Briefing. After the Dive Briefing, the four dive boats would be lifted with the ship’s crane, and brought alongside the ship to be loaded with the gear that was staged earlier that morning, and then lowered into the water with the coxswain and divers aboard. The de-

Wester among ulua, or big eyed-trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. (Credit: Paula Ayotte, NOAA)



ployment and recovery of the dive boats was a tricky process involving coordinated maneuvering of the ship and dive boat as well as precisely timed crane operation and line handling. Even as an intern, I was required to be in charge of crucial line handling, which if done wrong, could result in an overturned dive boat! Since a small mistake during these operations could lead to such a catastrophic event, EXTEME care was taken to do each and every part of the operation perfectly. Although it was inherently quite dangerous, this was definitely one of the more exciting parts of the day! By the time 9:00am rolled around we would be well on our way to our first dive site. Depending on where the ship dropped us in relation to where our randomly stratified survey sites, sometimes we would have up to 15 miles to transit to our first dive site. It was hard to know what to expect for any given dive. Sometimes we would roll over the side of the boat to be met by a school of huge way-too-interested ulua, or curious Galapagos sharks circling us above beautiful and elaborate reef structure teaming with life. Other times we would go a whole dive without seeing more than an expanse of rubble and a few tiny fishes here and there. Depending on how many fish there were to count once we rolled out the 30 meter long transect, our 15 meter diameter circle-plot fish surveys could take anywhere from 20 minutes to almost an hour. We would do dive after dive, usually completing four to seven dives in a day, with only enough time to take a few swigs of water, cram some food in my mouth, and quickly switch out tanks before jumping in the water again. The name of the game was efficiency! We would usually get back to the ship by 4-4:30pm to be lifted back onto the ship’s deck by the crane and try to clean and put away the day’s gear quickly enough to make it to the mess hall not too long after 5:00pm, which was when dinner was. After dinner, it was time for data entry, arguably not the most exciting part of the day, but important none the less. The goal was always to finish imputing the days numerous surveys into CRED’s database by 8:00pm so I could make it to “Paula’s Eight Minute Abs at 8.” This consisted of a series of abdominal workouts that our mentor, Paula Ayotte would lead every night at 8:00pm on the bow of the ship to keep everyone in shape. A more accurate name for this would have been “30 (not 8) minutes of Pain!” After “30 minutes of pain,” we would do as much gear prepping as we could. This included measuring the pressure and oxygen percentage of the next day’s NITROX scuba cylinders, as well as prepping cameras and underwater slates. By this time, I was usually completely exhausted, so a bowl of ice cream and the end of whatever movie was playing in the mess hall would have me ready for bed. That was more or less what I could expect on a regular day during this cruise, and if I get my way, I will have many more days just like that in my future!  Right: UHM and MOP graduate, Stephen Matadobra at the French Frigate Shoals. In this photo Matadobra is benthic photo sampling with a monopod. (Credit: Wester/UHM MOP, Courtesy of NOAA)





OCEAN UPDATES By Kathryn Lam, Editor THE OCEANS CONTAIN AN ESTIMATED 99 PERCENT OF EARTH’S LIVING SPACE. There is so much going on in the big blue that here at Seawords we like to keep you updated on a couple of this happenings. Each month in this space readers can learn about a few interesting things that are going on in the ocean around the world.

Queensland, Australia Following last December’s decision of federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to approve a harmful waste removal plan, public and scientific criticism have forced him to “fast-track” a new plan. The original idea would have allowed a business conglomerate to dump an estimated 3 million cubic meters of waste into the ocean. The business conglomerate is building one of the world’s largest coal ports at Abbot Point in Australia. However, a federal Senate committee has called for a “total ban on disposal of any dredge spoil in reef waters.” The new plan would redirect the waste onto land rather than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, according to the September 2014 edition of Science magazine. Lomonosov Ridge, Arctic Ocean Seventy-two year old Yngve Kristoffersen, University of Bergen/Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center professor, and crew member Auden Tholfsen, plan to spend the next few months living on an ice floe along the Lomonosov Ridge in the Arctic Ocean. The two scientists will be taking sediment cores in order to learn about the polar environment from over 60 million years ago. They are utilizing a unique research hovercraft designed by Kristoffersen and geophysicist John K. Hall of the Geological Survey of Israel. This hovercraft allows the scientists to travel up to 100 kilometers from their base and evaluate ice properties, currents and water temperatures. Northeastern United States According to Newsweek Magazine online, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has closed off the majority of waters off the coast of the Northeastern United States to cod fishing. Effective November 13, 2014, this ban is expected to last six months and has been put into place in order to allow cod habitats to rehabilitate and cod populations to regenerate. Federal scientists say the ban is essential because current cod levels are 97% below the sus12|


tainable level. But those who oppose the ban say that recent cod stocks appear healthy and believe the ban to be unnecessary due to the harm it will cause small, local fishermen and will likely put many people out of business. Bering Sea In early November, a storm in the Bering Sea set records for being the strongest storm in the North Pacific since the 1970s. Although there are no official record of North Pacific storm pressures, according to the Washington Post, this record is “based on incomplete records and the available historical data – this storm’s pressure of 924 millibars is lower than the previously lowest pressure recorded in Dutch Harbor in 1977.” This storm developed from the remnants of Typhoon Nuri which formed on October 28 east-southeast of Guam and dissipated November 13 near the Aleutian Islands. Three to five crabbing boats from Discovery Channel’s hit television show The Deadliest Catch, are currently filming in the Bering Sea and are not expected to return before the storm ends. West Coast, United States On the other hand, abnormally warm waters off the coast of California have carried species to rather unusual spots along the West Coast of the United States. Hawaiian ono and sea turtles normally from the Galapagos Islands have been spotted off the California coast, while giant sunfish, also known as Mola mola, have been reported to be in Alaskan waters. Experts say this so called “warm-water spike” that began in mid-July is not thought to have been caused by either climate change or El Niño. Other wayfarers are tripletail (a fish species generally found in Costa Rican and Peruvian waters) in Southern California, and skipjack tuna off of Alaska in August and September. More recently, common dolphins have been recorded to be swimming just off the Farallon Islands in Northern California. 

Ocean acidification: as adverse as originally thought? By Jessica Lotts, UHM MOP Student


esearchers from Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered that an increase in ocean acidification could potentially positively affect the growth rate of many corals. Ocean acidification, OA for short, is defined by NOAA as the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, and subsequently our ocean. As we burn fossil fuel, we release CO2 to into the atmosphere and ocean, causing a chemical reaction that makes the waters more acidic. This increase in acidity binds up carbonate ions that many animals have in their skeletons and shells, causing them to deteriorate. OA has been deemed by many researchers as extremely harmful to the oceans and their inhabitants. Northeastern Associate Professor, Justin Ries and colleagues, on the other hand, argues that only an extreme increase in OA and ocean warming will cause a calcification decline. According to an article released on Northeastern University’s news webpage, the researchers tested the effects of increased OA and warming on various coral species including Siderastrea siderea. Their findings showed that some of the coral’s growth actually peaked in response to their testing. Ph.D. student in the Coral Ecology Labs at HIMB, Keisha Bahr warns however, “The amount of light the coral receives is essential in calcification processes and must be considered and representative in climate change experimental manipulations.” Bahr stresses the importance of conducting research that includes changes in environmental factors, “There is variation in experimental methods to project how corals respond to climate change, such as the degree and fluctuations of manipulation, climate change stressors that were manipulated, the duration of the experiment, and irradiance regimes; therefore, caution must be taken when interpreting coral responses to climate change scenarios.” Reis and colleagues predict that an increase in ocean temperature will ultimately threaten coral species more than an increase in OA. Bahr does not see OA as a bigger threat, but does agree that increased ocean temperatures will have huge negative affects. “Excessive ocean warming is predicted to negatively affect corals through mass thermal bleaching,” Bahr said. “Which is forecasted to increase in frequency and severity in the near future.” 

This photo was taken by Tate Wester during the NOAA Reef Assessment and Monitering Program (RAMP) Cruise in which he participated. You can read the details of the cruise on page 6.




Actions for the Ocean


By Brijonnay Madrigal, Associate Editor




All photos courtesty of the Creative Commons License, 2.0

It is responsible for regulating temperature, food production, sustaining numerous marine species, and is a source for 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.

2 1

Turn the water off when you are brushing your teeth!

Reduce showers by one to two minutes (if yyou can keep showers under 10 minutes yyou will reduce water waste 10X)! One way tto do this is to turn off the tap while youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re ssoaping up. William Warby/

Steven Depolo/

4 Washing dark clothes in cold water not only saves energy but it also helps your clothes retain their color.


Theen Moy/ M

Designate one reusable water bottle for drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will leave fewer glasses to wash. Travis Estell/

6 5

When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.

Only run dishwashers when they are full because if they are only half full, water is wasted.

R. Nial Bradshaw/

Lucille Pine/



MOP Talk: TH

By Brijonnay Madrigal, Associate


ach Higgins, a Marine Science major an Marine Option Program (MOP) studen the University of Hawai‘i Hilo, has alwa been interested in marine science. He fo remembers a family trip to Ireland at age six, whe as he puts it, “I swam in the ocean so long I turne blue.” He had some marine related experiences in school that cemented his love for the ocean and d to pursue marine sciences. With encouragement his marine biology teacher, Higgins entered Colo do Northwestern Community College and there h learned about a transfer program with the Univer sity of Hawai‘i campus system. He visited and kne he wanted to come here. Higgins said it was easy decide between the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo an University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. “I fell in love with smaller towns… I am not a big city person.”

He then stumbled across MOP by chance when w looking at the class schedule and finding that he w specifically interested in MOP offered courses an they looked like exploratory classes. Higgins (oth wise known as his radio name “DJ Splish Splash”) given MOP a voice in the realm of communicatio media.

“My original MOP project with looking at short memory in octopus fell through,” said Higgins. “Th wasn’t much funding and when the octopus passe away, we couldn’t get baseline readings.”

However, this turn of events proved to be very po as Higgins incorporated his previous interests int his MOP project. Higgins’s friend had a radio sho and exposed him to the radio business when he w invited as a guest on the show back home in Colo After that experience, he decided he really wanted have his own show and signed up to be a DJ beca he enjoys music and loves to share it with people. passion led him to create his own radio show call “Home on the Front Range” where listeners can e 16|



e Editor

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a diverse set of American folk rock and blue grass music with a little Celtic flare. When fellow marine science students suggested he start his own show for a MOP project, he liked the idea. “I was inspired by Seawords,” said Higgins. “If there is another project out there that is multimedia, why not do a talk show?” The show airs live on Sunday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon. During that time, Higgins reads announcements for the radio station but also announces MOP activities and volunteering/job positions. His intent is to focus on MOP students and the resources in science that are available to them. He has held five shows thus far and three have included live interviews. During the first show, Higgins interviewed MOP Director, Dr. Cindy Hunter, and Mānoa MOP Coordinator, Jeff Kuwabara. Next, he featured two MOP students who had participated in Quantitative Underwater Ecological Surveying Techniques (QUEST) program, a two week field course in marine resource management that takes place on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. His interviews focus on students currently conducting MOP projects and grad students and even those students who have already competed MOP projects. “I really enjoy talking with guests I have on and getting information out there.” So far, Lisa Parr, UH-Hilo MOP Coordinator, has been his favorite to interview. In this interview they were able to include coordinators from across the University of Hawai‘i ten campus system via call-ins. According to Higgins, Parr has been a huge help. “I always go to her at the beginning of the week for suggestions and mold my show around current events,” said Higgins. Higgins does not know what his future holds yet, but he is interested in many opportunities and is excited to get started. “I want to get out there and do everything I have learned. I would love to go the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and do surveys for NOAA or fish

monitoring.” His radio show has also promoted his interests in communication, “I think this project has helped solidify that I enjoy communicating marine science material, so I’m leaning more toward outreach and education then I was before doing the show.” Higgins hopes that people will start to gain more science knowledge. “There is a low scientific literacy in this country, and people disregard a lot of science because they don’t understand the jargon or the concepts of overarching scientific theories and ideas. I think that media tools like the radio are important in trying to bring the literacy up, also I want to try to use social media like Facebook and RadioFlag to help people get engaged in the material being presented and actively learn while precipitating in that discussion. I feel like that is much more powerful than just putting on a radio show.” Wherever Higgins’s path may take him, he has made a huge difference by informing the University of Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i community about MOP. “My goal for the MOP Talk show is to be an interactive resource for the community both for the UH MOP system, but also for the listeners in the Hilo community. I really want to push the social media platforms as a way of interacting with and getting the community at large involved in the discussions we have on the show.” We are very excited about MOP Talk and what Higgins has started, so tune in! 

There are a couple of great ways that you can listen to MOP Talk. Visit and follow the link on the top header to stream really great quality radio. The station name is at @ihilo. Another way to access MOP Talk is to register for the free app “Radio Flag” that you can download to your phone. Higgins has assimilated this app with Twitter. Mop Talk will also be airing soon on the 101.1 FM radio station for Big Island listeners!



ART by Cheyenne Barela

What started your interest in the ocean and in watercolor? I’ve been interested in art ever since I was little. However, I didn’t get into watercolor until I was in high school. I always thought it was too difficult but as I practiced with it I discovered I really liked the way it looked. I don’t have a real preference for what I paint but the ocean interests me because its so diverse and colorful, making it a lot of fun to paint. Cheyenne Barela is a Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnologies major. She comes to MOP mainly for the naps and the candy and has previously done Ocean Art. You can see that piece here: docs/september_online/12







Wanna sea something cool? By Rachel Shackne, UHM MOP Student


ave you ever wondered why a surf break “breaks” the way it does? Some favorite surf spots like Sunset, Pipeline, and Velzyland produce waves that are unique in shape compared to other waves around the world, thus providing rides that can only be found on the North Shore of O‘ahu. But what determines such distinct surfing conditions? To answer this question you need to ask another question: What makes Hawaiian marine habitats special other than their ideal surf conditions? Well, if you look below the surf you will see that Hawai‘i’s coral reefs are also unique, mostly lacking the coral genus Acropora, otherwise known as table coral, that are common on other Pacific reefs. This allows other coral formations to dominate. In turn, the reefs build underwater arcs and structures that turn swell energy into a rollercoaster ride of a wave. Seen here are some photos taken at Pipeline on a flat day, exemplifying the formation of the reef that allows those surfing above it to get barreled beyond belief. Just another example of how you don’t need to be a marine biologist to truly appreciate the reefs of Hawai‘i. 



Critter of the Month: 22|


Photo credit: Rachel Shackne, UHM MOP Student

Slate pencil urchin Scientific Name: Heterocentrotus mammillatus Other names for the urchin include “red slate pencil urchin” and “red pencil urchin.” With an overall diameter of up to ten inches, the slate pencil urchin has variable spine shapes that at night appear to be pale brown with light colored bands. While this urchin is abundant in clear, shallow water, slate pencil urchins are rare outside the Hawaiian Islands.

CALL TO ACTION Please check nearby coral reefs and report any signs of bleaching. Make an online report: Send photos to: Bleached coral (on right) next to normal coral (leŌ) at Lanikai, O‘ahu on 9/23/2014 Photo credit: C. Hunter

MulƟple reports of coral bleaching have recently been received through the Eyes of the Reef Network. ‘Bleaching’ is a coral stress response, in this case likely due to high temperatures. It describes the loss of color from coral Ɵssue, which makes the coral appear white. Corals can recover from bleaching when temperatures return to a normal range. The peak bleaching season for the Pacific is July-- September.

More examples of coral bleaching:

Photo credit: J. Kenyon Photo credit: G. Aeby

Want to know more about the EOR Network or coral bleaching?Ōhereef Flyer created by and used with permission from: Eyes of the Reef DECEMBER 2014


Questions about

Julia Rose


Q: Why did you come back to QUEST?

A: I believe in the program. I loved it last year and I think there are really good opportunities for QUEST alum and really good networking opportunities. I’m going to work with people from here this summer with Julia Rose, UH Hilo techniques I learned last year (Kuwabara/UHM MOP) at QUEST.

gave one of the best group presentations I’ve ever given because we place ourselves in this environment surrounded by people who are experienced and passionate about conservation. I even gave an award winning presentation at the MOP Symposium. QUEST got me in the

Q: What kind of advice would you give to future QUESTers? A: Go for it and start early. It’s a huge process to be able to attend and just getting that going would help a ton. Q: What part of being a team leader do you like best? A: I like collaborating with the other team leaders and working together to guide our team members through the whole process. Q: Why would you encourage someone else to come back to QUEST? A: It’s a completely different experience this year. I feel I’ve grown and evolved as a diver and a leader. 

Bradley Young Q: Why did you come back to QUEST? A: I came back to QUEST because it has given me a lot of tools that I have used already and that I can further develop. It’s very challenging. Last year I 24| Seawords

door and really showed me that I could do it. Being in an area as special as Hawai‘i and realizing the resources we have to offer the world and also being culturally Native Hawaiian, I feel like there’s a gap between the scientists, the politicians and the community, the local people. As a native of the island I feel it’s our responsibility to close this gap. The ocean has taught me so much and I want to make sure these opportunities are available for future generations. It was a big decision for me to come back but what helped me make it was that I recognized the gap and

I feel like if, as a local boy, I’m able to do this, if I prove to myself that I can do this and do it well, I can pave the way to make sure the opportunity will be more accessible for local kids. The district that I’m from, Puna, is the lowest scoring district in the state in education. And the state is low for the nation. I have to learn as much as I can. It’s challenging but the mistakes that I make I can relay to the next kids in the community. I’m also a beach lifeguard. I work at the beach and see these kids that are at the beach do not necessarily have higher education in mind and it’s because most of their parents didn’t go to school or college. They don’t have people telling them they should pursue education, but they can get scholarships, meet new people and really see beyond living on a little rock in the middle of the sea. There’s a bigger world out there than this little island. When you learn about other places in the world you become more grateful for what we have right here- it will add to the motivation for conservation. Especially those of Native Hawaiian ancestry. I feel a responsibility to get educated, to learn things and relate that back to them in a language that they can understand because when I look at them I see me, fifteen years ago or so. It’s a challenge but I accept that challenge because it’s what needs to get done. It’s what we’re missing-that link between science and the community. Q: What part of being a team leader do you like best best?? A: I get the chance to help people with things that I struggled with or experiences that I had last year that could be improved. In general I am very comfortable in the ocean and I enjoy using my strengths to help people. To me that’s the best part of being a leader—I develop patience and empathy but I also develop strength and communication skills. Q: What kind of advice would you give to future QUESTers?

A: Start early, get your medical forms out of the way. Form study groups, surround yourself with students who are more motivated. My dad always said, “It’s hard to soar like an eagle, if you’re flying with a bunch of lame ducks.” Surround yourself with people who share the same passion and are enthusiastic about it because that’s going to drive Bradley Young, UH Hilo that fire, that’s going to drive (Kuwabara/UHM MOP) that motivation to do the hard stuff. But it’s a choice. Stay positive. Get support from your family. Get whatever support you can because you’re going to need it. Understand that there’s a lot to learn and keep an open mind. The people that you’re going to meet here- this is the future of marine science. QUEST and the Marine Option Program- it cannot be stressed enough how literally each of these young adults here are going to be something big in the world of marine science. It’s been proven over the last 40+ years that MOP has been around. It proves itself over and over again. They’re establishers, and they work for NOAA, DAR, and DNLR. They’re doing good stuff. That’s what we need--we need collaboration. We’re in marine science, but what goes upstream goes downstream. Q: Why would you encourage someone else to come back to QUEST? A: I would say that being a team leader is very challenging. It’s different from being a team member. It’s important to have leaders in the community because there are certain qualities of a leader. These qualities are not only learned but they’re tested here, at QUEST. My advice would be to understand that this is a great opportunity. It really teaches us to work with different personalities, different perspectives, and I feel that’s what is really needed. Just keep an open mind and know that that’s where it’s at. Ikaika i ka lokahi (strength in teamwork and strength in working together), one paddle, one canoe. You’re already in marine science and if you want to see your potential in marine science, this will get you there. Period. If you want to see your potential you get over here and see how good you can get.  DECEMBER 2014 |25

Calendar of Events at UH Sea Grant’s Hanauma Bay Education Program Marine Science in East O‘ahu ***Presentations take place in the theater of the Hanauma Bay Education Center, beginning at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday evening. Events are free and open to the public with no charge for parking after 5:30pm***

December Events Science moving forward “UH Sea Grant Graduate Students” DECEMBER 6, 2014 Keiki Crafts & Activities Day 8 am - 4 pm Make holiday crafts & play fun activities DECEMBER 7, 2014 “Get Wired Up: Connecting Community and Researchers Through Watershed and Science” Rebecca Prescott “ Reef Coral and the Threat of Global Climate Change” Chris Wall DECEMBER 14, 2014 “Pollution in Paradise: Understanding the Threats to Whales and Dolphins” Brenda Jenson, PhD, Associate Dean/ Program Chair MSMS CNCS Department: College of Natural and Computational Science For more information or questions please contact: Hanauma Bay Education Program 100 Hanauma Bay Rd. Honolulu, HI 96825 Phone: (808) 397-5840 Email:


In honor of the technological advances that have been taking place in MOP recently, this month Seawords is revisiting some technological advances of MOP’s past. Twenty-four years ago this month, MOP held its first MOP video workshop. Students were selected for this workshop by submitting written proposals that showed their interest in creating video productions related to their MOP projects.




MOP & Community Events





Thurs. Fri.







5 Tour of Hyperbaric Treatment Center Kuakini Medical Center 1 - 5 p.m












Last Day of Instruction

MOP Graduation Dean 104 5 - 7 pm







Finals Week







Winter Break Begins No school.





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

See you next year!

December 2014  

The December 2014 of the Marine Option Program's newsletter, Seawords.

December 2014  

The December 2014 of the Marine Option Program's newsletter, Seawords.