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jessica benthuysen

Oceanography by the Numbers

Jessica Benthuysen, a recent graduate of the MIT/WHOI Joint Program, developed a sophisticated mathematical model of upwelling, the vertical motion of water that occurs in certain parts of the ocean. Upwelling often brings nutrient-rich deep waters closer to the surface, providing a bonanza for phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish, and whales. Benthuysen’s model showed that just a few key factors, including bottom slope and along-shore current, can account for upwelling in an area off the U.S. East Coast called the shelf break, where the nearly-flat continental shelf meets the steep continental slope. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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