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Introduction: Michael Wallstrom

Aloha, my name is Michael Wallstrom. I am currently investigating the interactions of Porifera and invasive macro algal mats in the disrupted ecosystem of Maunalua Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. Maunalua Bay has seen a dramatic shift in the ecosystem due to sedimentation and submarine ground water discharge that has allowed for an invasive macro alga to dominate the benthic substrate. These algal mats have recruited a unique community of sponges; however, little is known about these sponges. Currently we are using DNA barcoding to determine whether these sponges are endemic, native, or non-native species. The results will help in understanding degraded ecosystems and their potential to facilitate native species.