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News Releases


WHOI Geologists Compile Longest Ever Record of Atlantic Hurricane Strikes

The frequency of intense hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean appears to be closely connected to long-term trends in the El Ni?o/Southern Oscillation and the African monsoon, according to new research from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Geologists Jeff Donnelly and Jonathan Woodruff made that discovery while assembling the longest-ever record of hurricane strikes in…

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B12 Is Also an Essential Vitamin for Marine Life

B12—an essential vitamin for land-dwelling animals, including humans—also turns out to be an essential ingredient for growing marine plants that are critical to the ocean food web and Earth’s climate, scientists have found. The presence or absence of B12 in the ocean plays a vital and previously overlooked role in determining where, how much, and…

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Oceanic Storms Create Oases in the Watery Desert

A research team led by Dennis McGillicuddy of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has shown that episodic, swirling current systems known as eddies act to pump nutrients up from the deep ocean to fuel such blooms.

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WHOI Geologists Recognized for Achievements

German-Lin

Two senior scientists in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have been honored for their outstanding contributions to understanding the makeup and dynamics of Earth’s ocean floor. On May 12, marine geochemist Chris German was awarded a Doctor of Science (ScD), or “Higher Doctorate,” by the Faculty of…

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Real-Time Seismic Monitoring Station Installed Atop Active Underwater Volcano

This week, researchers will begin direct monitoring of the rumblings of a submarine volcano in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. On May 6, a team of scientists led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) installed a new underwater earthquake monitoring system on top of Kick‘em Jenny, a volcano just off of the north coast of…

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Coral Reef Fish Make Their Way Home

Coral reef fish hatchlings dispersed by ocean currents are able to make their way back to their home reefs again to spawn, says a groundbreaking study published today in the journal Science. The study, whose findings are considered a major advance for fish conservation biology, was conducted by an international team of scientists from Australia,…

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Beach Sand Formations Tell Tales of Past Storms

Geologists have recently devised a new method for reconstructing the history of severe storms along the coast: examine the steep slopes and cliffs left behind when severe wind and water erode the beach. After hurricanes and Nor’easters make landfall, they move and sculpt the sands into “scarps” while leaving behind a distinct signature of different-sized…

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Robotic Vehicle Recovers Instruments and Data Locked in a Lava Flow

A lot of ocean science equipment goes into the water and never comes back. Some of it was intended to stay; other times, the sea claims it by force. Recently researchers used the WHOI-operated underwater vehicle Jason to take back some instruments—and hopefully some scientific secrets—that had been claimed by a seafloor volcanic eruption. In…

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Hurricane Katrina’s Flood Legacy Does Not Include Disease

When the levees broke in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, officials feared that Lake Pontchartrain might be infiltrated with disease-causing microbes from a “toxic gumbo” of water, polluted sediments, and sewage. In the weeks after the flood, scientists from several U.S. Centers for Oceans and Human Health, including WHOI biologist Rebecca Gast, mobilized to sample…

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Ice-Covered Arctic Lakes May Harbor Signs of Climate Change

Arctic coastal environments are some of the most vulnerable to climate change. A team of WHOI researchers visited Canada’s Mackenzie River Delta in April 2007 to find out just how vulnerable. Marine geochemists Tim Eglinton, Daniel Montluçon, and Angie Dickens, and geologist Liviu Giosan trekked into the frozen wilderness to drill through ice and water…

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Ocean’s “Twilight Zone” Plays Important Role in Climate Change

A major study has shed new light on the dim layer of the ocean called the “twilight zone”—where mysterious processes affect the ocean’s ability to absorb and store carbon dioxide accumulating in our atmosphere. The results of two international research expeditions to the Pacific Ocean, published April 27 in the journal Science, show that carbon…

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Buried, Residual Oil is Still Affecting Wildlife Decades After a Spill

Nearly four decades after a fuel oil spill polluted the beaches of Cape Cod, researchers have found the first compelling evidence for lingering, chronic biological effects on a marsh that otherwise appears to have recovered. Through a series of field observations and laboratory experiments with salt marsh fiddler crabs (Uca pugnax), doctoral student Jennifer Culbertson…

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Researchers Setting Up Observatories to Examine Arctic Changes from Under the Ice

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are venturing this month to the North Pole to deploy instruments that will make year-round observations of the water beneath the Arctic ice cap. Scientists will investigate how the waters in the upper layers of the Arctic Ocean—which insulate surface ice from warmer, deeper waters—are changing from…

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Research Project hopes to answer Global Climate Questions

CONTACTS: Karinna Sjo-Gaber Joint Oceanographic Institutions 202-232-3900 Joanne Tromp WHOI Media Relations 508-289-3340 The impacts of natural climate variability and the threat of anthropogenic climate change are issues that are increasingly being brought to public attention.  There is growing interest among the science community to forecast not just the local weather, but also the global…

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Should We Pump Iron to Slow Climate Change?

One of the solutions offered for the global greenhouse gas problem is the fertilization of the ocean; that is, spreading iron into the open ocean to promote the growth of floating microscopic plants. In at least 12 experiments over the past 14 years, researchers have shown that the presence of dissolved iron is critical to…

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Seafloor bacteria are multi-tasking with the carbon cycle

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…

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Climate Change in the Bottom of a Lake

Climate is often discussed in global terms, but it is the regional and local effects that will matter most to everyday people. WHOI geologist Jeff Donnelly and colleagues are looking closely at the regional effects of a past period of climate change, and it’s not all about rising temperatures. Between 5,400 and 3,000 years ago,…

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Is U.S. Marine Aquaculture Economically Sustainable?

With growing global populations and ever-increasing demands for seafood, fish farms are expected to expand significantly over the next few decades. But is aquaculture economically sustainable? Do the benefits outweigh the costs when all of the relevant environmental factors are considered? A team of social scientists from WHOI’s Marine Policy Center produced an analysis of…

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Going Virtual in Marine Biology Education

Whyvillians have a problem: harmful algae are threatening their beaches and coastal ecosystem. In order to investigate, understand, and mitigate the problem, citizens are turning to the Whyville Oceanographic Institution (WhOI), with its boats, its underwater laboratories, and other resources for exploring the ocean. This interactive experience is part of a new partnership between the…

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Jim Ledwell Awarded Agassiz Medal by National Academy of Sciences

Jim Ledwell

Oceanographer Jim Ledwell of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has been selected as the winner of the 2007 Alexander Agassiz Medal, awarded by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Ledwell, a senior scientist in the Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, specializes in the use of chemical tracers to observe currents in…

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