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A airplane sprays chemical dispersants on an oil slick during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Two new studies have shown that sunlight transforms oil spills on the ocean surface more significantly and quickly than previously thought. The phenomenon considerably limits the effectiveness of chemical dispersants, which are designed to break up floating oil and reduce the amount of oil that reaches coastlines. (Photo by Stephen Lehmann, U.S. Coast Guard)
Each summer, the South Asian monsoon transforms parts of India from semi-arid into lush green lands able to support farming. The annual infusion of rainfall and resulting runoff into the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and other rivers in the region also has a very different, but no less dramatic, impact on the Bay of Bengal in the northeast Indian Ocean.
The rising acidity of the oceans threatens coral reefs by making it harder for corals to build their skeletons. A new study identifies the details of how ocean acidification affects coral skeletons, allowing scientists to predict more precisely where corals will be more vulnerable.
Scientists have found surprising evidence of rapid climate change in the Arctic: In the middle of the Arctic Ocean near the North Pole, they discovered that the levels of radium-228 have almost doubled over the last decade.
Scientists have found lingering radioactivity in the lagoons of remote Marshall Island atolls in the Pacific Ocean where the United States conducted 66 nuclear weapons tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
A new study from WHOI indicates that superoxide—a natural toxin believed to be the main culprit behind coral bleaching—may actually play a beneficial role in coral health and resilience.
A new study may have cracked the longstanding “marine methane paradox,” finding that the answer may lie in the complex ways that bacteria break down substances excreted into seawater by living organisms.
In novel lab observations of interactions between corals and planktonic bacteria, known as picoplankton, researchers found that corals are selectively feeding on specific types of bacteria—the same bacteria whose growth is promoted by organic matter and nutrients that are released by the corals.
Scientists demonstrate that a key organism in the ocean’s food web will start reproducing at high speed as carbon dioxide levels rise, with no way to stop when nutrients become scarce.
Ancient rocks harbored microbial life deep below the seafloor, reports a team of scientists, confirming a long-standing hypothesis that interactions between mantle rocks and seawater can create potential for life even in hard rocks deep below the ocean floor.
As temperatures rise, some of the carbon dioxide stored in Arctic permafrost meets an unexpected fate—burial at sea. As many as 2.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year are swept along by a single river system into Arctic Ocean sediment, according to a new study.
New research proves that the dissolved metals from hydrothermal plumes follow deep-sea currents to provide a major source of iron to the world's oceans.
WHOI assistant scientist Anna Michel was chosen by the National Academy of Sciences to receive a 2015 Gulf Research Program Early-Career Research Fellowship.
As the ocean absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) released by the burning of fossil fuels, its chemistry is changing, lowering its pH in a process known as ocean acidification. This process also removes carbonate ions, an essential ingredient needed by corals and other organisms to build their skeletons and shells.
Scientists from WHOI calculated the first direct estimate of how much and in what form organic carbon is exported to the ocean by rivers.
Good management has brought the $559 million United States sea scallop fishery back from the brink of collapse over the past 20 years. However, its current fishery management plan does not account for longer-term environmental change like ocean warming and acidification that may affect the fishery in the future. A group of researchers from WHOI, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, and Ocean Conservancy hope to change that.
Scientists have discovered a surprising new short-circuit to the biological pump. Sinking particles of stressed and dying phytoplankton release chemicals that can have a jolting, steroid-like effect on marine bacteria feeding on the particles.
Just as crocus and daffodil blossoms signal renewal and the start of a warmer season on land, a similar "greening" event—a massive phytoplankton bloom—unfolds each spring in the Atlantic Ocean from Bermuda to the Arctic. But, what happens to all that organic material produced in the surface ocean?
A new study led by scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) points to the deep ocean as a major source of dissolved iron in the central Pacific Ocean.
A new study shows exposing corals to added nutrients increases their erosion and dissolution rate tenfold.
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