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A new type of deep-sea robotic vehicle called Nereus has successfully reached the deepest part of the world’s ocean, reports a team of U.S. engineers and scientists aboard the research vessel Kilo Moana. The dive to 10,902 meters (6.8 miles) occurred on May 31, 2009, at the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean.
A new study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is the first to quantify the amount of oil residue in seafloor sediments that result from natural petroleum seeps off Santa Barbara, California.
The cycling of iron throughout the oceans has been an area of intense research for the last two decades. Oceanographers have spent a lot of time studying what has been affectionately labeled the Geritol effect ever since discovering that the lack of iron is a reason why phytoplankton grow lackadaisically in some of the most nutrient-rich surface waters. Just like humans, sometimes the ocean needs a dose of iron to function more effectively.
Scientists from North America and Europe will meet to develop the first coherent plan for studying and conserving cold-water corals in the Atlantic Ocean. The plan will lay the foundations for an international research program beginning 2010.
Thousands of feet below the bottom of the sea, off the shores of Santa Barbara, CA, single-celled organisms are busy feasting on oil. Until now, nobody knew how many oily compounds were being devoured by the microscopic creatures, but new research led by David Valentine of University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts has shed new light on just how extensive their diet can be.
Hydrocarbonsmolecules critical to lifeare routinely generated by the simple interaction of seawater with the rocks under the Lost City hydrothermal vent field in the Atlantic Ocean. The production of such building blocks of life makes Lost City-like vents strong contenders as places where life might have originated on Earth, according to research led by the University of Washington and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
More than a decade after fishing stopped near the Corner Rise Seamounts in the North Atlantic, researchers have found that the seafloor still has patches that are almost completely devoid of life.
Examining more than 50,000 seafloor images, geologists have created the most detailed map ever assembled for a volcanic eruption along a fast-spreading mid-ocean ridge.
Researchers will probe the Gakkel Ridge during expedition that begins on July 1.
Scientists have found one of the largest fields of seafloor vents gushing super-hot, mineral-rich fluids on a mid-ocean ridge that, until now, remained elusive to the ten-year hunt to find them.
Scientists have long known that microorganisms can use one of two different methods to convert carbon dioxide into a form that living things can use for energy. What they didn’t know until recently is that at least one form of bacteria can switch between these two “carbon fixation” pathways or use them both at the same timea fundamental discovery for scientists who believe such bacteria played a role in the evolution of life on Earth.
A multidisciplinary research team from six institutions has for the first time successfully anticipated and then chronicled a seafloor eruption along the global mid-ocean ridge, the most active volcanic system on Earth. The event along the East Pacific Rise has provided researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) with a rare opportunity to observe what happens in the immediate aftermath of an eruption.
Just a half mile off California’s coast near Santa Barbara, and in coastal areas around the world, natural petroleum seeps are releasing an astonishing amount of methane gas and oil into the environment each yearmuch more than accidental oil spills and runoff from roads on a worldwide basis.
Advances in undersea imaging systems, the development of new vehicles and instruments, and improved seafloor mapping capabilities have enabled scientists to explore areas of the deep sea in unprecedented detail.
In 2002, researchers diving in the submersible Alvin returned to the Galápagos Rift, a mid-ocean ridge about 250 miles from the Galápagos Islands in the eastern Pacific Ocean where hydrothermal vents and exotic organisms were first found in 1977.
Three new deep-sea hydrothermal vent fields were discovered in September 2004 in the Lau Basin in the western Pacific between Tonga, Fiji and Samoa and were geologically and biologically mapped by the Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE), one of WHOI's autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).
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