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Multimedia Ocean Chemistry

Life on an Ocean World: Can we find life using chemistry?

Humans have not yet ventured to an ocean world. But that hasn’t stopped scientists from asking themselves what Earth’s ocean can tell us about far away planets we could visit

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From left to right: Enrique Padilla, Jinshi Chen, Steve Elgar, and Ciara Dooley, loading up a gator with pressure sensors and tools to take to the beach for installation. (Image courtesy of USCRP)
WHOI deep-sea biologist Tim Shank will help lead the Deep-Ocean Genomes Project as part of the Earth BioGenome Project. (Photo by Luis Lamar)
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A microscope image of biological specimens used alongside similarly sized microplastic beads. The organisms pictured here are all crustaceans. The size ranges were matched to show that the sensor could tell plastics and organisms apart independently of their size. WHOI and Triple Ring Technologies are collaborating to move forward with designing and engineering the fieldable microplastics sensor to offer a widespread assessment of microplastic pollution. Credit: Beckett Colson
WHOI has been selected as part of two teams in the final stretch to help build a center for climate change and resiliency research on Governors Island, New York City. Photo credit: Governors Island Trust
Giant kelp canopy showing fronds with varying physiological condition. Lighter colored senescent fronds contain less chlorophyll pigment and are generally older than darker frond with higher chlorophyll content. (Tom Bell, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Rob Walz works aboard his fishing vessel the <em>Finast Kind II</em> for the WHOI-CFRF Shelf Fleet Program. (Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation). (Daniel Cojanu, © Woods Hole Oceanographic)
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The 82-foot-long S/V Iris arrived at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution dock after a three week journey across the Atlantic, and moored next to WHOI’s R/V Armstrong.  The Iris departed Woods Hole on December 14 and will spend the next two months deploying approximately 78 Argo floats in the South Atlantic, before finishing its epic voyage back in Brest, France. © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
WHOI’s communications initiatives include virtual events, print media, and social media. In May 2020, ocean explorer and filmmaker James Cameron (top right) was guest host of Ocean Encounters: Extreme Machines, joining panelists Andy Bowen (bottom right), WHOI engineer and director of the National Deep Sea Submergence Facility; Mark Dalio (bottom middle), founder and creative director, OceanX; Vincent Pieribone (bottom left), vice chairman of OceanX and director of the John B. Pierce Laboratory, Yale University; and Orla Doherty, producer of BBC’s Blue Planet (top middle).
Gulf Stream flounder and Black Sea bass caught near Block Island, RI. An unusual catch, but the reason it was found so far up north is likely due to a warm water intrustion caused by ocean eddies and wind, explained in a new WHOI-led study.
Image credit: Mike Marchetti (inshore scallop fisherman)
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WHOI postdoctoral investigator Michael Mazzotta cuts plastic samples to measure respiration signals of microbial communities respiring cellulose diacetate. A new study led by WHOI researchers finds that cellulose diacetate, a bio-based plastic, degrades in the ocean faster than previously thought. Image credit: Collin Ward © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
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