Coastal Ecosystems


Coastal Ecosystems

The narrow region where land and ocean meet is among the most dynamic and complex collection of physical and biological…

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Marshes, Mosquitoes, and Sea Level Rise

Marshes, Mosquitoes, and Sea Level Rise

In the 1930s, the Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project dug approximately 1,500 miles of ditches across marshes on the Cape to drain their water and reduce the number of ponds where mosquitoes can breed. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution biogeochemist Amanda Spivak is studying how this and other management decisions have changed the ability of coastal marshes to store carbon and protect against sea level rise.

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The Unseen World on Coral Reefs

The Unseen World on Coral Reefs

We have learned that microbial communities on and within us—a microbiome—keep people healthy. Corals reefs also have their own microbiomes that they couldn’t function without.

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The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

Harmful algal blooms can produce toxins that accumulate in shellfish and cause health problems and economic losses. They have increased in strength and frequency worldwide. Can we get advance warnings of when and where they will occur?

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Life at the Edge

What makes the shelf break front such a productive and diverse part of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean? A group of scientists on the research vessel Neil Armstrong spent two weeks at sea in 2018 as part of a three-year, NSF-funded project to find out.

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Sunlight Reduces Effectiveness of Dispersants Used in Oil Spills

Sunlight Reduces Effectiveness of Dispersants Used in Oil Spills

A research team led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that sunlight chemically alters crude oil floating on the sea surface within hours or days. In a follow-up study the team reported that sunlight changes oil into different compounds that dispersants cannot easily break up. The results of these two studies could affect how responders decide when, where, and how to use dispersants.

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Who Grows There?

Who Grows There?

Biofouling organisms—barnacles, tunicates, bryozoans, and other marine invertebrates—are a common sight on docks, ship hulls, rocks, and other hard underwater surfaces. WHOI postdoctoral scholar Kirstin Meyer has been studying the fouling community in coastal waters of Woods Hole, Mass., to assess how it develops and changes over time. Her preliminary results suggest that both water temperature and competition play a key role in driving community composition.

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A Double Whammy for Corals

A Double Whammy for Corals

Scientists know that gradually rising ocean temperatures can push corals past a threshold and cause them to bleach. But combine…

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Long-term Study Focuses on New England Ocean

Long-term Study Focuses on New England Ocean

The National Science Foundation has created a new Long Term Ecological Research site off the New England coast to increase understanding of an area of the ocean known for its abundant marine life and productive commercial fisheries.

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Tiny Jellyfish with a Big Sting

Tiny Jellyfish with a Big Sting

Clinging jellyfish in waters near Vladivostok, Russia, are known for their painful, toxic stings. In the U.S., where clinging jellies had been relatively harmless, a new, venomous variety has recently appeared on Cape Cod, Mass., and in nearby regions. WHOI biologist Annette Govindarajan is using genetic techniques to trace their geographic origins.

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