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Report from the Executive Vice President & Director of Research
Science Highlights
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Research > Science Highlights

Science Highlights

Doing the Wave
Surfers and satellites make unlikely oceanographic assistants, but both are helping investigators from the Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department study the basic physics of ocean waves on scales varying from centimeters to hundreds of kilometers.

Picoplankton and the Whale
"Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em, /And little fleas have lesser fleas, and ad infinitum. /And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on; /While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on."

From Tiny Grains, a Larger Understanding of Earth
Fifty miles below the ocean bottom, where extreme pressure meets temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, rock is squeezed and cooked until it begins to flow like hot syrup. This is the birthplace of magma, the molten rock that rises to erupt from undersea volcanoes or oozes from deep fissures, cooling and solidifying as it hits cold seawater to carpet the seafloor with new crust.

Pumping Iron on the Seafloor
Somewhere on the vast seafloor that covers 70 percent of our planet lies a small rock. On that rock is a microscopic crevice, maybe 10 microns (0.0004 inches) deep and 20 microns wide. And in that crevice is a thriving community of microbes, for whom that nook is as cozy and bountiful as Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving.

What Goes Down Must Come Up
From space, the ocean may look like a big, calm bathtub. But below its surface lies the ultimate dynamic environment—328 million cubic miles of water flowing, sinking, mixing, and rising.