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.

Is seaweed farming an effective method to reduce atmospheric CO2?

June 15, 2021

The world is in need of effective methods to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, and the ocean could potentially help us to meet this objective. One idea, explored since the 1980s, is to grow seaweeds on platforms in the open ocean to fix carbon and sequester it at great depth (ocean afforestation). But would that […]

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Regional scale production shifts drive global ocean production stoichiometry

May 20, 2021

The C:N:P stoichiometry of global ocean biological production is the gear by which marine biology turns the wheels of the global ocean carbon cycle. From the days of Alfred Redfield until fairly recently, this stoichiometry was assumed a constant in ocean biogeochemistry (e.g., the Redfield ratio). Traditional stoichiometry would predict a carbon export production decline […]

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Who’s eating whom in the planktonic food web of the Northeast Shelf?

May 5, 2021

It is critical to quantify the amount of phytoplankton that microzooplankton consume to better understand the flow of carbon toward higher trophic levels in the ocean. The Northeast US Shelf (NES) sustains intense fisheries with huge economical importance, but the links between the planktonic food web and the fish stocks are poorly constrained. A recent […]

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Taxonomic and nutrient controls on phytoplankton iron quotas in the ocean

April 22, 2021

The uptake of iron by phytoplankton is a key part of the marine iron cycle, but we still have a rudimentary understanding of the controls on this process. It is generally assumed that dissolved iron availability controls phytoplankton iron. Combining data from the GP16 GEOTRACES section and three other GEOTRACES-compliant cruises in the eastern Pacific, […]

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Acidity across the interface from the ocean surface to sea spray aerosol

March 31, 2021

The pH of aerosols controls their impact on climate and human health. Sea spray aerosols are one of the largest sources of aerosols globally by mass, yet it has been challenging to measure the pH of fresh sea spray aerosols in the past. A recent study published in PNAS measured sea spray aerosols under controlled […]

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Air-sea gas disequilibrium drove deoxygenation of the deep ice-age ocean

March 18, 2021

During the Last Glacial Maximum (~20,000 years ago, LGM) sediment data show that the deep ocean had lower dissolved oxygen (O2) concentrations than the preindustrial ocean, despite cooler temperatures of this period increasing O2 solubility in sea water. In a study published in Nature Geoscience, the authors provide one of the first explanations for glacial […]

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Extreme events are accelerating coastal carbon cycling

March 1, 2021

The world is getting stormier, and recent evidence shows significant impacts on coastal carbon cycling. The upticks in extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones have resulted in enhanced delivery of nutrients and organic matter across the land-ocean continuum. Lagoonal estuaries such as the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound (APS) in North Carolina and Galveston Bay in Texas […]

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Counterintuitive effects of shoreline armoring on estuarine water clarity

February 24, 2021

Around the world, human-altered shorelines change sediment inputs to estuaries and coastal waters, altering water clarity, especially in areas of dense human population. The Chesapeake Bay estuary is recovering from historically high nutrient and sediment inputs, but water clarity improvement has been ambiguous. Long-term trends show increasing water clarity in terms of deepening light attenuation […]

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Wildfire impacts on coastal ocean phytoplankton

February 24, 2021

Wildfire frequency, size, and destructiveness has increased over the last two decades, particularly in coastal regions such as Australia, Brazil, and the western United States. While the impact of fire on land, plants, and people is well documented, very few studies have been able to evaluate the impact of fires on ocean ecosystems. A serendipitously […]

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Species loss alters ecosystem function in plankton communities

February 8, 2021

Climate change impacts on the ocean such as warming, altered nutrient supply, and acidification will lead to significant rearrangement of phytoplankton communities, with the potential for some phytoplankton species to become extinct, especially at the regional level. This leads to the question: What are phytoplankton species’ redundancy levels from ecological and biogeochemical standpoints—i.e. will other […]

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