In a new study published April 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their colleague from Rutgers University discovered a surprising new short-circuit to the biological pump. They found that sinking particles of stressed and dying phytoplankton release chemicals that have a jolting, steroid-like effect on marine bacteria feeding on the particles. The chemicals juice up the bacteria’s metabolism causing them to more rapidly convert organic carbon in the particles back into CO2 before they can sink to the deep ocean.
Diversity of life abounds on Earth, and there’s no need to look any farther than the ocean’s surface for proof. There are over 200,000 species of phytoplankton alone, and all of those species of microscopic marine plants that form the base of the marine food web need the same basic resources to grow—light and nutrients.Read More
Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have for the first time detected the presence of small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in a seawater sample from the shoreline of North America. The sample, which was collected on February 19 in Ucluelet, British Columbia, with the assistance of the Ucluelet Aquarium, contained trace amounts of cesium (Cs) -134 and -137, well below internationally established levels of concern to humans and marine life.Read More
The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation has awarded the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) a $150,000 grant that will help fund a three-year collaborative project with Cape Abilities—a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding good jobs for Cape Cod residents with disabilities.Read More
A new paper published March 26 in the journal Science that highlights the significant role that swirling currents, or eddies, play in pushing non-sinking carbon to ocean depths.Read More
Cyndy Chandler, an Information Systems Specialist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has been elected to serve a two-year term as co-chair of the “International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange” (IODE). Established in 1961, the IODE is part of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.
IODE’s purpose is “to enhance marine research, exploitation and development, by facilitating the exchange of oceanographic data and information between participating Member States, and by meeting the needs of users for data and information products.” Chandler’s co-chair is Yutaka Michida (Japan). In its announcement, IODE recognized the new co-chairs “bring with them an extensive career and experience in oceanography and data management.”Read More
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) announces that the Human Occupied Vehicle (HOV) Alvin has achieved certification from the U. S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) for operations to its rated depth of 4,500 meters (approx. 2.8 miles). Two dives were conducted in the waters off Arica, Chile, on January 26-27 from the research vessel Atlantis, demonstrating vehicle performance in accordance with the specified metrics required for certification. NAVSEA representatives were on hand to monitor the process and participate in the dives.Read More
Four years after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident, Japan is still recovering and rebuilding from the disaster. In March 2011 one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded shook Japan, creating a devastating tsunami and damaging the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The accident resulted in the largest unintentional release of radioactivity into the ocean in history.
On the fourth anniversary of the disaster, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Long Beach, CA-based Aquarium of the Pacific will debut a new program about ocean radioactivity motivated by the Fukushima nuclear accident. The program will be projected daily in the Aquarium’s Ocean Science Center on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Science on a Sphere® and will be made available to more than 100 institutions around the world through NOAA’s SOS Network with a capacity to reach over 50 million combined visitors.Read More
Neel Aluru, an Assistant Scientist in the Biology Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has received an Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).Read More
Intense hurricanes, possibly more powerful than any storms New England has experienced in recorded history, frequently pounded the region during the first millennium, from the peak of the Roman Empire into the height of the Middle Ages, according to a new study. The findings could have implications for the intensity and frequency of hurricanes the U.S. could experience as ocean temperatures increase as a result of climate change, according to the study’s authors.Read More
Thirteen scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are featured in the new publication “Women in Oceanography: A Decade Later,” which reviews the progress made over the last 10 years in addressing barriers to career advancement for female oceanographers.Read More
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. This finding highlights the vital role ocean mixing plays in determining whether deep sources of iron reach the surface-dwelling life that need it to survive.Read More
Think of the Sahara and you will conjure images of a vast desert landscape, with nothing but sand as far as the eye can see. But for a period of about 10,000 years, the Sahara was characterized by lush, green vegetation and a network of lakes, rivers and deltas.
This “green Sahara” occurred between 14,800 and 5,500 years ago during what is known as the “African Humid Period.” Why and how it ended is the subject of scientific study that holds important information for predicting the region’s response to future climate change.
In a study published this week in Nature Geoscience, a team of researchers provides new insight into the behavior of the African monsoon at the end of the African Humid Period and the factors that caused it to collapse.Read More
A common algae commercially grown to make fish food holds promise as a source for both biodiesel and jet fuel, according to a new study published in the journal Energy & Fuels.
The researchers, led by Greg O’Neil of Western Washington University and Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, exploited an unusual and untapped class of chemical compounds in the algae to synthesize two different fuel products, in parallel, a from a single algae.Read More
As the ocean ‘s pH decreases and acidifies, coral reefs are more likely to begin dissolving and “drown”. A new study shows exposing corals to added nutrients increases their erosion and dissolution rate tenfold.Read More
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has awarded the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) a $5 million grant toward the construction of new facilities for the testing and research into innovative marine robotics such autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The five-year grant award is being made as part of the Collaborative Research and Development Matching Grant Program, managed by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech). The grant to WHOI’s Center for Marine Robotics will help accelerate the deployment of new and existing marine robotics technologies in MassachusettsRead More
A new study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and their colleagues examined behavioral responses to sound by cuttlefish, a type of shell-less mollusk related to squid and octopi. The study is the first to identify the acoustic range and minimum sound sensitivity in these animals. Their findings, published in the Journal for Experimental Biology, can help decision makers and environmental managers better understand the impacts of noise in the ocean.Read More
Scientists studying the harsh and rapidly changing Arctic environment now have a valuable new tool to advance their work—an innovative robot, designed and built at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) that is changing the way scientists can interact with and observe the polar environment.Read More
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in collaboration with the Ocean Explorium in New Bedford, Mass., has created new digital content for museum-based spherical display systems that brings high-definition images and video of dynamic, deep ocean ecosystems to the public.Read More
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany, has recognized two Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists with honors: Chris German received a Humboldt Research Award and Caroline Ummenhofer was chosen for a Humboldt Research Fellowship.Read More
As California finally experiences the arrival of a rain-bearing Pineapple Express this week, two climate scientists from the University of Minnesota and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have shown that the drought of 2012-2014 has been the worst in 1,200 years.Read More