Human actions are changing the oceans’ chemistry. To predict how marine ecosystems are going to respond to these changes, we need to understand how marine biology and ocean chemistry interact today. This week, biologist and geochemists from around the world gathered at Lamont to find new ways to combine their expertise to analyze GEOTRACES data on trace elements and nutrients.
Centers, Projects & Initiatives
|Name||Title||Fields of interest|
|Kim Popendorf||Adjunct Associate Research Scientist||Combining geochemical, microbial, and molecular tools to elucidate the microbial role in marine biogeochemical cycles, with an emphasis on the measurement of modern day surface ocean fluxes.|
|Yingzhe Wu||Graduate Research Fellow|
|Christopher Hayes||Graduate Research Assistant||Chemical oceanography, trace metals, paleoclimatology|
|Alison Hartman||Graduate Research Assistant|
August 05, 2016
May 30, 2016
Scientists working in the Gulf of Mexico have found that contaminants from the massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill lingered in the subsurface water for months after oil on the surface had been swept up or dispersed. In a new study led by Lamont's Beizhan Yan, they detail how remnants of the oil, black carbon from burning oil slicks and contaminants from drilling mud combined with microscopic algae and other marine debris to descend in a “dirty blizzard” to the seafloor.
May 16, 2016
Over the past half-million years, the equatorial Pacific Ocean has seen five spikes in the amount of iron-laden dust blown in from the continents. In theory, those bursts should have turbo-charged the growth of the ocean’s carbon-capturing algae – algae need iron to grow – but a new study led by Lamont Gisela Winckler shows that the excess iron had little to no effect. The results are important today, because as groups search for ways to combat climate change, some are exploring fertilizing the oceans with iron as a solution.
February 03, 2016
Twenty thousand years ago, when humans were still nomadic hunters and gatherers, low concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere allowed the earth to fall into the grip of an ice age. But despite decades of research, the reasons why levels of the greenhouse gas were so low then have been difficult to piece together.
January 27, 2016
Scientists plumbing the depths of the central equatorial Pacific Ocean have found ancient sediments suggesting that one proposed way to mitigate climate warming—fertilizing the oceans with iron to produce more carbon-eating algae—may not necessarily work as envisioned.
January 25, 2016
In the water above natural oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico, where oil and gas bubbles rise almost a mile to break at the surface, scientists have discovered something unusual: phytoplankton, tiny microbes at the base of the marine food chain, are thriving. The oil itself does not appear to help the phytoplankton, but the low concentration of oil found above natural seeps isn’t killing them, and turbulence from the rising oil and gas bubbles is bringing up deep-water nutrients that phytoplankton need to grow, according to a new study appearing in the latest issue of Nature Geoscience.
December 09, 2015
As excess carbon dioxide is absorbed into the oceans, it is starting to have profound effects on marine life, from oysters to tiny snails at the base of the food chain.
September 10, 2015
“In the last 10 years, we were afraid that the Southern Ocean was going to quit giving us a break from climate change,” said coauthor Taro Takahashi of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “This study shows that it’s recovered its ability to take up carbon dioxide, and that’s good news.” Takahashi has been working for decades to understand the cycling of CO2 between air and oceans, and is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject.
July 13, 2012
With their vast resources and raw materials, the world’s oceans are one of the cornerstones of the quality of human life. According to World Bank figures, 350 million jobs are estimated to be linked to the oceans globally, and 1 billion people in developing countries depend on fish for their primary source of protein.
October 03, 2011
After less than a month in operation, a new NASA satellite has produced the first map showing how saltiness varies across the surface of the world’s oceans. Until now, salt measurements came only from ships, moorings and buoys floating at sea; NASA says its Aquarius satellite will capture in three years as much data as those earlier methods did in 125 years.
February 22, 2011
Scientists using underwater sensors to explore Lake Rotomahana in New Zealand have uncovered remnants of the Pink Terraces,” once considered the eighth natural wonder of the world.
September 23, 2010
BP’s leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was conclusively sealed this week, but even now questions remain about the amount of oil that actually came out of it. Now, in the first independent, peer-reviewed paper on the leak’s volume, scientists have affirmed heightened estimates of what is now acknowledged as the largest marine oil accident ever.
November 16, 2009
The oceans play a key role in regulating climate, absorbing more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans put into the air. Now, the first year-by-year accounting of this mechanism during the industrial era suggests the oceans are struggling to keep up with rising emissions...
September 15, 2009
The world’s oceans are growing more acidic as carbon emissions from the modern world are absorbed by the sea. A new film, “A Sea Change,” explores what this changing chemistry means for fish and the one billion people who rely on them for food. This first-ever documentary about ocean acidification is told through the eyes of a retired history teacher who reads about the problem in a piece in The New Yorker and is inspired to find out more. His quest takes him to Alaska, California, Washington and Norway to talk with oceanographers, climatologists and others.
|Oxygen in the Ocean||Dynamics, Trends and New Observational Approaches|
|Estimating the Magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Leak||Earth Science Colloquium|