Author Archives: Chris Jury
Imagine a wave, a giant wave, rushing inland toward you. Imagine it keeps coming, and coming without any end in sight. You’re thinking of a tsunami. Now imagine the wave is more than 1000 ft high (300 m), enough to engulf the bottom 2/3 of the Empire State Building. This is a megatsunami. Speaking at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, Dr. Gary McMurty (a professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, and co-instructor for a couple of geology courses I took as a grad student here UHM) reported his recent work showing that over the last 4 million years the Hawaiian Islands have experienced at least 15 megatsunamis. Unlike typical tsunamis, which are usually driven by earthquakes, Hawaiian megatsunamis are driven by catastrophic landslides as large sections of the volcanoes that build the islands cleave off and cavitate the ocean. Surprisingly, these landslides are… More:
In partnership with the Samoan people, NOAA has just announced the establishment of a new National Marine Sanctuary in American Samoa. Fagatele Bay in American Samoa had previously been established as a National Marine Sanctuary (one of only 14 such sanctuaries, along with the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, encompassing the Northwest Hawaiian Islands), however, this new sanctuary dramatically enlarges the protected area. The largest addition comes via a huge, square protected area around Rose Atoll, but includes several other additions. Just to put the size of the sanctuary into perspective, with these latest additions it is slightly larger than the state of Maryland. Especially significant is the addition of a large fraction of the waters surrounding Ta’u Island, which is home to some of the largest, oldest tropical corals in the world. One especially large Porites cf. lutea colony measures 7 m (23 ft) tall, 12-17 m (40-56 ft) across, and 41 m (135 ft) around. Based on measured growth rates for the species, this coral is estimated to be at least 360-800 yrs old, but could be much older. See a video of the exciting news here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMqZXfwuJuw&feature=youtu.be… More:
Education researchers at Oregon Sea Grant’s Free-Choice Learning Lab, housed at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC), have discovered a way to translate octopus gestures to human speech. This project was unveiled on April 1, 2012.… More:
For the Fishes is an advocacy group based here in Hawai’i that has been one of the leaders in the movement to ban fishing for the aquarium trade in the Hawaiian Islands. I recently had an exchange with For the Fishes on their facebook page which I hope adds a useful voice to this discussion and which I have reproduced below. This post is from a conversation that had already begun, so my apologies if parts of it seem somewhat disjointed–they are in response to previous comments made by For the Fishes. Update: It seems that a dissenting voice (or at least my dissenting voice) was not appreciated by For the Fishes as this comment was deleted from their facebook page not long after I posted it.
For the Fishes, you’re putting an awful lot of words in my mouth. You ask what my bias would be on ocean acidification (OA) if my hobby were mining coal? Well, I would give up mining coal because it’s causing OA. Likewise, if or where I see the aquarium trade causing harm I have and will continue to actively work to prevent it.
You seem to suggest that having kept aquariums in the past means that I cannot have an objective view on the impacts of the aquarium trade and am biased in favor of it. However, … More:
Some organisms are able to reproduce asexually through fragmentation. A familiar example is most corals which you can slice, dice, and fricassee and still grow into separate colonies. While this is a common mode of reproduction for many branching corals in nature, even mounding corals that are not as apt to be boken up into pieces can reproduce in this way, making fragmentation a viable option for captive propagation in almost all coral species. This type of growth is usually referred to as vegetative growth since many plants can be grown from cuttings whereas fragmentation of most animals (e.g., cats, dogs, fish) doesn’t go so well. Hence, corals are somewhat unusual among animals in that they can reproduce vegetatively. Some organisms not only can reproduce vegetatively, they make a habit of it. In particular, seagrasses reproduce sexually by flowering and they send out runners from which they grow more and more seagrass shoots. Colonial corals, which includes most species, function in the same way–each polyp in a colony is simply a clone of its… More: