Our lab includes a continuous-flow, large-volume mesocosm system with 12 replicate 660 liter mesocosms with high flushing rate that uses “live” seawater directly from the ocean under full sunlight. The system tracks normal diurnal and seasonal patterns of irradiance, temperature, and water chemistry with natural recruitment occurring. It is designed to switch between two separate lines to assure natural seawater free of fouling. The main features include a gravity feed seawater supply that enables precise flow control and a peristaltic pump system that can feed nutrients, carbon dioxide, dilute HCl, or other manipulations into the inlet water to achieve desired levels in each mesocosm (Jokiel et al., 2014). Among the numerous manipulative experiments conducted over the past decades, it was used in the first long-term replicated experiment on impact of ocean acidification on coral reef calcifying communities under open system conditions that allowed measurement of net ecosystem calcification.
Our Environmental Monitoring Lab is designed to link sensitive instrumentation and computing requirements that needs indoor protection from the outdoor elements to the adjacent outside mesocosms, aquaria, and flume facilities. It also houses the continuously monitoring weather station.
Our weather station has been monitoring conditions at the Coral Reef Ecology lab since its inception in the late 1960’s. This continues to provide data that relates to adjacent lab and field experiments in Kāne‘ohe Bay, comparisons with other areas, and supplies information to recreational users. Downloads since 1992 and live feeds can be obtained on the HIMB website. http://www.himb.hawaii.edu/weatherstation/
Data include daily and hourly precipitation, wind speed and direction, UV, PAR, short wave radiation, and air and water temperature Light sensors consist of an ultraviolet (UV) radiometer (Eppley 295-385 nm), a Pyranometer (LiCor 200SZ), and a Quantameter (LiCor 400-700 nm). The sea water temperature probe is located less than 10 m offshore of the weather station at a shallow depth of approximately 1 m. Sensors are calibrated annually by the Western Weather Group.
Similar to a treadmill stress test, members of the Coral Reef Ecology Lab examine the physiology of corals and other marine invertebrates under local (e.g., sedimentation) and global (e.g., ocean warming and acidification) stressors. How well do these animals perform under such stress? How much is too much? We attempt to answer this questions to help set regulations regarding land based pollution and help better manage our coral reefs.
Automatic Titrator (Metrohm 877 Titrino plus)
Our automatic titrator measures pH, temperature, and total alkalinity (the measure of water’s ability to neutralize acids). Temperature, total alkalinity, pH, and salinity are then used to calculate pCO2 (partial pressure of CO2). With this data we can then determine how coral calcification responds to different ocean acidification conditions.
Our darkroom allows for accurate photosynthetic efficiency measurements using pulse amplitude-modulated (PAM) fluorometry. Specimens are placed in a dark acclimated state to relax photosystem II reaction centers. This permits the maximum fluorescence to be quantified. Dark-acclimated samples have the greatest chlorophyll fluorescence. This can help us understand the photosynthetic activity of the symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) within the coral tissue providing a quantitative measure of photoinactivation during bleaching.
Sediment Processing Facilities
Marine sediments are an integrated way of describing various aspects of the environment. Our lab has a dedicated area devoted to processing sediment grain-sizes and determining composition. This includes a drying oven, muffle furnace, and automatic grinder. Sediment grain-size can describe fish, coral, and invertebrate exposure to wave energy and currents. Analyzing sediment organics and silt/clay fractions can help identify areas that are exposed to sedimentation and high nutrients. Determining carbonate and basalt percentages can aid in explaining the community structure. We have processed sediments from 100’s of sites throughout the Hawaiian archipelago.
Graduate Student Offices
Here at the lab, we firmly believe in supporting our graduate students and providing them a comfortable and efficient work space. We have plenty of office space and desks available, as well as basic resources like laptops, a printer, free Wifi, etc.
On island, we have four 17′ Boston Whalers available for research use in Kāneʻohe Bay at very reasonable rates. There is also a 22′ Boston Whaler Outrage and a 22′ Boston Whaler Guardian accessible for use outside Kāneʻohe Bay with pre-approved training. For more information, click the link provided: HIMB Boating
Dive equipment and gear is available for use if needed. We have an onsite facility with various sizes of aluminum and steel cylinders in which technicians can blend standard or custom nitrox and decompression gas mixes. DAN emergency oxygen kits are also obtainable and HIMB offers scientific diver training approved by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS). Click the link for more information: HIMB Diving