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Seaw rds The Marine Option Program Newsletter

October 2012

3 “ I look forward

to hearing about the creative ideas students will have, ”

4 “ few know of

the historic wreck site just off shore, ”

10 “ This is not

the normal ecology for either species. So what exactly is the plan? ” MAST 2012 Kaua‘i Campus Gets a New MOP Co-Coordinator Underwater Photogaphy



From June 1, 1985 Seawords

Page 3: MOP Campus Events and News Page 4: MAST 2012 Page 6: MOP students at Papahānaumokuākea Page 9: Generation Blue Page 10: Sharks and Monk Seals Page 12: Ocean Art Page 18: SeaReads Page 19: Events at Hanauma Bay Cover Photo: The best photograph from the Underwater Photograhy Class was chosen for the cover this month. photo taken by: MOP student Ari Hansen Editor’s note: We would like to thank you for your continued support of Seawords. The premiere online issue had over 700 views by the end of the month!


Volume XXVI, Number 10, October 2012 Editor: Naomi Lugo Assistant Editor: Jessi Schultz 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, Fax: (808) 956-2417 E-mail: <> Website: <> Seawords is a monthly newsletter of the Marine Option Program at the University of Hawai‘i. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Marine Option Program or of the University of Hawai‘i Suggestions and submissions are welcome. Submissions may include articles, photographs, 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.

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Dieter Stelling/UHM MOP Stu

From 1986 Seawords

On September 22nd, MOP Hilo had a BBQ and a beach cleanup at Onekahakaha. More Hilo events can be found at

MOP Students Pick up Marine Debris/ /Hilo MOP

Kaua‘i CC


incorporate traditional Hawaiian knowledge.

How did you get started with MOP? My involvement with MOP started when I was hired this fall as a marine biologist at Kaua‘i Community College.

Kaua‘i MOP Co-coordinator Willow Jorgenson collecting amphipods in Moorea during her graduate research.

New Kaua‘i MOP Co-Coordinator Willow Jorgenson Shares Some of Her Experiences with MOP What is your role in the Marine Option Program? I am a new MOP co-coordinator at Kaua‘i Community College. I’m currently teaching Science of the Sea, OCN 201, which is a core requirement of the Kaua‘i MOP certificate. In addition, I am in the planning stages of a new Marine Biology course series that I am hoping to offer starting fall 2013. These courses will cover core biology concepts with a marine emphasis for science majors wanting to transfer into the UH Mānoa biology program or UH Hilo marine biology program. They will also

What is your favorite part of the ocean? I am fascinated with so many aspects of the ocean that I have many favorites! My graduate research at UH Mānoa took me to French Polynesia to study hermit crabs and amphipods. There is a special type of amphipod that lives in a tiny snail shell in a manner similar to a hermit crab. They occur on the reefs off the island of Moorea. My research looked at the behavior and ecology of these animals. I also found what may be a new species of tanaid, another type crustacean related to amphipods, that also inhabits small snail

shells. So to sum up, I love marine ecology, especially invertebrates! What do you look forward to the most about being with MOP? I am really looking forward to the opportunity to mentor students doing projects. In Hawai‘i we are in a prime location for ocean research. In MOP, students have the opportunity to come up with their own research questions based on their individual interests. I will be there to assist with project design and interpretation of results. MOP students can also do non-research oriented creative projects as well, such as those involving art or writing. I look forward to hearing about the creative ideas students will have for these types of projects as well. I have so much enthusiasm for the ocean and I enjoy sharing that with students. Seawords, October 2012 Page 3

From 1983 Seawords


UH Hilo

MAST Gabriel Cohen, UHM MOP Student


ot many undergraduates get a chance to do direct fieldwork in the relatively small academic field of maritime archaeology. There is only a small handful of programs in the United States, and most of them are taught at the graduate level. From July 30th to August 10th of this summer, ten Marine Option Program students from Mānoa, Hilo, and Maui campuses participated in the annual Maritime Archaeology Surveying Techniques field school, or MAST. The coursework consisted of direct instruction of surveying skills, followed by immediate practical field application in the water. The class was taught by Doctor Hans “Shipwreck” Van Tilburg, Maritime Heritage Coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries/Pacific Islands Region.


full survey was conducted of the SS Kaua‘i, a wreck site in Mahukona Harbor, in North Kohala on the Big Island. The Kaua‘i was used primarily as a cargo and passenger ship servicing the plantations that operated on the Big Island from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries. In 1913, the Interisland Steamship Company vessel swung around on her moorings during a Kona storm, and broke her stern open on the reef. Today, the wreck sits in about thirty feet of water. The wooden hull is absent from the site, either eaten by the marine shipworm, or buried deep under the sand. What remains are the metal components of the ship and

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her cargo, scattered over about 40 meters along the sand and reef. Notable artifacts included a tank, auxiliary boiler, mooring chain, assorted plantation equipment, and the massive steam engine and propeller shaft. The main boiler was present on the site during a MAST survey in 1993, but since then has rolled ashore and is extremely corroded. Curiously, most of the bow equipment, such

as the anchors, chains, windlasses, and one of the hawspipes, are nowhere to be found on the site.


he end product of the two weeks of fieldwork was a detailed, accurate map of the entire site, including both cultural and natural features. Numerous significant differences can be observed between this year’s map and the one drafted twenty


n the days when the class wasn’t diving on the site and mapping the survey data, everyone loaded up into the vans and went on several maritime heritage field trips. Locations included potential Japanese sampan wreck sites, at which the class conducted snorkel surveys, discovering several small artifacts. Many significant Native Hawaiian cultural sites along the Kohala and Kona coasts were also visited, including Lapakahi state, and the Pu‘ukoholā Heiau and Puuhonua o Honaunau national parks. Because the SS Kaua‘i was part of the plantation era cultural landscape, the class went on private tours of the Laupahoehoe train museum (where our student coordinator was able to drive a standard gauge train engine over some pennies) and the Parker Ranch House Museum.


years ago. Aside from the missing boiler, several artifacts have been moved, by either natural or human intervention. Using a metal detector, the 2012 class was able to discover dozens of new artifacts hidden under sand and coral. One of the most remarkable changes to the site, however, is the amount the reef has grown. Coral heads have ballooned out in all directions,

and artifact encrustation has massively expanded. This shows that the discipline of maritime archaeology is important not only for the conservation of cultural heritage, but for the monitoring of ecosystems. Wreck sites become key parts of the marine substrate, and what affects the artifacts also affects the coral.

fter two weeks of diving, surveying, and mapping, our findings were ready to be presented to the local community. Under the auspices of the local manager of the NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary, we gave a talk on the history of the SS Kaua‘i and the results of the survey at the Waimea Public Library. The community response was extremely positive; many people visit Mahukona harbor for recreation every day, but few know of the historic wreck site just off shore. What many locals once considered to just be junk may now be protected as the public property and shared heritage of the people of Kohala. From young children to the elderly, everyone at the presentation was excited to learn not only that this rare cultural resource exists, but that it will be monitored and protected by the collaboration between NOAA and the University of Hawai‘i.

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MOP students and scientists recently made the news as they came back from a NOAA expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Naomi Lugo, Editor


OP students and scientists conducted research on a NOAA led research expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands this past August. Current MOP students Jeff Kelly, Laura Knight, Wataru Kumagai, Carly Richer and MOP alumni Brian Hauk, Jason Leonard, and S. Godwin/ Yumi Yasutake were on board the Hiʻialakai for the expedition, which lasted from August 1st to the 24th. The research cruise was a part of the Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP). The crew conducted studies on the health of coral reef in the area including coral disease surveys, a bioerosion study, and other assessments. According to a press release, the 138 surveys revealed “no large coral or fish disease outbreaks, and no observations of any coral bleaching events.” There were however two alien species (a broyozoan and feather duster worm) spotted at Lisianski Island. Chief Scientist Scott Godwin said to KHON 2 about the spottings, “They were probably there for a while but they weren’t acting aggressively or anything. They’re very inconspicuous but we have to record them.” News coverage of the expedition and its findings included the University of Hawai‘i System News, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and KHON 2. To see a log of the trip with more information on the studies conducted, head to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument page. Seawords, October 2012 Page 6

C. Wiener/

Ocean Movie of the Month: Jiro Dreams of Sushi The film follows the life and career of Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old world renowned sushi chef. This well shot story shows not only the world of a sushi chef, but that of the Japanese fish Magnolia Pictures markets. It also explores overfishing and how it will affect generations of tradition. It can currently be viewed on Netflix.

Luciano Candisani, Minden Pictures/ Corbis/National Geographic

A Record Number of Manatees Spotted in the Waters of Belize Scientists expected to see around 300 individulas when they surveyed the Turneffe Atoll area from aircraft; instead they recorded 507. The last highest count was 350. About 10 percent of the manatees spotted were reported to be calves. The count was led by the Oceanic Society.

Is Deforestation Hurting Coral? A recently published study has indicated that deforestation in Madagascar has an affect on the coral in the surrounding waters. Sediment from deforested areas is ending up in Antongil Bay and is smothering coral, supressing growth, and creating higher incidence of disease. The study can be read online.

Tuna to be Tested for Radiation A 600 pound Tuna caught off the coast of New Zealand will be tested for possible radiation. Scientists are worried that the fish might carry contamination from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011.


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GENERATION BLUE: Actions for the Ocean Naomi Lugo, Editor 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 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!

READ UP ON THE CLEAN WATER ACT. The 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act is this month. The CWA protects water supplies against pollution. So get informed, and read up on current legislation.


REPORT HAWAIIAN MONK SEAL SIGHTINGS. Hawaiian monk seals are endangered and endemic to Hawaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;i, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important for the public to do their part and protect the seals. To report stranded or entangled marine mammals call 1-888-256-9840.


IF YOU HAVE TO GO DISPOSABLE, USE WOODEN CHOPSTICKS. A big problem in the ocean is plastic pollution, and the less we contribute the better. All though reusable utensils are ideal, if you have no other option choose the wooden chopsticks over the plastic forks to cut down on potential pollution and petroleum used to create the plastic in the first place.

If you have a suggestion for a green act, email us at with subject line Generation Blue to submit your idea. Seawords, October 2012 Page 9

Hawaiian monk seals are considered one of the rarest marine mammals, and according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there are an estimated fewer than 1,200 individuals left. The species is endemic to Hawai‘i.


Can Killing Sharks Protect Hawaiian Monk Seals?? Jessi Schultz, Asisstant Editor


onolulu Civil Beat reported this August that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been spending their summer trying to help bolster the Hawaiian monk seal population. The plan was to kill eighteen Galapagos sharks near French Frigate Shoals, which is an atoll about 550 miles away from O‘ahu and part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. It is also a place where pups are relocated by NOAA so they won’t be bothered by human disturbances. Eleven researchers spent

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their summer involved in this strategy and have agreed that shark predation is one of the main threats to the Hawaiian monk seal population. The shark eradication program was approved in March by officials of the state. Sam Gon, a senior scientist and cultural advisor at Hawaii’s Nature Conservancy said to Honolulu Civil Beat, “…it’s not comfortable […] pitting one native species against another.” He also explained that NOAA was careful as to what species of sharks they caught. The tiger and white tip sharks were released if caught.

Gon went on to say that, “I wish there would never be any take of one thing for another, but in the case of monk seals, they’re a resource I believe strongly are native and therefore important to protect.” This is not the normal ecology for either species. So what exactly is the plan? Monk seals are an endemic species local to Hawai‘i waters and populations have been decreasing since the industrialization of the 1950s. There are only a little over one thousand left. According to NOAA, the rate of decline is at about 4% each

year which is why they have called for a plan of action. NOAA tries to aid in the species’ recovery by trying to reduce natural mortality factors which include shark predation, male seal aggression and risk of infectious disease. There are also volunteer groups focused on minimizing human interaction or disturbances and to help monitor weaning pups. The scientists cast out a line with a tuna head as bait to try and capture the predators. Since 2000, NOAA has been trying to rid coastal waters in the French Frigate Shoal atoll of Galapagos sharks.

Opinion The culling of sharks began in the late 1990s after a series of shark attacks on weaning pups. Sharks kill a range of 6-17 Hawaiian Monk seal pups per year, according to NOAA. But there are other reasons as to why the seal population is declining. There are limited food sources, anthropological reasons (such as fish nets), and habitat loss from rising sea levels. Is the plan effective? Scientists are finding it hard to remove the sharks. Since the program began in 2000, fourteen sharks have been killed. Funding has also been an issue for this program. According to Charles Littnan, the lead scientist for NOAA monk seal research program, their multimillion dollar budget was cut some 40% this year alone. Although, the scientists are trying to preserve other shark species while culling the Galapagos sharks, it continues to be a difficult process. They are trying to allow the seal pups time to develop past the weaning stages to boost survival rates, but with shark predation increasing, the human touch has intervened. The scientists have tried relocating some of the seal

pups, because after 35 days of nursing the mother will leave it to fend for itself. What other tactics are at work to increase Hawaiian monk seal survival rates? The shark eradication plan has been put to action, but over the years others strategies have been tested. In 2008, researchers at NOAA tried to trick the sharks into thinking that instead of seals, there were humans occupying the coastal waters and beaches. In past studies, sharks fed less on seals when there were people on beaches near ‘pupping sites’. Sharks tend to stay away from human activity in general, so scientists used recording devices that mimicked the sound of people playing.

island. Other efforts to save the seals without culling sharks include treating infections among seals, reuniting mothers with their pups, putting pups in waters with fewer sharks, cleaning up the beaches of litter and other pollutants and removing harmful male Hawaiian monk seals who are normally aggressive. NOAA sees small success in their trials and tribulations, but new ideas are necessary to put the Hawaiian monk seal population back on its feet.

John Coney/UHH MOP John Coney/UHH MOP

NOAA continues to enhance seal’s survival and do research through the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program (HMSRP). Their goal is to help the population of monk seals reach a sustainable level. In July 2012, they relocated two weaned female pups from French Frigate Shoals (FFS) to nearby Laysan Island. According to NOAA’s site, weaned pups have less than a 1 in 5 chance of reaching adulthood at FFS, while the survival rate is 3 times higher at the neighboring

The main goal of the project was to remove eighteen sharks in seven weeks so predation on Hawaiian monk seal pups could be minimized. Their main strategies listed on the site include: 1.Helping female seals survive, especially juveniles. 2.Ensuring growing population rates and reducing any interaction with human beings in the Hawaiian Islands. 3.Acting on a recovery program for maximum efficiency, integration and partnerships.

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UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY Seawords, October 2012 Page 12

On sur rap wh Ph den

n September 16th, UH Mト]oa MOP students learned techniques rrounding underwater photography from marine life photogpher Keoki Stender. They then put those skills to use in the field hile snorkeling at Kaiona Beach Park. otos above and on following pages are all taken and edited by stunts. Seawords, October 2012 Page 13

Cover Photo: Sea Slug Plakobranchus ocellatus Photo by: UHM MOP Student Ari Hansen

Surgeon fish

Acanthurus triostegus

Photo by: UHM MOP Student Christina Curto

Purple coral reef at blah blah blah bay. Photo by: Marie O. Peemn Shot with 35 mm DSLR

If you are interested in submitting photography to Seawords, send us an email at with the subject line MOP photography. We accept submissions year round.

This book gets 3 out of 5 bubbles.


Cat Harris, UHM MOP Student


n the mid-summer of this year, dolphin trainers and marine mammal enthusiasts flocked to their kindle apps and local bookshops to purchase the highly anticipated novel Death at Sea World: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity by David Kirby. The book centers on the battle with the multimilliondollar marine park industry over the controversial and even lethal ramifications of keeping killer whales in captivity. Featuring a handful of marine biologists and trainers that had been working closely with killer whales at various marine theme parks, Kirby tells the gripping story of the two-decade fight against PR-savvy SeaWorld, which came to a head with the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.


he story starts by describing the various incidents in order, accounting the whales by name, the training methods used

for whales that were part of the daily shows, and how the company went about correcting the mistakes that caused the fatalities.


t continues on to describe killer whales in the wild, their natural behavior and how they tend to react to a captive lifestyle. As the story progresses and orca attacks on trainers become increasingly violent, the warnings of marine biologists and animal advocates at the Humane Society of the US, Naomi Rose, as well as other scientists fall on deaf ears, only to be realized with the death of Dawn Brancheau. Finally, Kirby covers the media backlash, the eyewitnesses who come forward to challenge SeaWorldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s glossy image and the groundbreaking OSHA case that challenges the very idea of keeping killer whales in captivity and may spell the end of having trainers in the water with the oceanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top predators.

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Death at SeaWorld written by David Kirby, is a non-fiction novel about the orca controversy at SeaWorld.


he read at the beginning was a task but towards the middle it became clearer why he was introducing such characters, although the description of their resumes seemed irrelevant. As the story began to unfold, it became more gripping. Kirby does an excellent job describing the policy process and just how serious of a situation it is, seeing as the attacks not only became increasingly violent but more frequent since the late 1980s.


recommend this book to all marine mammal lovers, and to those who want a future in the mammal training business. It is a good introduction to the kind of people you may be facing and the kind of animals you may have to deal with. This story definitely drove home the message that one should always be well educated in natural animal behaviors before dealing with them in captivity because when the time comes, it may mean life or death.

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 Nature Preserve, beginning at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday evening***

October Events Coral Reefs

October 4, 2012 Coral adaptation to hotter, more acidic oceans Christopher Jury, Graduate Assistant, UHM & Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology October 11, 2012 Managing coral reefs from ridge to reef Dr. Kathy Chaston, Hawai‘i Coral Management Liason & Pacific Watershed Specialist, NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, Pacific Services Center October 18, 2012 Impacts of sedimentation on coral settlement, Pelekane Bay, Hawai‘i Yuko Stender, M.A. Candidate, UHM Geography Department October 25, 2012 Coral disease in O`ahu’s Marine Life Conservation Districts Maya Walton, MS Candidate, UHM Biology Department & Bioerosion of Coral Reefs Nyssa Silbiger, PhD Candidate, UHM Biology Department For more information or questions please contact: Hanauma Bay Education Program 100 Hanauma Bay Rd. Honolulu, HI 96825 Phone: (808) 397-5840 Email:

FLASHBACK: 1989 Photo featured on the cover of the October 1989 issue of Seawords: On the cover: Trained dolphins perform a hula dance for visitors at Sea Life Park. Sea Life Park is one of the places where one can gain hands-on experience in marine studies. Photo by Nikolai Turetsky.

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Seaw rds Address Service Requested

Upcoming MOP Events October October is National Seafood Month Monday, Wednesday 1st & 3rd: QUEST Limu IDs Sunday 7th: Fishing and Seafood Festival Monday 8th: QUEST ID Exam Thursday 11th, Captain Charles Moore to Speak at UHM Saturday 13th: Maritime Archaeology Trip to the Falls of Clyde Thursday 18th: Clean Water Act 40th Anniversary Friday, Saturday 19th & 20th: SOEST Open House Sunday 21st: Trip to Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology & Marine Mammal Protection Act 40th Anniversary

Next Issue: Ocean Landscape Photography, How to get into QUEST and more Seawords, October 2012 Page 18

October 2012 2012

University of Hawai`i at Mānoa Seawords, Marine Option Program College of Natural Sciences 2450 Campus Road, Dean Hall 105A Honolulu, HI 96822-2219

October Seawords  

The October issue of the Marine Option Program's newsletter Seawords.