Marlene was born in the Philippines.  She graduated from Lahainaluna High School in 2004 and  is currently attending Maui Community College (MCC).  She plans to get an A.S. degree at MCC then transfer to UH Manoa around 2009 to pursue a B.S. degree in electrical engineering.  She enjoys learning to troubleshoot electronic- or computer-related problems, watching MythBusters, playing video games and playing the piano.

Home Island: Maui
High School: Lahainaluna High School
Institution when accepted: Maui Community College

Akamai Project: El Niño Effects on Coral Bleaching
Project Site: Akimeka
Mentor: Joe Breman

Project Abstract:

Coral is an important life form that helps to maintain the balance of an ecosystem. The coral reef provides services to fish colonies, assists in the removal of carbon dioxide emissions, helps to protect coasts from strong waves, and provides a point of recreational interest that supports tourism in the Pacific. During El Niño years, coral bleaching becomes a huge concern when high sea surface temperature, heat from the Sun and low sea level cause many coral reefs to perish. The goal of this project is to investigate coral bleaching in the Pacific Ocean associated with El Niño events using Geographical Information Systems (GIS). In the design process, ArcMap software is used to create interactive maps based on El Niño and coral bleaching episodes. Three maps are created sampling sea surface temperature, wind speed, and precipitation. The time intervals sampled for the maps are the years 1997-1998, because this was a significant time when El Niño weather patterns had a strong influence on sea surface temperature change. The GIS maps and visualization environment are used to analyze sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean. This will then be compared to graphs and tables documenting coral bleaching sites. By observing the drastic climate changes of El Niño weather patterns and the resulting influence on sea surface temperature, coral bleaching events can be explained.