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POGO Member News

Corals in Hot Water?

Racing time to predict the fate of corals in a warming ocean

 

A time bomb is ticking in the ocean, and faster than you might think. The oceans are warming, and in the next 20 to 30 years many coral reefs around the globe will reach their temperature threshold, a tipping point at which they will likely yield to weakened immune systems, bleaching disease, and in many cases, death.

 

This race against time fuels the work of Hannah Barkley, a graduate student in the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Joint Program in Oceanography.

The oceans’ sensitive skin - Ocean acidification affects climate-relevant functions at the sea-surface microlayer

Ocean acidification might alter climate-relevant functions of the oceans’ uppermost layer, according to a study by a group of marine scientists published in the “Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans”. In an experiment led by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the researchers observed a close coupling between biological processes in the seawater and the chemistry of the sea surface microlayer. Also, they noted a growing number of specialised bacterial and algal cells in this microenvironment. These changes might influence interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere such as the air-sea gas exchange and the emission of sea-spray aerosols that can scatter solar radiation or contribute to the formation of clouds.

"FloatMonkey" sea trials - paving the way towards multi-disciplinary research

In continuing to develop SAEON’s capacity for offshore benthic research, the team at Egagasini have been working to expand the capabilities of the already successful SkiMonkey III camera system. Team members have added some equipment and done some alterations to make the camera system more versatile in terms of the types of data it can collect and the habitats it can access. Most significantly, the camera system now boasts an onboard MicroCAT CTD instrument (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) made possible by funds from a National Research Foundation (NRF) Strategic Research Infrastructure Grant.

 

This additional component records physical measurements of near-bottom/seafloor water, while the camera records images of the living organisms. This will pave the way for increasingly multi-disciplinary research, with stronger links between offshore oceanography and benthic ecology.

Senior Research Scientist Ramunas Stepanauskas feted in two countries for scientific contributions

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences Senior Research Scientist Ramunas Stepanauskas was in the enviable position of being asked to be in two different countries to accept two separate awards recognizing his significant contributions to science at the same time. Stepanauskas opted to travel to his native Lithuania to accept the Lithuanian Ministry of Science and Education award for achievements in science. The award was presented in Vilnius, Lithuania on November 4. 

New Collaborative Effort to Gauge National Marine Biodiversity

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers are part of a collaborative effort to understand and monitor changes in marine biodiversity within U.S. coastal waters. Marine biodiversity is a key indicator of ocean health and critical to sustaining natural resources such as fisheries.

 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management are funding three demonstration projects that will lay the foundation for the first national network to monitor marine biodiversity at scales ranging from microbes to whales.

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