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Ocean Chemistry


The ocean’s ‘biological pump’ captures more carbon than expected

Buesseler sediment trap

Scientists have long known that the ocean plays an essential role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, but a new study from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that the efficiency of the ocean’s “biological carbon pump” has been drastically underestimated, with implications for future climate assessments.

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The Ocean is Earth’s Oxygen Bank

Oxygen is like money for Earth, and the ocean acts like a bank. Deposits are made in three ocean layers: At the surface through exchange with air, in the water, when phytoplankton produce O2 from sunlight and CO2, and on the seafloor where plants and corals live. Withdrawals occur when organisms consume oxygen. Oxygen is tightly connected to life in the ocean, and can tell us a lot about an ecosystem’s health & productivity. This is why we need an ocean oxygen budget. A simple idea, but has been difficult until now.

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Report reveals ‘unseen’ human benefits from ocean twilight zone

A new report from researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) reveals for the first time the unseen—and somewhat surprising—benefits that people receive from the ocean’s twilight zone. Also known as the “mesopelagic,” this is the ocean layer just beyond the sunlit surface.

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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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2019 Year in Review

Enjoy this montage of video captured throughout 2019 documenting how WHOI researchers explore the ocean planet to tackle the most pressing questions about our water world and find solutions to benefit society.

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The oceans are losing oxygen, and faster than we thought

WHOI scientists weigh in on a new ICUN report highlighting a 2% decline in marine oxygen levels between 1960 and 2010. The loss of oxygen has triggered an expansion of marine dead zones throughout the global ocean that has put marine life and ecosystems in peril.

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Ocean acidification gets a watchful eye in New England aquaculture ‘hot spot’

Shells

Shellfish aquaculture is thriving in New England, but future growth in the industry could be stunted as coastal waters in the region become more acidic. Researchers at WHOI have developed a way to link nutrient load reductions to improvements in the health of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, which may an important step toward cleaner and less acidic harbors in the Baystate.

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Panel delves into impact of ocean acidification

Cape Cod Times

The state commission tasked with studying ocean acidification and its regional impact — particularly in relation to the aquaculture industry — held its first meeting Friday in Woods Hole with a sobering presentation on the phenomenon.