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Oceanus Magazine Pollution

Sunlight and the fate of oil at sea

Danielle Haas Freeman draws on the language of chemistry to solve an oil spill puzzle

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A ship floats in the the Gulf of Mexico after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Photo by Kris Krug, Wikimedia Commons)
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Palmyra Atoll is an uninhabited coral reef ecosystem located in the central tropical Pacific. Palmyra was chosen by the WHOI team as the site for the first coral reef digital twin because a long history of research at the island has amassed a treasure trove of data and models, enabling the team to hit the ground running as they develop the project. Image credit: Michael Fox © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
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Statoliths, or balance organs, in squid reared in more acidic water (left) were smaller and more degraded than those in normal water (right). (Image courtesy of T. Aran Mooney)
The Thames River used to freeze over in winters during the Little Ice Age, providing thick enough ice to support large outdoor festivals known as frost fairs. (Image courtesy of Rijks Museum) BY ELISE HUGUS | SEPTEMBER 14, 2022 Estimated reading time: 4 minutes Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin
Nate Spada holds one of his three tortoises at home. (Photo by Daniel Hentz, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
A wandering albatross displaying to potential mates. Both males and females perform elaborate mating dances before bonding with a partner. Image credit: Samantha Patrick, University of Liverpool
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The striped marlin (Kajikia audax) is a species of billfish that is overfished in the North Pacific. A new study co-led by WHOI finds that marine predators, like the striped marlin, aggregate in anticyclonic, clockwise-rotating ocean eddies to feed. Image credit: Pat Ford (Pat Ford Photography).
Leslie Henderson and Blake Gardner, divers with the C.O.R.E. St. Croix Coral Strike Team, use syringes to apply an amoxicillin paste to a section of affected pillar coral off the coast of St. Croix. (Photo by Jason Quetel, © VI-DAC)
A group of Juvenile emperor penguins at Atka Bay on the sea ice edge ready for their first swim. In four years, they will return to breed, spending much of their time in unprotected areas of the Southern Ocean. Image credit: Daniel P. Zitterbart/ ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
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The human-occupied vehicle (HOV) Alvin at the surface after a dive, during its recent science verification expedition at locations on the Puerto Rico Trench and Mid-Cayman Rise in the Atlantic. The world’s most productive sub was recently certified to dive to a maximum depth of 6,500 meters (4 miles). The new maximum depth puts roughly 99% of the global seafloor in reach—including the lower Abyssal Zone and the upper Hadal Zone, home to ultra-high-temperature hydrothermal vents, newly discovered volcanic processes, untold mineral resources, and much more. This will also give the science community an unprecedented opportunity to visit a critically under-studied part of the planet that plays a role in carbon and nutrient cycling and that will offer a view into how life might be evolved to conditions in oceans beyond Earth. (Photo by Marley Parker/ ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
(Graphic by Riley Orlando, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
A pregnant woman in a pink dress lifts a female toddler in a pink dress while a man in a black coast and white pants smiles at them. They are on a sunny beach with buildings, mountains and the ocean in the background.
In a first study of its kind, WHOI scientists have established a clear relationship between rising temperatures and the frequency and volume of the sound emitted by snapping shrimp. Snapping shrimp, which create a pervasive crackling noise that sounds like bacon frying, are among the loudest marine animals. Image credit: Tom Kleindinst/© Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Outcrop of carbonate-altered mantle rock in the San Andreas Fault area. A recent study shows that carbon sequestration in mantle rocks may prevent large earthquakes in parts of the San Andreas Fault. (Photo by Frieder Klein, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
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An Arctica islandica shell perches on the railing of the ESS Pursuit during a research cruise in the Mid-Atlantic Bight, south of the Gulf of Maine. A new WHOI co-led study finds that rapid Gulf of Maine warming has reversed long-term cooling that occurred there within the last 900 years. Image credit: Nina Whitney/ © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution