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The Uehiro Center for the Advancement of Oceanography at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa officially launched with a one-day symposium with research findings and future goals of the center’s oceanographic research presented by its faculty and graduate students.

The center was founded in 2022 by a gift from the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education, chaired by Mr. Tetsuji Uehiro, within the UH Mānoa Department of Oceanography, whose world-class faculty and graduate students work on practical solutions to such issues as climate change and establish foundational research.

The goal of the Uehiro Center for the Advancement of Oceanography is to serve as a nexus of support, resources and opportunity for faculty and students engaged in oceanographic research that addresses scientific questions complementary to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The center also facilitates the realization of goals detailed in the Department of Oceanography’s 2022 Strategic Plan.

The center will support two faculty and one researcher — Dr. Hyodae Seo, a physical oceanographer and climate scientist; Dr. Nyssa Silbiger, a quantitative marine ecologist, with a major focus in global change ecology; and Dr. Sachiko Yoshida, a physical oceanographic researcher who studies large-scale ocean dynamics. The center’s 10 graduate students study a wide variety of subjects in oceanography. The students and the subjects of their research:

  • Eleanor Bates, how concentrations of iron and trace metals change at Station ALOHA;
  • Kyle Conner, how might ocean acidification affect marine creatures that make a shell;
  • Ryo Dobashi, factors that control the exchange of gases between the ocean and atmosphere in coastal and inland seas;
  • Bailey Donaldson, the feedbacks between glacier melt and water circulation;
  • Kate Feloy, how ocean dynamics may be altered by climate change and the impact on important coastal ecosystem variables;
  • Andrian Gajigan, advancing our understanding of phytoplankton-virus interactions, especially in polluted and coastal areas;
  • Jacob Gunnarson, the physical mechanisms behind changes in sea surface;
  • Amanda Laughlin, viral decay in a wide range of marine virus populations;
  • Rayna McClintock, understanding how carbon removal technologies may affect coral reef ecosystems.
  • Shannon Murphy, coral reef ecology.

The 10 graduate students presented their work at the December 8 symposium on the UH Mānoa campus. The symposium was filmed and will be available online.

“The Uehiro Center for the Advancement of Oceanography allows us to conduct impactful, in-depth research focusing on the most pressing challenges of our time, including climate change, life below water and clean water” said Dr. Margaret McManus, director of the Uehiro Center for the Advancement of Oceanography. “We are extremely grateful for the support from the Uehiro Foundation that allows us to do such important work.”

The gift from the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education funds the center’s work for the next five years and builds upon the foundation’s longtime support of UH programs. Over the past dozen years, the foundation established and supported the University of Hawai‘i Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education.

“UH Mānoa’s Department of Oceanography is one of the university’s premier departments and its researchers are renowned around the world for their innovative work,” said Tim Dolan, UH vice president of advancement and UH Foundation CEO. “Private support makes such a difference for these programs in terms of accelerating important research. We’re grateful the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education has been such a stable, strategic and generous partner for the university.”

The Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education is a public foundation that has as its mission the provision of moral education, international communication, research advancement and other related services. The ascent of ethical research and education is at the heart of the foundation’s work.

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The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.