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.

How environmental drivers regulated the long-term evolution of the biological pump

January 22, 2021

The marine biological pump (BP) plays a crucial role in regulating earth’s atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide levels by transferring carbon fixed by primary producers into the ocean interior and marine sediments, thereby controlling the habitability of our planet. The rise of multicellular life and eukaryotic algae in the ocean about 700 million years ago […]

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Climate-driven pelagification of marine food webs: Implications for marine fish populations

January 22, 2021

Global warming changes the conditions for all ocean life, with wide-ranging consequences. It is particularly difficult to predict the impact of climate change on fish because fish production is conditioned on both temperature and food resource (zooplankton and benthic organisms) changes. Climate change projections from Earth system models show a negative amplification of changes in […]

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Sea ice loss amplifies CO2 increase in the Arctic

January 7, 2021

Warming and sea ice loss over the past few decades have caused major changes in sea surface partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) of the western Arctic Ocean, but detailed temporal variations and trends during this period of rapid climate-driven changes are not well known. Based on an analysis of an international Arctic pCO2 synthesis data […]

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Ice sheets mobilize trace elements for export downstream

January 7, 2021

Trace elements are essential micronutrients for life in the ocean and also serve as valuable fingerprints of chemical weathering. The behaviour of trace elements in the ocean has gained interest because some of these elements are found at vanishingly low concentrations that limit ecosystem productivity. Despite delivering >2000 km3 yr-1 of freshwater to the polar […]

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When GEOTRACES‐based synthesis efforts improve global iron-cycling understanding

December 18, 2020

Authors of a recent paper published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles conducted a detailed study of the residence times of total and dissolved iron (Fe) in the upper layers (0-250m) of the global ocean. Using historical (1980-2007) and recent GEOTRACES data, they compiled an impressive data set comprising dissolved, filtered and trap-collected particulate Fe spanning different […]

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Partitioning carbon export into particulate and dissolved pools from biogeochemical profiling float observations

December 17, 2020

Carbon export from the surface into the deep ocean via the biological pump is a significant sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide. The relative contributions of sinking particles—particulate organic carbon (POC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC)—to the total export affect the efficiency of carbon export. In a recent study published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles, the authors […]

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How zooplankton control carbon export in the Southern Ocean

December 3, 2020

The Southern Ocean exhibits an inverse relationship between surface primary production and export flux out of the euphotic zone. The causes of this production-export decoupling are still under debate. A recently published mini review in Frontiers in Marine Science focused on zooplankton, an important component of Southern Ocean food webs and the biological pump. The […]

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Water clarity impacts temperature and biogeochemistry in Chesapeake Bay

December 3, 2020

Estuarine water clarity is determined by suspended materials in the water, including colored dissolved organic matter, phytoplankton, sediment, and detritus. These constituents directly affect temperature because when water is opaque, sunlight heats only the shallowest layers near the surface, but when water is clear, sunlight can penetrate deeper, warming the waters below the surface. Despite […]

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Tiny phytoplankton seen from space

November 19, 2020

Picophytoplankton, the smallest phytoplankton on Earth, are dominant in over half of the global surface ocean, growing in low-nutrient “ocean deserts” where diatoms and other large phytoplankton have difficult to thrive. Despite their small size, picophytoplankton collectively account for well over 50% of primary production in oligotrophic waters, thus playing a major role in sustaining […]

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A new Regional Earth System Model of the Mediterranean Sea biogeochemical dynamics

November 19, 2020

The Mediterranean Sea is a semi-enclosed mid-latitude oligotrophic basin with a lower net primary production than the global ocean. A west-east productivity trophic gradient results from the superposition of biogeochemical and physical processes, including the biological pump and associated carbon and nutrient (nitrogen, phosphorus) fluxes, the spatial asymmetric distribution of nutrient sources (rivers, atmospheric deposition, […]

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