Chemical contamination appears initially and most intensely where
the coastal ocean meets the seafloor. Here, contaminants can have
subtle effects, especially on commercial resources (for example,
fish and shellfish) and possibly on human health. RCRC research
projects study the complex mix of physical, biological, and chemical
processes that move contaminants across the sediment-water interface.
For example, scientists are conducting on-site experiments in Buzzards
Bay to learn how a polychaete worm (Nepthys incisa) affects the
movement of chemicals and particles at this interface. Knowledge
of the natural cycling of bioactive chemicals and sedimentary pollutants
helps us develop rational resource management and remediation policies.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to research and education to advance understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the Earth system, and to communicating this understanding for the benefit of society. Learn more »