SOEST is pleased to send you our inaugural newsletter!
Read on to learn about new funding,
partnerships, exciting research ventures and more.
November 2014
Message from the Dean

Welcome to our new digital newsletter.  SOEST, now in its 27th year, continues to amaze me.  What a privilege it is to work in the center of the Pacific Ocean, with easy access to active volcanoes, coral reefs, deep-ocean, a space launch facility and natural energy resources.  We are the premier institution for microbial oceanography in the world.  We are in stellar company among the top 20 (17th) world universities for our work in the geosciences (earth, ocean, atmospheric and planetary sciences), as confirmed again by the just published NTU Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers 2014.  Our four teaching Departments are all in the top 10 at UH Manoa in terms of Scholarly Productivity relative to their national peers, as independently measured by Academic Analytics.  

-- Dr. Brian Taylor  

Drs. DeLong and Karl receive $40M 
The Simons Foundation awarded SOEST Professors Drs. Edward DeLong and David Karl $40 million to lead the Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE), making it the largest private foundation gift UH had ever received (at the time of receipt). The goal of SCOPE is to further our understanding of the microscopic organisms that inhabit every drop of seawater and how those creatures control the movement and exchange of energy and nutrients, from the surface waters to the deep sea. "In SCOPE, we're going to be using a range of technologies -- from in situ autonomous sensing to the advanced genomic analyses -- to more deeply understand how the ecosystem really works in the ocean waters around Hawaii, and how that relates to ecosystem function on the rest of the planet," said DeLong, the first researcher to be hired under the Hawai'i Innovation Initiative (HI2)


Watch the video and read more on the UH News Story.

Agreement with NUIST will advance climate research

SOEST and the Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST) recently finalized a research and education agreement, focused on the collaborative development of earth-system climate models.  Funding from NUIST, totaling $5M, will support the creation of a new center of excellence within SOEST, the Atmosphere-Ocean Research Center (AORC).  The AORC will function as a development and training center, where students and faculty from NUIST and SOEST work together to advance numerical climate modeling research and capabilities. Students from NUIST will also have the opportunity to earn advanced graduate degrees in Atmospheric Sciences at UH.

Partnership with Schmidt Ocean Institute

This year, we were fortunate to partner with the Schmidt Ocean Institute, which provided over 100 days at sea on the R/V
Falkor to further a variety of SOEST research projects. Three student cruises explored dolphin behavior near the Big Island, copepod ecology, the geology of Maui Nui and the internal tides around Kaena Ridge. Two additional cruises mapped substantial areas of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and investigated the iron-eating bacteria at the base of Loihi seamount (video). On the final cruise in this collaboration SOEST researchers will explore what animals are found in the Mariana trench, the deepest ocean trench on Earth, and what factors might control these animals' locations and concentrations.  

Dr. Rhett Butler, New HIGP Director

Rhett Butler is the new Director of the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP). Dr. Butler has been associated with the University of Hawai'i since 1982. He served as the Program Manager for the Global Seismographic Network, a primary data source for Earth research and education, earthquake monitoring and tsunami warning, and nuclear treaty monitoring. Dr. Butler also initiated U.S. efforts to reuse undersea telecommunication cables for ocean observatories and negotiated the donation of cables from AT&T for the scientific community. Recently, he has served as consultant to NASA and the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on scientific monitoring with submarine telecommunication cables. Dr. Butler also serves as Chair of the Science and Society Committee for the U.N. Joint Task Force for integrating scientific sensors into submarine telecommunication cables. He currently directs research on reassessing tsunami threats to Hawaii from great earthquakes in the Aleutian Islands, working in close cooperation with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and Hawaii State Civil Defense.
3 HIGP scientists selected for Mars 2020 instrument teams

NASA announced the selection of seven science instruments to be included on the Mars 2020 rover. Three scientists (Sarah Fagents, Shiv Sharma, and Anupam Misra) from the Hawai'i Institute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) will be members on the instrument teams to conduct unprecedented science and exploration technology investigations on the Red Planet. The new rover will carry sophisticated hardware and instruments to perform geological assessments of the rover's landing site, determine the potential habitability of the environment, and search for signs of ancient Martian life.

Read more about the HIGP scientists and their work on the Mars 2020 Rover instruments in this UHM news story.

Two SOEST Alumni named Pacific Business News "40 under 40", Class of 2014

Lauren Roth Venu (M.S. Oceanography) is the founder and president of Roth Ecological Design International (REDI). REDI is a Hawaii-based, Asia-Pacific sustainable water resource management design firm focused on systems-based design, water security, low impact development, and creating innovative economies that produce rather than reduce resources. She is actively involved in initiatives for the advancement of green infrastructure and implementation of sustainable water management systems from large scale mixed-use developments to affordable housing and community development projects both for Hawaii and abroad, specifically for developing nations. Ms. Venu presented at TEDx Maui in 2013.


Richard Wallsgrove (M.S. Oceanography) is the Senior Manager at Blue Planet Foundation. Richard formerly worked as an attorney in Honolulu, handling complex litigation on a wide range of issues. He has also worked with the Center for Island Climate Adaptation & Policy at the University of Hawai'i, analyzing climate-adaptive tools for managing water resources. He has lectured on legal issues to future technological and social entrepreneurs at UH's law, business, and engineering graduate schools, and has authored papers on shoreline issues, renewable energy resources, and other topics. Richard graduated summa cum laude from the William S. Richardson School of Law, where he was Editor-In-Chief of the UH Law Review.  

Undergraduate Student Internships

DiamondTachera (pictured), G&G student, was an intern at the USGS Pacific Islands Water Science Center, as a hydrologic technician. She worked on various aspects of fieldwork and data processing. Through this engaging experience, Ms. Tachera said, "I am in the correct field of study because I wake up every morning excited to go to work!" Watch Diamond's highlight video.


Kanani (Pua) Pali gained first-hand experience monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes by working with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) scientists this summer. Pali graduated from Konawaena High School before moving to O'ahu, where she is now a UH Mānoa senior majoring in geology and geophysics (G&G). Read more about it in the West Hawaii Today.


Both students were funded by USGS through the Native Hawaiian Science and Engineering Mentorship Program (NHSEMP), which provides opportunities for students to excel in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Kikowaena Campaign

In the Hawaiian language the word kikowaena means "center of the circle." The circle of SOEST reaches far and wide: to our university, our community, our Hawai'i, our world.


Please join us in supporting undergraduate education through the Kikowaena Scholarship Campaign as together we establish an undergraduate student scholarship endowment within SOEST, and use that endowment to recruit and retain talented students within our degree programs. Our mission to provide a world-class education, contribute to a high-tech economy in the State and Nation, and promote sustainable use of the environment begins with our students-their success drives so much of what we do forward. The Kikowaena Campaign is designed to start with the stewards of our impressive School: the faculty, researchers, staff, alumni, and friends of SOEST. Mahalo!

Upcoming Events
Visit the SOEST Bulletin for a calendar of events and announcements.