Monday, November 23, 2015

Super Coral

This speaks for itself.  HIMB's own Ruth Gates, Paul Jokiel, Cindy Hunter, and Beth Lenz share their views and discoveries of bleaching events occurring on a global scale.

Friday, November 6, 2015

SOEST Open House 2015

On October 23rd HIMB took part in the School of Ocean, Earth Science, and Technology (SOEST) Open House. Our goal was to educate school groups and families about how global warming and climate change effect Hawaii’s coral reefs as well as encourage the participants to think of ways that they could decrease their own carbon footprint.

For our ”Cool the Ocean” tent we built a structure that would hold a bucket above of a paddling pool that was painted to illustrate the earth. In the middle of the pool there was a chair where an unlucky parent, teacher, student or one of our staff would sit and wait in anticipation. The other members of the group received a short lesson about coral reefs, why they are so important and the impacts of global warming on them.  The group members were then asked questions relating to what they had just learned and had to come up with ways that they could help protect our coral reefs from the effects of global warming. If answered correctly they would be allowed to dump water on the person in the pool. This represented a coral in the ocean being cooled off and thus saved by the now attained awareness of the person.

We wanted to engage and educate the public in an interactive and entertaining way, and what better way to encourage everyone to learn about the effects of global warming on our coral reefs than to reward them with the opportunity to dump a bucket of water on someone! It’s safe to say that we had a great variety of participants.  While some kids were very eager to soak their mentors, others were keen on having water dumped on themselves! This fun activity attracted kids and families of ages varying from 5 to 18.

At the end of the 2-day event, everyone had learned something new and gained a deeper understanding about how global warming and climate change affect Hawaii’s coral reefs.  

Pictures kindly supplied by Palolo Elementary.


Nikki & Jardine

Monday, October 26, 2015

Research insights on recent shark attacks around Oahu

The Holland Lab at HIMB has observed the behavior of sharks frequenting Hawaii for many years.  Numerous tagging projects in Kane'ohe Bay have unveiled patterns in the migration of tiger sharks year to year.  Even though tiger sharks have been tracked traveling extensive distances in a short period of time, there are certain places they will repeatedly frequent during specific life stages.   In light of the recent increase in shark attacks around Oahu, this research lends a new perspective as to why these sharks have decided to make their presence known.

Dr. Carl Meyer, a researcher with the Holland Lab, addresses the current issue by associating recent attacks to tiger shark pupping season in October/November.  Tagging projects have demonstrated that female tiger sharks tend to migrate to the main Hawaiian Islands in the fall to give birth to their pups.  During this time, the female sharks ultimately starve because the energy expended nourishing their pups outweighs the energy they gain from feeding.  Dr. Meyer suggests recent attacks may have been the result of additional feedings by pregnant female tiger sharks desperate for sustenance and major increases in the amount of people using the ocean for recreational purposes.

Dr. Carl Meyer and fellow researchers tagging a tiger shark off the coast of Maui in October, 2013.

However, Dr. Meyer emphasizes that a higher risk of shark bites in the fall season was well known throughout traditional Hawaiian knowledge.  Shark attacks at this time of year are not an abnormal phenomenon.  Through oral tradition, the Hawaiians were aware of the fall pupping season and took added measures to stay safe when going into the water.  Ocean safety professionals now recommend that to reduce the risk, always swim or surf with another person and to avoid murky water. 

 You may read the full article here: 
Marine biologist Carl Meyer shares insights on recent tiger shark bites

If you would like a closer look at the tagging projects, the PacIOOS link below is an active tracking website detecting sharks currently being monitored: PacIOOS   


Friday, October 2, 2015

Have You Seen a Goby Before?

If you have ever gone out to tide pools and sand flats, and seen something dart off quickly, you’ve probably seen a goby.  The goby is a small fish, found both in fresh and salt-water ecosystems all over the world. Although they are small, they make up for it in numbers. These gobies belong to the family Goviidae and this family is the largest of the marine fish. Gobies tend to be bottom dwellers and are rarely seen due to their small stature; few grow larger than 6 inches in length while the smallest have a length of 2.5 inches.  When it comes to choosing a home, the gobies construct their own by using their large mouths to dig burrows and move rocks or live on the reef in crevices and small holes. Even if you can’t see them they are there. 

A peculiar species of goby found during an algae lab was the Petite Goby (Priolepis farcimen). This goby is endemic to Hawaii and the Johnston Islands and is the smallest Priolepis genus in Hawai’i. It can be distinguished from the other species by the dark bordered white lines that go across its face and upper body. In a survey called A Survey of the Small Reef Fishes of Kaneohe Bay, Oʻahu, Hawaiian Islands by David W. Greenfield, they looked at the more cryptic fish in the bay and found that the petite goby mostly in deep spur, groove, and shelf sites. But, they are found on open patch reefs, shallow spurs, and groove sites. Even though these fish are masters of not being seen, it does not mean that they are uncommon. You just need to look a bit harder.


Greenfield, David W., and John E. Randall. "The Marine Gobies of the Hawaiian
Islands." The California Academy of Science 55.27 (2004): 498-549. Web.

Greenfield, David W. "A survey of the Small Reed Fishes of Kaneohe Bay, Oʻahu, Hawaiian
Islands." Pacific Science 57.1 (2003): 45-76. Web.

Hoover, John P. The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Whales,
and Seals. Honolulu: Mutual Pub. 2008. Print.