OCB Science Highlights

OCB Science Highlights

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Unmixing deep sea sedimentary records identifies sensitivity of marine calcifying zooplankton to abrupt warming and ocean acidification in the past

May 3, 2022

Ocean acidification and rising temperatures have led to concerns about how calcifying organisms foundational to marine ecosystems, will be affected in the near future. We often look to analogous abrupt climate change events in Earth’s geologic past to inform our predictions of these future communities. The Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) is an apt analog for […]

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How do coccolithophores survive the darkness?

April 1, 2022

Coccolithophores have survived several major extinction events over geologic time. The most significant was the asteroid impact at the K/T boundary, followed by months of darkness. Additionally, coccolithophores regularly reside in the twilight zone, just beyond the reach of sunlight. A paper recently published in the New Phytologist addresses how these photosynthetic algae can persist […]

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Predators Set Range for the Ocean’s Most Abundant Phytoplankton

April 1, 2022

Prochlorococcus is the world’s smallest phytoplankton (microscopic plant-like organisms) and the most numerous, with more than ten septillion individuals. This tiny plankton lives ubiquitously in warm, blue, tropical waters but is conspicuously absent in more polar regions. The prevailing theory was the cold: Prochlorococcus doesn’t grow at low temperatures. In a recent paper, the authors argue ecological […]

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Decline in spring chlorophyll-a concentrations in response to COVID-19 lockdown in the Yellow Sea

February 18, 2022

Recently, it was reported that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-related lockdowns have led to a reduction in anthropogenic emissions of pollutant nitrogen on a global scale. This reduction may have induced a change in marine environmental conditions, providing a natural experiment for determining its impact on marine ecosystems. However, a direct cause-effect relationship between COVID-19 and […]

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New Data Standard for Oceanographic Research

February 18, 2022

Effective data management is paramount in oceanographic research. The ocean is a global system, and research to understand regional and global oceanographic processes often involves compiling cruise-based data from different laboratories and expeditions. The new international data standard covers column header abbreviations, quality control flags, missing value indicators, and standardized calculation of numerous parameters. Released […]

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Seagrass is not a silver bullet for climate change

January 21, 2022

Coastal management actions aimed at protecting or restoring seagrass meadows are often assumed to have the collateral benefit of removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to combat climate change. Be aware, however: not all seagrass meadows are alike. Under certain conditions, some release more carbon dioxide than they absorb and are net carbon sources to the atmosphere. This is now shown […]

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Aircraft reveal a surprisingly strong Southern Ocean carbon sink

December 17, 2021

The Southern Ocean is indeed a significant carbon sink—absorbing a large amount of the excess carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by human activities—according to a newly published study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The findings provide clarity about the role the icy waters surrounding Antarctica play in buffering the impact […]

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Eddies oxygenate the upper equatorial Pacific

December 17, 2021

As the ocean warms, the future of the tropical Pacific Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZs) remains highly uncertain, in part due to incomplete understanding of processes and poor model representation of how mesoscale circulation impacts ocean biogeochemistry. To help address these gaps, a recent paper explored how mesoscale eddies modulate dissolved oxygen distributions and variability, with a particular focus on the upper northern […]

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Ocean Acidification drives shifts in global stoichiometry and carbon export efficiency

November 19, 2021

Marine food webs and biogeochemical cycles react sensitively to increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) and associated ocean acidification, but the effects are far more complex than previously thought. A comprehensive study published in Nature Climate Change by a team of researchers from GEOMAR dove deep into the impacts of ocean acidification on marine biota and […]

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Zooplankton evolutionary rescue is limited by warming and acidification interactions

November 19, 2021

A key issue facing ocean global change scientists is predicting the fate of biota under the combined effects of ocean warming and acidification (OWA). In addition to the constraints of studying multifactor drivers, predictions are hampered by few evolutionary studies, especially for animal populations. Evolutionary studies are essential to assess the possibility of evolutionary rescue […]

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