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UH Manoa makes significant contribution at international conference, 'From the Mountains to the Sea'

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Marcie Grabowski, (808) 956-3151
Outreach Specialist, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
Posted: Feb 27, 2017

The biannual Aquatic Sciences Meeting (ASM), sponsored by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), is being held at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center from February 26 to March 3. The conference is an important venue for international aquatic scientists to address water issues — marine and fresh — and promote scientific exchange, promoting dialogue among limnologists and oceanographers from around the world. Kathleen Ruttenberg, an oceanography professor at UH Mānoa's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), is the meeting co-chair along with Paul Bukavecas from Virginia Commonwealth University.

The conference theme, “From the Mountains to the Sea,” emphasizes the connectivity of our planet’s aquatic systems, and underscores the urgent need to share knowledge, insights, discoveries and different world views about the lakes, rivers, streams, aquifers, wetlands and oceans that comprise our Earth’s hydrosphere. This year’s meeting theme dovetails wonderfully with the Hawaiian cultural perspective linking land, water and peoples through aloha ‘āina. For over a thousand years, Native Hawaiian lifestyle exemplified a model relationship between people and landscape. The successful integration of culture and resource management along natural watershed boundaries, ahupua‘a, that run from the mountains (mauka) to the sea (makai), was and continues to be paramount. Thus, the meeting theme is particularly fitting for the venue, as those who participate recognize and examine the interconnectedness of aquatic systems.

Each day of the meeting will begin with invited plenary speakers who will cover a range of topics at the cutting edge of aquatic sciences.  The speakers span the ranks from junior to established senior members of the aquatic science community, and include three scientists from the within SOEST:

  • Lionel Guidi, postdoctoral scientist, Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE)
    Tara Oceans: The Biological Carbon Pump from Genes to Ecosystems
    (Tara Oceans is the largest DNA sequencing effort ever done for the ocean)
    Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 9 to 9:50 a.m.; Kalakaua Ballroom
  • Dave Karl, Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel Professor of Oceanography and director, C-MORE
    Station Aloha: A Gathering Place for Discovery, Education and Scientific Collaboration
    Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 9 to 9:50 a.m.; Kalakaua Ballroom
  • Ruth Gates, director and researcher, Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB)
    Harnessing Basic Science to Advance Solutions for Coral Reefs
    Friday, March 3, 2017, 9 to 9:50 a.m.; Kalakaua Ballroom

Numerous members of SOEST, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, scientific staff and professors, will be presenting a wide range of research at sessions that run all day Monday to Friday. 

Coral reef health
Developing strategies to promote coral reef survival in the face of climate change
Talk; Wednesday, March 1, 12:15 p.m.

Coral microbiome response to inorganic nutrient enrichment
Talk; Friday, March 3, 10:30 a.m.

Responses to climate change
Session on species and ecosystem responses to climate change
Multiple talks and poster presentations; Thursday, March 2, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Open ocean microbes
Biological oxygen production in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre
Talk; Wednesday, March 1, 10:45 a.m.

Variability of viral and host assemblages at Station ALOHA
Poster; Wednesday, March 1, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Caloric content of sinking particles in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre
Poster; Wednesday, March 1, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Seawater air conditioning
Changes in potential environmental impacts of seawater air conditioning under future climate scenarios
Talk; Monday, February 27, 12:30 p.m. (available for interview additional times)

Submarine groundwater discharge distribution on the Hawaiian Islands – trends and implications
Poster; Monday, February 27, 2017, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. (available for interview additional times)

Groundwater inputs and their effect on water quality in the Kahalu‘u stream complex
Poster; Monday, February 27, 2017, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. (available for interview additional times)

Additional session names and descriptions are available online.

A number of field trips run before and after the meeting, including a workday at He‘eia Fishpond, a coral reef field trip sponsored by HIMB, a southeast O‘ahu coastal geology field trip and hike run SOEST faculty member Barbra Bruno, and a Waikīkī and Ala Wai Canal watershed field trip run by the Hawai‘i Sea Grant.

Additionally, an art exhibit, Plankton: The Bizarre and the Beautiful –Ernst Haeckel, his Art, the HMS Challenger Expedition, and the Glass Models of the Blaschkas, will be on display throughout the conference. The exhibit will feature a small collection of the intricate lithographs of the renowned 19th-century biologist and illustrator Ernst Haeckel, one of the world’s most celebrated naturalists and artists. Featured will be startlingly beautiful images of Siphonophores, Medusae and Radiolaria created by Haeckel for three of the reports of the HMS Challenger expedition. Among the artists inspired by the work of Haeckel was a father-son team of Dresden glass smiths, the Blaschkas. They created spectacularly beautiful and true-to-life glass models of planktonic organisms, as well flowers and other animals, primarily designed as teaching aids.  The Honolulu exhibit will also feature images of some of the work of the Blaschkas. Ruttenberg and others are planning to set up a subsequent public exhibit on UHM campus after the conference concludes.

Complimentary media registration is available by contacting Lynda West at, (254) 776-3550.