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.

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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Does ocean acidification make marine fish grow differently? What about sex-specific effects?

February 8, 2021

The question of whether ocean acidification (OA) will impact the growth of marine fish remains surprisingly uncertain. The bulk of available evidence in the form of laboratory experiments suggests that most fish are not impacted by OA-relevant CO2 levels, but many studies suffer from the inherent methodical constraints of rearing marine fish in captivity. For […]

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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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