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Carbon Cycle


Value Beyond View: The Ocean Twilight Zone

How does the ocean twilight zone benefit life on Earth? The ocean twilight zone helps regulates our climate. Storing two to six billion tons of carbon annually. That’s up to six times the amount of carbon emitted from autos worldwide. Preventing an increase in temperature between 6-11°F. The ocean twilight zone supports a healthy ocean ecosystem. Containing 10 times more fish than the rest of the ocean. Providing food for many other animals in the ocean. The ocean twilight zone could also play an important role in feeding a growing population. We are working to better understand this realm in order to inform sustainable management decisions.

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Chasing Ocean ‘Snowflakes’

Chasing Ocean ‘Snowflakes’

Scientists envision putting a flotilla of devices in the ocean to act as “eyes” that can track the “marine snow” that drifts down into the ocean.

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Carbon Cycle

Carbon is the building block of life on Earth and has a powerful impact on the planet’s climate.

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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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Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

The twilight zone is a part of the ocean 660 to 3,300 feet below the surface, where little sunlight can reach. It is deep and dark and cold, and the pressures there are enormous. Despite these challenging conditions, the twilight zone teems with life that helps support the ocean’s food web and is intertwined with Earth’s climate. Some countries are gearing up to exploit twilight zone fisheries, with unknown impacts for marine ecosystems and global climate. Scientists and engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are poised to explore and investigate this hidden frontier.

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A Mighty Mysterious Molecule

A Mighty Mysterious Molecule

What gives sea air its distinctive scent? A chemical compound called dimethylsulfide. In a new study, WHOI scientists show that the compound may also be used by marine microbes to communicate with one another.

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Specks in the Spectrometer

Specks in the Spectrometer

Mass spectrometer facilities can be a rite of passage for scientists—as well as for the samples analyzed inside the mass specs.

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Earth’s Riverine Bloodstream

Earth's Riverine Bloodstream

Like blood in our arteries in our body, water in rivers carry chemical signals that can tell us a lot about how the entire Earth system operates.

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Tracking a Trail of Carbon

Tracking a Trail of Carbon

Lake Titicaca in the Andes Mountains of South America is an extraordinary place to explore ancient human civilization, Earth’s climate history, and the flow of carbon through our planet.

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