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.

Marine mixotrophs exploit multiple resource pools to balance supply and demand

November 20, 2016

“So, in the sea, there are certain objects concerning which one would be at a loss to determine whether they be animal or vegetable.”  Aristotle, The History of Animals Our understanding of marine ecosystems is strongly influenced by the terrestrial macroscopic world we see around us. For example, the distinction between phytoplankton and zooplankton reflects […]

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A chalkier ocean? Multi-decadal increases in North Atlantic coccolithophore populations

November 19, 2016

Coccolithophores and the carbon cycle Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are resulting in both warmer sea surface temperatures due to the greenhouse effect and increasingly carbon-rich surface waters. The ocean has absorbed roughly one third of anthropogenic carbon emissions (1), causing a shift in carbon chemistry equilibrium to more acidic conditions with lower calcium carbonate saturation states […]

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What controls the distribution of dissolved organic carbon in the surface ocean?

November 11, 2016

Around 662 billion tons of organic carbon are dissolved in the ocean, making the pool one of Earth’s major, exchangeable carbon reservoirs. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) has many ecological functions. It can form complexes with metals (1); absorb UV and visible light, acting as a “sunscreen” for marine microorganisms and controlling primary production in the […]

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Subtropical gyre productivity sustained by lateral nutrient transport

November 5, 2016

Vertical processes are thought to dominate nutrient resupply across the ocean, however estimated vertical fluxes are insufficient to sustain observed net productivity in the thermally stratified subtropical gyres. A recent study by Letscher et al. (2016) published in Nature Geoscience used a global biogeochemical ocean model to quantify the importance of lateral transport and biological […]

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Exploring sources of uncertainty in ocean carbon uptake projections

October 25, 2016

Having absorbed ~30% of the carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere by human activities, the oceans play an important role in mitigating warming and other climate-related impacts of rising carbon dioxide levels. Predictions of future climate change thus require more accurate projections of ocean carbon uptake. Using two different model suites, a recent study by […]

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Trace metal uptake and remineralization and their impact on upper ocean stoichiometry

July 6, 2016

1. Stoichiometry of metals in the ocean The close relationship between the stoichiometry of nutrients dissolved in the upper ocean and the planktonic organisms that grow in these waters has long been recognized (1, 2). The stoichiometry of 106 C:16 N:1 P first summarized by Redfield has become a fundamental concept of marine biogeochemistry, with numerous studies using the ratio as […]

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Marine particles: Distribution, composition, and role in scavenging of TEIs

July 3, 2016

GEOTRACES and particles in the ocean GEOTRACES is an international program to study the global marine biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and their isotopes (TEIs). The program’s guiding mission is to “identify processes and quantify fluxes that control the distributions of key TEIs in the ocean” (1). Particles represent a key parameter for the GEOTRACES program because of their role […]

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Using GEOTRACES data to appraise iron cycling as represented within global ocean models

June 23, 2016

We rely on global ocean models to predict how climate change might affect the evolution of ocean productivity, acidification, and deoxygenation (1). Such platforms are also used to test hypotheses regarding the controls on ocean biogeochemical cycling and to understand past change (both on historical and geologic timescales). Ocean biogeochemistry models began with relatively simple formulations of a carbon export flux […]

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Exploring molecular methods for assessing trace element bioavailability in phytoplankton

June 4, 2016

This summer OCB and GEOTRACES are co-sponsoring a synthesis workshop on the biogeochemical cycling of trace elements in the ocean. The overall goal of the workshop is to bring together expertise from across the field of oceanography to take advantage of the growing datasets of trace elements in the ocean and explore biological-chemical-physical underpinnings of trace element cycling within the ocean. […]

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Biogeochemical cycling of organic iron-binding ligands: Insights from GEOTRACES data in the Atlantic Ocean

June 3, 2016

Iron is a limiting nutrient for phytoplankton in nearly half of the global surface ocean, and much attention has been paid to the biogeochemical cycling of iron in seawater since suitable trace metal-clean sampling and analysis procedures were developed (1). The organic complexation of dissolved iron, in particular, has emerged as an inherent feature of iron chemistry in the oceans (2-5), […]

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