3D Under the Sea with John Burns

take them for the first time ago talk about the coffee okay we’re back we’re live we’re here on think tech talks on a given Monday our first show of the week and it’s the slowest hour and our special guest this week is John Burns who was a carnal researcher and PhD candidate at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and he’s armed on the Big Island am i right John that is correct yeah thanks for having me on the show oh yeah thanks for joining us we really like to talk science or at least to allow scientists an opportunity to talk science that’s that’s the operative part so can you tell us you know what is it to be a coral researcher and PhD candidate at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology yeah that’s a good question I guess most of the time it’s a lot of work and surprisingly probably too a lot of people it’s a lot of work behind the computer you know we get we get to go out and do some really amazing surveys of the reefs themselves all over Hawaii in the main arc of main Hawaiian Islands and then also sometimes up to the northwest at western Hawaiian Islands but while we get some really enjoyable time underwater doing pretty intensive surveys then we got to come back do a lot of data entry a lot of number crunching right up publications and then also try get the information out about what we’re doing with shows like this and any chance that we can oh yeah I think it’s really important that you get out otherwise we don’t know we want to know we want to know that our reefs are being saved you know yeah anyway so okay so you’re in a ph.d program at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology is now is that a separate or part of sowest itself so if I guess it’s a little confusing Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology is it’s part of the University and it’s kind of its own entity devoted to marine studies so it’s physically located out in Kaneohe Bay on the east side of Oahu and it’s a really amazing place to work they’ve got tremendous lab facilities amazing staff of researchers and principal investigators but since its kind of its own entity out there it has researchers that are a part of so s that are a part of the biology department like myself so it kind of allows multiple departments and faculty to all be located in one place to do marine biology research which is great because anytime you get a lot of great lines under one roof it really spurs a lot of collaborative research and kind of helps give you ideas that you may not have been able to think of on your own so why did you get into this that’s you know this is it’s a I mean to most people it’s arcane I’m sorry to say that dealing with tiny biological objects in in a see that’s infinite in size and to what end and why you know what what turns you on to marine biology in the first place yeah that’s a it’s a really good question and and there’s definitely times I won’t lie that I’m spending weeks trying to study you know one tiny microscopic cellular function of corals and I really do wonder okay what where am i gone in my life’s direction that I’m spending all this time focusing on something so abstract in my day to day life it can get a yes but I think what really drives me and a lot of people is that unknown I mean you’re really you’re doing all of this because we still have so much to figure out and I think what surprises a lot of people about coral reefs or just the ocean in general is you know it always seems in this day and age with technology at the level that it is that we just have everything figured out that we would know all the organisms that are in the ocean we know what they do but I still feel like for the most part we don’t know anything you know we’re just discovering things every single day and what we do know we’re tending to flip it on its head all the time with new advancements in science technology and new research approaches so I would say from the science standpoint what keeps me going and keeps me excited is just you’re you’re discovering something new and you have the potential to apply new techniques to old problems and and that’s exciting even when it’s really tedious work and you know you’re pulling your hair out you still get to the point which is rare I think in a lot of fields that you can you can bring information to the table that advances your field you can find things that no one else has looked at and that is a lot of fun yeah which strikes me also that let me throw this and see if it resonates with you you know when we were kids I mean my generation not yours when we were kids the ocean was an

infinitely big place mm-hmm and in fact you know it has always been I mean up to that point up until recent years it has always been an infinitely big place and so what was going on in there I don’t know it was it was unfathomable oh there’s a term that seems appropriate any fast movements okay now the ocean is a smaller place and we all see it as smaller where you can get across it in less time you can know more about it there’s there’s no corner of the ocean that we can’t get to really I mean think of all those sunken submarines and the like and all those shipwrecks that we can now look at it and pull up I mean it’s this this no there’s no more you know secret corners of the ocean and so that then of course is this whole notion the planet is is is vulnerable the planet is under attack under attack by human beings in all their industry and what-have-you you know it’s not only climate change it’s it’s a general waste of the of the environment and so it’s it seems like to me anyway that your science is more important because we have to know what’s there so we can protect it we have to know what’s there so we can preserve it against destruction maybe it’s really valuable maybe it’s in some sort of symbiotic or second or third degree symbiotic relationship with us that helps us in our quality of civilized life and if it goes away we don’t even know what it is but if it goes away we may find that the the rug is being pulled out in some way and therefore it’s more important that we we check this out it’s more important that we do the science now somehow with the shrinking and more vulnerable is that does that resonate with you yeah absolutely I mean I totally agree with the point you made that while the oceans are vast and huge with the sort of exponential increase in discoveries and our ability just to visually see the ocean it has become a seemingly smaller place where we’re really starting to see our impacts everywhere we look you know there’s deep-sea research going on in the ocean in places that seem so far removed from humanity or the impacts of humanity and we’ll still see effects from human civilization all the way in those you know my new deep areas so it’s just starting to become more and more apparent that what we do has an impact on the surroundings around us and you know you crunch the numbers seven billion people you know it’s a lot of people even with the best intentions we just have to accept that we’re always going to have an impact on our surrounding environment but we also need to realize that we’re a part of that environment so what we can do now to understand how those environments respond to the impact and the stressors that we impose can give us a lot of valuable information about the best way we can move forward to also preserve these environments because we do depend on them like you’re saying I mean coral reefs you can draw some really simple but effective analogies to the rainforests where there are these small areas of the world but we get so much resources from them be it fish economics through tourism or pharmaceuticals natural products and like you’re saying the wealth of resource and economy in these environments is probably largely untapped and one of the worst things that could likely happen is that we don’t do what we can to maintain these environments and when we really need them they’re already gone so yeah I mean I think a lot of what you’re saying is more true today now then it’s probably ever been okay now all of this takes us to the fact that you’re ending the Big Island and in Kona is it Hilo side Hilo side you know yeah and and you’re there in an office or an apartment with such a small dog in it somewhere yeah I understand this because I do a lot of work at home and I have a small dog that intro to me all the time and it sort of lends an additional degree to that you know a party to the conversation and let me say also that my small dog has never violated a confidence never yeah I’m sure yours hasn’t either yeah no I saw I live and work on the Big Island I do a lot of work through the university here at UA chilo as well and I’m studying a number of sites around this island because it’s so unaffected compared to a Wahoo where we have real minimal human civilization here a lot less population sometimes it seems like a civilization a little bit in the past yeah but it’s a great place to see how reefs are changing before the point that you see say on the South Shore of Oahu Waikiki where they’ve um pretty much been decimated so yeah I tried to work at home because it’s a little bit less busy than the lab but I actually have three dogs here and two of them I’ve got like right underneath me that I’m trying to keep calm because they’re very much they love attention and so it was up to them they’d probably be on the interview

right now if they want to say something it’s okay yeah well so okay so here we are and we’re joining you by Skype from Hilo and you know you know the possibility of doing your work in terms of dealing with the samples you find and also doing you know computer calculations right there and somewhere along the line this show with you today John got named 3d under the sea so we really have to know how that all translates into 3d under the sea yeah I can do that so a large part of my motivation personally with science is doing something with a purpose to people primarily considering that a lot of the research funds is public tax dollars supported and really I start to lose sense of the purpose if what I’m doing can’t give back to people in general and also spark an interest in these environments so one way I felt that we were we’re kind of lacking in marine science was our ability to share these environments with people you know it’s a very small number of people that get to go scuba diving I couldn’t really afford to do recreational scuba diving until I started doing it for research and for work and so I looked to a lot of different technologies that are being used in in terrestrial so systems on land and thought okay what would be great to use in the marine environment that could also improve our ability to study these these locations but also share information and show it to the general public and people who are interested in as well and it’s fun because underwater it’s just so much more difficult to do anything right I mean you can’t talk to your dive buddy your cameras need fancy housings so all of a sudden of most available technologies on land are just no longer functional underwater but there is one really cool when I saw called and this is one of those you know big fancy science words that is confusing structure from motion photogrammetry but a basic unit one more time so yeah its structure from motion photogrammetry and what this is is sort of an old technique but it’s similar to how they used to use stereo cameras to take pictures of things and then image it in three dimensions but you know as I’m sure you talk about on this show a lot technologies are just rapidly improving every single day and so this has been used for archaeology sites and big cities where they’ll take now just single lens digital cameras but nicer SLRs with with fancy lenses and you take a ton of images that overlap almost 80 90 percent of a scene and then you’re able with this new software to reconstruct it three-dimensionally so I figured okay well on land they either fly helicopters or drones but since we’re underwater we actually have the advantage to just hover and float above the environment as if we were flying over it so the reef plots where we’ve been studying coral health I’ve spent the last few years imaging these with cameras just taking sometimes thousands of pictures with high overlap of that whole scene and then I run it through algorithms and we’ve had to do a lot of work because you know you light refracts differently underwater and you run into complications but it does allow us to reconstruct these reefs in three dimension and then you have this model that you can manipulate you can print it in 3d and now you can get metrics like volume of coral you know structural metrics so very very complex metrics to high resolution and it’s really neat because for so many years we’ve only looked at corals with just 2d measures so we’ll tell people oh there’s 70% coral here there’s 40% coral here but to really see it is very powerful and then to see the different structural complexities is really useful for fisheries research because these corals are making homes to all the little fish in the little invertebrates so it’s been really exciting and fun because not only are we getting new data that’s really useful for characterizing the sites but we share these with the public and and people love seeing the reef in 3d you know it’s it’s a whole new way of visualizing it and it gives you a different respect to when you see changes that have occurred over time so let me see if I understand the graphic you were just showing has one photo on the top that looks like it’s not 3d and then one in the middle that is 3d and the one that the bottom is kind of an element of the 3d so and that presumably is the true color that you would see with an underwater camera that that kind of aquamarine what an appropriate term a-after marine color yeah right about all that yeah everything under water ends up unfortunately pretty aquamarine

because the all the short wavelength colors like red orange yellow you know they get a kind of taking up really quickly so all that you’re left with seeing everything kind of looks blue and an aquamarine if you will so yeah one thing we’re trying to experiment with us to improve the lighting so we can really bring it to life with the the actual colors oh yeah how interesting anyway so so now when you have multiple shots in this graphic then you have software as we do Oh the water – yeah pitch them together and give them greater definition in fact to give them a 3d look and once you have the 3d then you can measure the volume in this case the volume of the coral you can tell how much coral is there in the picture because you can have another algorithm that will look around this 3d image and measure measure it measure the volume of what’s in the 3d image is that what we’re talking about yeah pretty much we use a couple different software programs but once we’ve rendered it three-dimensionally we essentially have a topographic map just like people have for landscapes so then we can use topography software and look at elevational changes slow contour we can look at volume like you’re saying pretty much you know all very important parameters that are used for terrestrial studies that we haven’t been able to apply to the marine environment so it’s really useful say for instance you wanted to come back to one site and see how is the volume of coral changed in the past five years now with this technology we could actually do that oh then you know I was going to ask you about that yeah the dynamic of coming back to exactly the same location and taking another picture and seeing the Delta factor that’ll be pretty exciting too so yeah try to figure out what made it change right and especially in the face of large global stressors like ocean acidification where everybody’s worried that coral growth will slow down we finally have a technique where we could go out and measure growth of corals over time and see if certain species are more affected than others or certain areas are growing less than others and also after disturbance events like we just have this big hurricane luckily we had taken 3d images of a site that had been heavily impacted and so now we can go back out collect another set of images make new 3d models and actually see how much coral might have been lost or destroyed yeah oh that’s well that’s great you know in effect the the storm works to our advantage in that way at least at least is the bright side somewhere that’s John Byrne’s he’s a researcher choral researcher and PhD candidate at the Y instead of marine biology and the Big Island developing techniques to create 3d models of coral habitats this is think Tech Talks it’s the Sohus tower the school of ocean Earth Science and Technology at UAH Manoa and we’re talking about 3d under the sea there’s a rhyme there would be right back after this very short break Aloha this is Kaylee Akina it’s my privilege to be the host of a Hana kako a weekly program on the sink tech Hawaii broadcast network a Hana kako what does that mean well many people have heard of a pool a kako let’s pray together hey Hanukkah KO means let’s work together let’s work together to build a better economy government and society and every week monday from 2 to 3 o’clock you will see movers and shakers and other people who are working together to build a better economy government and society again I’m Keeley Akina on the Chanukah weekly program on the think tech of Watty broadcast network Aloha see here Monday’s 2 to 3 ok we’re back we’re live we’re here on think tech talks the so West hour on Monday in the 1 to 2 o’clock with Sean Burns who joins us by Skype from the Big Island from Hilo and he’s a coral researcher and PhD candidate at the institute of marine biology there and i you know my my limited scientific experience at least in part is derived from the hawaii science fair where i I get to ask all those kids what is their hypothesis and all kinds of stuff flows from that so let me let me ask you my science fair question Sean what’s the hypothesis you’re working on in terms of dealing with the 3d investigation of coral reefs that’s a really good question I guess primarily from the most simple level the hypothesis is just are there specific corals that provide different habitat structures than others so are there species that are maybe more important for habitats or fisheries dynamics than others that we need to be more concerned about protecting in the face of you know anthropogenic stressors because one thing we’ve seen with corals is that the more high complex fast-growing species

tend to be more susceptible to diseases or disturbance and so before we start seeing losses of those corals I’d really like to see and understand what type of three-dimensional habitat dynamics might we be losing yeah so this is really when you when you shake it and bake it this is all about finding out what we need to know to protect the coral reefs around these islands and if you can look at them more carefully then maybe you can find things that will enable you to understand their decline on occasion understand what makes them healthy and you know take steps to continue to have them continue to be healthy but you know I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of people in Hawaii who some of them science and some of them semi science if you will call it environmental you know observation a lot of people care about the coral reefs and I just wonder you know if that’s part of your world system you know what I mean is do we need the coral reefs for these islands to remain what they are today if all the coral reefs went away what would happen what would happen to the you know that part of the ecosystem which depends on them what would happen to life on Bishop Street if you will well what happens to life in Hilo if you will I’m just wondering what the connection is and I and I think I will I will you know have to agree that there it’s an industry I mean a lot of people here in these islands are concerned about coral reefs not only for the Hawaiian Islands but for all islands that have coral reefs but what’s the big deal about that yeah that’s a that’s a very good question and there’s a number of ways to address that but you know I think primarily they’re socially economically culturally vital to this place Hawaii in general I mean Hawaiians have always had an amazing understanding of the importance of corals because they’re very much a foundational organism you know so you can kind of think of them as the cement or foundation of a house you know they are the backbone of our marine ecosystems a hundred percent if we lose the corals we lose the structure we lose the home for all the other organisms and we basically lose all the resources that we depend on from these environments and you can even see that in the kun Aleppo the Hawaiian creation chant the coral polyp was the very first organism that then goes on to support all of life and and I really think you can draw that connection to modern day I mean to get into the economics now like you’re saying with it being an industry I mean I’ve seen projections that corals are worth upwards in the four to five billion per year for dive tourism research funds you name it so I mean right there the economy lost if we lost all of our corals would be devastating and then beyond just economics they really serve to protect coastlines so you know if you go out and look off the south shore of oahu you see those breaking waves off in the distance and that reef is really a huge buffer to wave energy and storms that protects the island so you lose that natural protection from storms and I mean essentially the list goes on and on so a lot of the well being and of so many people here would be affected by those factors as well as food wise I mean geez they’re supporting so much fish populations you know in terms of what we what we live and depend on to eat it would be a huge impact as well so I mean it’s true like you’re saying people are very aware of the importance of quarrel they’re really tuned in but you know it makes you stop and think about it for a second and really respect these systems when you kind of draw all those factors out and think man we would like life as we know it would change dramatically if we lost these environments you know I just remembered something that I had forgotten about you know we did a movie at the Honolulu aquarium back a couple years ago and out back of the aquarium there were these tanks that had coral samples living living coral of many different species of coral subspecies whatever it is okay and this was being preserved there I mean even preserved so it could be I don’t know about sold but exported to other islands elsewhere in the Pacific where they might have a decline in coral this would help them recover and it strikes me that you know Hawaii is a sort of a great place to be a laboratory for coral and more than that to be a place where we can grow coral like they do in the back of the aquarium there and actually help replant coral in the islands around the Pacific we have the capability and we could are we doing that now do you know have you

heard much about this yeah that’s a really great question so that’s a lot of research specifically at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology in Kaneohe because they’re on that island they have flow-through sea water systems so they can pump seawater from the ocean through the lab and right back out into the ocean which allows them to do what you’re talking about is make tanks that are essentially the real seawater conditions and then you’re able to grow corals in there and they’ll survive and so there’s several labs focused on understanding you know what factors affect the ability of these corals to live grow and thrive and so I think you might have had my adviser dr. Ruth gates on the show because she’s recently been getting a lot of tension from the Paul Allen foundation she has proposed and is in the process right now I’m trying to figure out you know what specific species what genotypes of corals will do the best to survive in say harsh conditions or conditions we might see in the future thus we would have the ability to promote almost like stocks or genotypes of species that will survive most likely in future conditions so that is something people are trying to do it’s very difficult I can say right now because you know for being a simple organism that a lot of people think is sometimes just a rock they’re very very biologically complicated and they depend on sim by on there’s little algae that live inside the corals that really affects their physiology in their performance there’s also bacteria that will be specific to each corals so while it is a great idea and a lot of researchers are pursuing this it’s very very complex to kind of tease apart all the dynamics that make these corals survive and figure out exactly you know what promotes say a super coral but it is something people are focused on because like you’re saying it’s it’s a great idea and a great way to hopefully promote you know maintaining healthy functional reefs in future conditions which might be more difficult for them to live than it is now yeah so interesting so that so we could find out what bacteria they need symbiotically what other kinds of ocean life they need or they can benefit from that could be the experts right here I in fact I suggest to you we already are the experts right here there’s anybody in the world know as much about coral is the you know the research establishment here in Hawaii I don’t know yeah I mean I would say no right but I’m a little bit biased thing okay well what does Woods Hole know anyway yeah exactly I don’t know well let me talk about you know other you know you’re in you’re in Hilo for very doing your work there for various reasons but you went to Midway and just only last month for with a NOAA research expedition to the I’m going to try to pronounce this on the first try the papahanaumokuakea how close was that pretty little Monument why don’t you say it yeah we went to up to the papahanaumokuakea marine national monument what’s it like there is it looked like the Washington Monument or the Lincoln monument only slightly different a little lower elevation you know it’s it’s such an amazing opportunity and I’m so grateful to the staff at NOAA and the the papanam Makua Keaau marine National Monument office they really do an amazing job of helping support research and researchers like myself from h IM ve to go up to that remote area and and study corals and and other you know organisms in those environments because a lot of people don’t realize that the hawaiian archipelago goes well beyond hawaii so you know the the monument it’s actually the largest one of the largest it might be the largest marine monument in the world and i think it’s you know i might be missing here but i want to say it’s like two-thirds the length of the continental US from kawaii’ all the way up to curiae which is just past midway so yeah it’s a tremendous place there’s a bunch of low line apt halls and little islands like Midway and we get to go up and try understand how corals and fish and other organisms in these marine environments function outside of human pressures because being all the way up there they’re completely removed from human populations so it’s a great way to see what happens in these environments when there isn’t fishing pressure and the first thing that strikes you is there’s a lot more fish you know I mean you’re down there diving and you’ve got huge Aloha and sharks just all over the place so it’s quite exciting and you do see some very dramatic differences from the main Hawaiian Islands so a monument then is a kind of a structure of the ocean bottom that that sort of comes out from from the bottom and acts as as a mountain under under the water is that what it is yes definition as you see it so the monument itself is physically defined as the area that just

encompasses the rest of that island chain but geologically it’s it’s like the remaining islands that have mu the hot spot that the Big Island is on right now that have shifted to the northwest and sunk over time so that’s what an apt hall is it’s an island like the Big Island that over millions and millions of years subsides until you have pretty much just the very tip of the island if anything sticking up in the middle and that reef that developed around it has formed a big barrier reef around that so yeah we kind of get to you know jump back in time geologically and go see the islands up there in contrast to what they are down here so if I if I take a genomic look at the coral that you’re studying at Hilo and then I compare that with the coral at at Midway I mean is it going to be the same coral or you going to find it you know that from a chemical and genomic point of view is it’s different it mean it must be a thrill to discover a new variety but is it a new variety out there yeah that’s a really good question I mean coral speciation is it’s tricky because they hybridize a lot yeah so it’s difficult to say you know which exact species is entirely different from others but we do see really exciting species up there specifically a cropper heads that we almost never get to see in the main Hawaiian Islands and so yeah it’s it’s amazing the reef sometimes look entirely different and it’s not so much that there might be like a new unique species there are species up there that don’t exist down here but what’s most fascinating is just how the composition is totally different so which species dominate and what morphologies they exhibit can be totally different than what they see down here and that’s where the 3d modeling is really nice because we can see exactly how the structure is differ between the two sites and which species are the most different and and that is really fun to see yeah so you can see the 3d modeling here and examine it you know it in the you know in your laboratories very carefully you know essentially you’re the computer microscope on it yeah and then you can go to Midway and examine it with the same 3d kind of approach and you can make a very careful comparison to see any real differences that are observable between the species here and the what do you call it the hybrid over there yeah I’m fine how it’s changed absolutely yeah I mean there’s definitely yeah there’s different species there and then we see here and and what’s nice is you know I’m I’m really a coral biologist by train and I’ve been very focused in diseases affecting corals so for me it’s really nice because I can go to two places one here in the main that is affected by human presence one up in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the monument that’s not and I can say okay now that we removed some of these variables which species are most dominant what growth forms are they taking because a lot of coral species can grow in many many different forms which is what makes them so amazing but also so difficult to study and so it’s nice to have two totally different environments to compare that are in the same archipelago it’s really exciting yeah so you know it strikes me that if you have a coral species that grows in and around these islands say you know where there’s effluent coming out of you know some sort of canal the like we haven’t you know on the Makai side of a while then you know there’s more pressure on the coral and therefore the coral that survives is arguably hearty er I mean but if you look in a Midway you have more ideal conditions not as much pressure on the coral this is the these are the conditions which the which coral you know originated with it’s it’s the primordial soup if you will and so and so it’s easier for the curl to exist there so now you you can make some really extraordinary comparisons between the hard ear coral that’s here under pressure from so many man-made you know attacks and the you know and the more friendly environment of Midway and I suppose it that way you can learn exactly chemically what makes a coral more more Hardy and what makes it more vulnerable I suppose and thus you can learn how to save coral because now you know the difference you know how to make it harder but you know what makes what well anyway you know what I’m saying ya know it’s really exciting because you know we survey a number of islands and atolls along that chain all the way up to Midway and you know as a diseased coral disease biologist it’s very interesting because there’s some diseases that I see here on the Big Island or on Oahu for instance I’ve worked a lot with growth anomalies which are like tumors that grow on the corals

and we often are wondering well what on earth causes these tumors and we’ve tried and not just myself I mean all researchers studying coral disease have had a really hard time figuring out you know the exact causative agent but then we have seen some of these growth anomalies growing on corals up at French frigate Shoals and other sites and so that gives us a really interesting clue because okay if they’re existing on corals that are totally removed from some of these human systems maybe it’s something that naturally occurs in the marine environment or maybe it’s genetically inherited you know the jury’s still out but yeah like you’re saying it provides us with a lot of different clues and a really nice way to study and compare the environments this is a coral as an animal you know useful outside its native environment in other words is there a possibility that there’s pharmaceuticals in coral that may be something in coral can cure cancer who knows what the coral can be used on you know in terms of helping people in some way on terrestrially oh absolutely absolutely I mean we’re in a really exciting age now where we’re starting to understand them genetically much at a much higher detail than we ever have before and another colleague of mine Maggie sugan she’s doing her PhD study and look at the looking at the metabolites that actually form within the coral and so you know because they’re an animal like you said they have a number of immune functions that while being sort of I guess evolutionarily conserved they still are very useful for that Coral avoiding to get sick or beasts you know taken over by stressors and we’re only now figuring out some of these exact proteins or metabolites or pathways to creating these that exists in the coral and it could give us a lot of clues for natural products or immune functions or uses for humans and battling a number of diseases I mean if you look at a lot of the treatments that we use for a number of diseases they have many times been derived from you know environments like rainforests and I think the coral reefs could probably provide a number as well well that’s great to hear I mean I always saw Coral aside from the one time when I got coral in my foot which I didn’t appreciate at all I was mad at coral at that point he can’t I want to clean my foot out with some kind of lemon juice as vinegar wasn’t it but but I always saw coral as a very benign you know very sort of friendly to humans and maybe one day it will help us but you know what concerns me and this is my last question to you John you you you spoke in passing about climate change before yeah you know I mean when you have a steady increase in temperature in the ocean an increase beyond where the ideal environment is for any given animal over time you’re going to change the way that animal operates you you’re going to change the way the what survives you know the the hardiness of it the natural selection of it and maybe you’re going to kill it off completely over time so I wonder if you’ve seen that I wonder if that’s being studied and I wonder if you have any thoughts on on how climate change is going to affect the coral and thus how the coral is you know going to be useful or less useful for for people no that’s a really good question you know it it’s one of those things where I think a lot of people want hard black and white answers regarding issues like climate change because they hear about these frightening projections and loss of environments within 50 years and everybody wants to know and I get this question all the time from friends that you know aren’t involved in science is that true is this stuff real is it really gonna happen and you know the reality is it’s a big gray area and it’s really difficult to say exactly what conditions will exist in 50 years or a hundred years but I think what’s undeniable is that changes are occurring and human population is increasing exponentially so we absolutely see in in many areas around the world devastating losses of corals that have been you know usually caused by disease outbreaks but just like with humans you know while the disease may kill you it was the number of factors that might have lowered your immunity at another point in the first place so for instance in the Caribbean you know there’s been a large amount of coastal development a lot of sediment and pollution put onto those environments and like you said before corals are animals so their immune system can only handle so much and if we stress them out with our presence be it you know even tourism when you’re down there you know and you get coral in your foot and you kick the coral you know that stresses it out it exposes it to pathogens and then maybe the surface seawater temperature is higher because of a little bit of global warming and all these actors start to play together and that’s many times why we’re seeing complete losses of coral cover on a lot of reefs and it’s kind of scary what’s happening around the globe luckily in Hawaii and

the Indo Pacific we haven’t seen as many massive disease outbreaks and loss of coral but that’s also why in a way we’re racing to understand as much about them as we can now so if we start to get into a slippery slope where we’re seeing you know coral mortality on the rise hopefully we can isolate certain elements that maybe are manageable you know people ask me a lot I do a lot of outreach work here and it’s you know what can I do to save corals and I think people would be surprised what you can do I mean just in your backyard almost everything you dump out you know water wise is gonna flush into the ocean you can always reduce the amount of trash that your your you’re wasting your carbon input you know there’s a ton of ways on a local scale to improve your watershed and your reefs and if everybody tunes into that and I think we take proactive choices you know we don’t have to sit idly by and watch all the reefs disappear hopefully we can promote healthy reefs however we can so where can people read about what they can do is it your site some other site can you direct them to some website actually where we make all of our data available so all the sites I study on the main Hawaiian Islands all the way up to the Northwest Hawaiian island we have all the data available we have actually really unique 360 degree video panoramics that we’re filming so people can virtually tour these sites and there’s a lot of general info as well all of this is on the coral health atlas so if you just google coral health atlas it’s the first link that pops up it’s through the university and that’s got a ton of information that we try put out there so people can learn more okay well I can say in closing John is where we’re counting on you you know you’re a man at the frontier in this we’re counting on you to like like the rainforest to save the coral forests and you know do what you do in order to save save the animals and the ecology by by indirect so we look to you in Hilo wherever you are to carry on the fight for Carl that’s after coming on the show that’s John Burns a choral researcher and PhD candidate at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology here on the so West our on think Tech Talks talking about 3d under the seat carry on the good workshop thanks Jay thanks for having me on Aloha okay John thank you very much yeah thanks Dale is fun big talk again soon time you guys let me know okay appreciate that okay take care thank you Wow gonna look on the sound so many issues my god