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.

Northeast Pacific time-series reveals episodic events as major player in carbon export

April 16, 2019

Temporal fluctuations in the oceanic carbon budget play an important role in the cycling of organic matter from production in surface waters to consumption and sequestration in the deep ocean. A 29-year time-series (1989-2017) of particulate organic carbon (POC) fluxes and seafloor measurements of oxygen consumption in the abyssal northeast Pacific (Sta. M, 4,000 m […]

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Ocean color offers early warning signal of climate change’s impact on marine phytoplankton

April 15, 2019

Marine phytoplankton form the foundation of the marine food web and play a crucial role in the earth’s carbon cycle. Typically, satellite-derived Chlorophyll a (Chl a) is used to evaluate trends in phytoplankton. However, it may be many decades (or longer) before we see a statistically significant signature of climate change in Chl a due […]

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Antarctic Ocean CO2 helped end the ice age

April 2, 2019

Many scientists have long hypothesized that the ocean around Antarctica was responsible for changing CO2 levels during ice ages, but lacked definitive evidence. A new study in Nature provides the most direct evidence of this process to date and provides crucial evidence of the mechanisms—including changing sea ice cover and bipolar seesaw (warming in the […]

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A half century perspective: Seasonal productivity and particulates in the Ross Sea

April 2, 2019

Studies of cruise observations in the Ross Sea are typically biased to a single or a few year(s), and long-term trends have predominantly come from satellites. Consequently, the in situ climatological patterns of nutrients and particulate matter have remained vague and unclear. What are the typical patterns of nutrients and particulate matter concentrations in the […]

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Pteropod populations stable or increasing according to long-term study along the Western Antarctic Peninsula

March 21, 2019

Shelled pteropods (pelagic snails) are abundant planktonic predators and prey, linking grazers and higher trophic levels and contributing to the carbon cycle via consumption and excretion. Pteropods have been heralded as bioindicators of ocean acidification, given their aragonitic shell’s susceptibility to dissolution, which could ultimately lead to declining abundance. However, pteropod population dynamics are understudied, […]

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Zooplankton vertical migrations represent a significant source of carbon export in the ocean

March 15, 2019

Huge numbers of tiny marine animals, known as zooplankton, migrate between the surface ocean and the twilight zone (200 – 1,000 m below the surface) everyday; it is the largest migration event anywhere on the planet. How much carbon do these animals transport with them and how much do they leave behind sequestered in the […]

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How fast are elements sinking in the ocean?

March 5, 2019

The sinking of elements in the ocean influences many important processes such as deep ocean carbon storage and the availability of trace metals for phytoplankton. Previously, quantification of this sinking flux has been done using sediment trap deployments or tracer measurements of a particle-reactive radioisotope. Since sediment traps and each particular radioisotope each have caveats […]

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You better repeat it: Serial ocean acidification experiments on fish early life stages

March 5, 2019

To detect potential effects of acidification on marine organisms, experimenters most commonly use within-experiment replication, but repeating the experiments themselves is rarely done. While the first approach suffices to detect major CO2 effects, other potentially important responses may get detected and robustly quantified only via serial experimentation. A study by Baumann et al. in Biology Letters comprises a meta-analysis of […]

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Gulf of Mexico: A blue carbon hotspot of mangroves, seagrass and marshes

February 20, 2019

The Gulf of Mexico (GoM) is an important global hotspot that comprises over 2.1615 million hectares of blue carbon habitats, including mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes, which collectively store 480.5 Tg of organic carbon (Corg) just in the upper 1 meter of sediment. Some of these important areas of carbon sequestration are protected or conserved, […]

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Rapid warming and salinity changes mask acidification in Gulf of Maine waters

February 20, 2019

Why don’t we see ocean acidification in over a decade of high-frequency observations in the Gulf of Maine? The answer lies in a recent decade of changes that raised sea surface temperature and salinity, and in turn dampened the expected acidification signal and caused the saturation states of calcite minerals to increase. From 2004 to […]

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