OCB Science Highlights

OCB Science Highlights

If you would like to have your recent publications featured on the OCB website and eNewsletter please contact ocb_news@whoi.edu. View our guidelines for writing a OCB Science Highlight.

Global change impacts soil carbon storage in blue carbon ecosystems

May 20, 2020

Vegetated coastal “blue carbon” ecosystems, including sea grasses, mangroves, and salt marshes, provide valuable ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, storm protection, critical habitat, etc.. Many of these services are supported by the ability of blue carbon ecosystems to accumulate soil organic carbon over thousands of years.  Rapidly changing climate and environmental conditions will impact […]

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Light matters for biological pump assessments

May 7, 2020

Organic carbon produced during photosynthesis in the sunlit euphotic zone is transported to the deep ocean via the ocean’s biological carbon pump (BCP). Even small changes in the BCP efficiency changes the carbon dioxide gradient across the ocean‐atmosphere interface, thus influencing global climate. A recent study in PNAS demonstrate that prior studies that estimate BCP […]

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Autonomous platforms yield new insights on North Atlantic bloom phenology

April 22, 2020

Phytoplankton produces organic carbon, which serves as a major energy source in marine food webs and plays an important role in the global carbon cycle. Studies of phytoplankton seasonal timing (phenology) have been a major focus in oceanography, especially in the subpolar North Atlantic region, where massive increases in phytoplankton biomass (blooms) occur during the […]

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An Important Biogeochemical Link between Organic and Inorganic Carbon Cycling: Contributions of Organic Alkalinity

April 8, 2020

As a part of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), organic acid charge groups can contribute significantly to total alkalinity (TA) in natural waters. Such a contribution is termed as organic alkalinity (OrgAlk). Beyond being part of TA, OrgAlk represents an important biogeochemical linkage between organic and inorganic carbon cycling. In other words, the biogeochemical cycling of […]

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Little big exporters

April 8, 2020

In the Southern Ocean, coccolithophores are thought to account for a major fraction of marine carbonate production and export to the deep sea. Despite their importance in the ocean carbon cycle, we lack fundamental information about Southern Ocean coccolithophore abundance, species composition, and contribution to carbonate export. A recent study in Biogeosciences has generated annual […]

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Tiny, but effective: Gelatinous zooplankton and the ocean biological carbon pump

March 25, 2020

Barely visible to the naked eye, gelatinous zooplankton play important roles in marine food webs. Cnidaria, Ctenophora, and Urochordata are omnipresent and provide important food sources for many more highly developed marine organisms. These small, nearly transparent organisms also transport large quantities of “jelly-carbon” from the upper ocean to depth. A recent study in Global […]

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Chasing Sargassum in the Atlantic Ocean

March 25, 2020

The pelagic brown alga Sargassum forms a habitat that hosts a rich diversity of life, including other algae, crustaceans, fish, turtles, and birds in both the Gulf of Mexico and the area of the Atlantic Ocean known as the Sargasso Sea. However, high abundances of Sargassum have been appearing in the tropical Atlantic, in some […]

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Can phytoplankton help us determine ocean iron bioavailability?

March 11, 2020

Iron (Fe) is a key element to sustaining life, but it is present at extremely low concentrations in seawater. This scarcity limits phytoplankton growth in large swaths of the global ocean, with implications for marine food webs and carbon cycling. The acquisition of Fe by phytoplankton is an important process that mediates the movement of […]

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Untangling microbial evolution in the oceans: How the interaction of biological and physical timescales determine marine microbial evolutionary strategies

March 11, 2020

Marine microbes are the engines of global biogeochemical cycling in the oceans. They are responsible for approximately half of all photosynthesis on the planet and drive the ‘biological pump’, which transfers organic carbon from the surface to the deep ocean. As such, it is important to determine how marine microbes will adapt and evolve in […]

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Hurricane-driven surge of labile carbon into the deep North Atlantic Ocean

February 27, 2020

Tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons) are the most extreme episodic weather event affecting subtropical and temperate oceans. Hurricanes generate intense surface cooling and vertical mixing in the upper ocean, resulting in nutrient upwelling into the photic zone and episodic phytoplankton blooms. However, their influence on the deep ocean is unknown. In October 2016, Category 3 […]

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