Friday, July 13, 2018

New Website


A new website has recently been created for HIMB. There, you can find resources needed to learn more about us, such as our contact information, the various visiting programs that we offer as well as their costs, and more. This site is still being updated and more from the old website will be available soon, so make sure to be on the lookout for updates. This blog will still be maintained, and there is even a link for it on the new website! Click here to visit our new site.

Moku o Lo'e from a bird's-eye view. Images from HIMB blog.
Mahalo nui!


Thursday, July 12, 2018

New intern in the HIMB Community Education Program: Ginny

Aloha everyone!

Me in our office at HIMB
In Leverett, Massachusetts
with the Mt. Toby mudslide rock
formation behind me
My name is Ginny Svec and I'm a new intern here in the HIMB Community Education Program until the end of August. I'm from Westfield, Massachusetts near Springfield, and I'm going to be a junior at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts this upcoming fall. At Smith, I'm majoring in environmental geology, minoring in marine science and policy, and considering a concentration in climate change. I have always had a love of the ocean and beaches, and in the future, I would like to pursue a career in oceanography of some sort. Since I've mainly been focusing on the geological side of things for the past few years at school, I think that this internship will be a great opportunity for me to learn more about the biology of the marine world. I'm also excited to be orienting myself a bit better with the interesting geological and anthropological histories of Moku o Lo'e, O'ahu and the Hawaiian Islands as a whole.

 I'm so grateful that I have been given the opportunity to be a part of  this state-of-the-art research institute. Over the past few days of being here, I realize just how much I'm going to be learning from this experience, and I am ready and excited to do just that. I'm currently learning about the layout and history of the island, as well as the biota present in Hawai'i, and the research being performed at HIMB. Soon I will be giving tours to convey all of the interesting information that I've learned here to the public. I can't wait to start giving tours and learning as much as I can during my internship here on Moku o Lo'e!



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

SOEST Open House at UH Mānoa


Another successful Open House here in beautiful Hawai’i Nei.

 This year the Community Education Program had a very popular interactive booth with a splash pool with the theme – “Cool the Oceans!” Our table focused on how climate change is warming the oceans, how HIMB research is helping find solutions, and how the students have 5 simple ways they can help make a difference in the coming years. Once a group went through our questions and answers one brave volunteer would get to sit the SPLASH SEAT while others pulled a cord and poured cold water on their head, draining down to cool the blue ocean pool!

The 5 R’s!
1. Refuse
2. Reduce
3. Reuse
4. Recycle
     and our newly added category for HIMB

It is estimated that we are able to reach over 600 students over the two days. One student was so excited, he brought his mom back on Saturday to visit us again. Thanks to Leon, Mike C., Brenda, Joyce, Sherine, as well as our newest member Kyla for helping out!


Mahalo Nui,


Newest Member to HIMB's Community Education Program


I'm Kyla Herrmann, the new Kupu intern under the AmeriCorps organization. I have just completed my first month working here at Moku o Lo'e and am humbled and excited to have this opportunity to be at this world class research and education facility for the next year. 

Born and raised on O’ahu I wandered off to Olympia, Washington for my bachelor’s degree. After graduating from The Evergreen State College with a B.S. in Field Ecology and Biology, I returned to Oahu to pursue marine education. I spent several years as a Marine Mammal Naturalist on boats, did a stint as a Marine Microplastic Educator for Sustainable Coastlines Hawai’i, and was recently the Lead Educator/Manager of the summer programs at the Honolulu Zoo. Now I have landed here at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology with open eyes and helping hands to absorb everything possible and help wherever I can. 

In the past 30 days I’ve assisted with the annual NOAA Ocean Explorer Educators Workshop, where I helped teach a NOAA Multibeam Lesson Plan, staffed the SOEST Open House, collected night plankton with a Boy Scout Troop getting their Oceanography Merit Badge on an overnight, as well as a joining the HIMB CEP volunteers for a special private behind the scenes tour of the Waikiki Aquarium. In addition, I became boat and lifeguard certified! Given this start, I can’t wait to see what the next nine months brings!

I'm stoked to see how this internship unwinds! I'm truly grateful to the HIMB Community Education Program for giving me the chance to work with all of the HIMB volunteers, staff and faculty.  

Mahalo Nui,

Friday, May 5, 2017

Marine Biologist for a day with Make-a-Wish

This week, the Community Education Program helped grant a wish for 17-year-old Destiny.  Destiny and her family traveled from Florida to visit Hawaii to fulfill her wish of being a marine biologist. Make-a-Wish Hawaii has been granting wishes to more than 12,000 children in the past three decades.

Photo by Abe McAulton, Wish Coordinator
Destiny had the opportunity to visit the Holland Lab and participate in a shark feeding to some hungry hammerhead and sandbar sharks.  View the exciting video below, filmed by Mark Royer.


She enjoyed learning about different shark jaws and tracking methods used by the marine biologists at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology.

Photo by Abe McAulton, Wish Coordinator
Photo by Abe McAulton, Wish Coordinator

Photo by Abe McAulton, Wish Coordinator

Destiny and her brother also conducted a plankton tow around Kane'ohe Bay.  The sample of plankton collected was brought to the lab where they met with our volunteer, Mike, who shared his passion for plankton and explained the importance of plankton in the food web and carbon cycle.  Next, the family was asked to draw and identify individual plankton that they saw under the microscope.  We saw a variety of species, such as copepods, fish eggs, worm larvae, zoea, and ascidians. 
Photo by Abe McAulton, Wish Coordinator

Destiny's visit ended with a walking tour around Moku o Lo'e, with stops at the black-tipped reef shark lagoon, educational touch tank, coral research labs, and more. 
Photo by Abe McAulton, Wish Coordinator
Photo by Abe McAulton, Wish Coordinator
Photo by Abe McAulton, Wish Coordinator
Photo by Abe McAulton, Wish Coordinator

We really enjoyed Destiny and her family's visit to Moku o Lo'e, and hope to help grant wishes to more Make-a-Wish children in the future.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Stoked on Marine Science!

Post by: Cristina Veresan

A group of 7th graders from Le Jardin Academy visited Coconut Island earlier this month for an overnight visit to conduct marine field work. 

To visit the blog post, please click here

Raphael introduces students to the Gates Lab
Leon explains the "Super Sucker" barge that helps remove invasive Gorilla ogo algae from Kane'ohe Bay
Boat ride across to HIMB
Students setting up camp

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sponge Predation by Cowries

Opposed to popular belief, sponges do not actually live in a pineapple under the sea and do not protect secret hamburger recipes from evil copepods. However, we do know that they can often be found nestled in the crevices of coral reefs.

In Kane’ohe Bay, you can find a wide variety of different species of sponge along our coral reefs, but one of these species is of high interest to some of our researchers here at HIMB. This species of sponge, Mycale grandis (Orange Keyhole Sponge) (Figure 1), is an invasive species that was unintentionally brought into our waters as fouling organisms on Australian ships. In other words, the sponge grew on the hulls on these boats and then were brought to Hawaii accidentally. Around 1996, reports began to surface of this newly introduced sponge being found in the Pearl Harbor Bay, but in relatively low concentrations. Soon after, these sponges made their way to Kane’ohe Bay where they were found to have a much more significant abundance and distribution across the coral reefs, specifically in the Southern Bay near Coconut Island.

Figure 1. Mycale grandis, or the Orange Keyhole Sponge. Here, you can clearly see the
“Key Hole” pores covering the sponge.

In 2004-2005, scientists at NOAA performed some research to try and calculate the rate of growth of the M. grandis sponge and found that the sponge abundance increased by about 13% in just the one year. In the second year of research, they came to the same conclusion when they found significant growth at 7 of 11 observation sites, with the most significant growth still being around Coconut Island. This trend has continued throughout the years and can now be seen throughout the Kane’ohe Bay coral reef system.

So, I am sure you are asking, “Why is this important? What’s wrong with this sponge living on our coral reefs?” Well, good thing you asked! As with all invasive species, they create an unnatural competition with native species of sponge and cause a disturbance in the balance of the ecosystem. Here in Kane’ohe Bay, they can be seen growing over some native coral species as well. Simply put, M. grandis moved in to the reefs around Coconut Island and are making the native corals and native sponges uncomfortable!

In effort to stop the invasive sponge from spreading even further into the bay or expanding to other islands, officials tried to remove the sponge mechanically, but found that this method was too time consuming and not efficient as the sponge would grow back very quickly. They also tried to remove the sponge by injecting the sponge with air. This method was very effective but also requires a lot of resources and may not be the most efficient method.

This now brings us to the research being done here at HIMB. Our researchers, Jan Vicente and Andrew Osberg, are considering the possibility of controlling the growth of the invasive sponge by experimenting with Tiger Cowries. These snail-like creatures can also be found along our coral reefs, slowly grazing on algae and sponge. Our researchers are hoping to find out more about the Tiger Cowries preferred diet and if they will eat the M. grandis that is threatening our coral reefs. To do this, they are comparing the M. grandis to various other species of native sponge that can also be found within our coral reefs to see which one the Tiger Cowries prefer to eat. If they have an appetite for the invasive M. grandis, then this could be a big step towards preventing any further growth and expansion of the invasive sponge!

Post by Kevin O'Rourke

Bishop Museum and University of Hawaii–Guidebook of Introduced Marine Species of Hawai’i. N.p., 2002. Web. 2017.

NOAA – Assessment of Invasiveness of Orange Keyhole Sponge Mycale Armata in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii Based on Surveys 2005-2006, Year 2 of Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative. N.p., 2007. Web. 2017.