Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems (OBE)

Experts set to revamp World Amphipoda Database

Ericthonius tolli

Thirty amphipod experts have been lined up to improve and update the information held in the World Amphipoda database. The aim is to equip the myriad of end-users with the tools and information to identify and differentiate between amphipod species.

UK scientists team up with Canadians in Arctic expedition

The team alongside CCGS Hudson

A team of UK scientists have embarked on a shipboard expedition to the Labrador Sea aboard the research vessel CCGS Hudson, to further understanding of how carbon dioxide is locked away from the atmosphere by ocean processes.

Climate change clues from tiny marine algae – ancient and modern

Fossil and modern coccolithophore cells of species Toweius pertusus and Coccolithus pelagicus (courtesy of Paul Bown, UCL)

Microscopic ocean algae called coccolithophores are providing clues about the impact of climate change both now and many millions of years ago. The study found that their response to environmental change varies between species, in terms of how quickly they grow.

Marine scientists call for a European marine observatory network

Call for action towards an integrated network of observatories monitoring Europe’s seas

More than 100 marine scientists, policy makers and members of industry have unanimously called for action towards an integrated network of observatories monitoring Europe’s seas.

Ocean stirring and plankton patchiness

Near-true colour MODIS satellite image showing a coccolithophore (phytoplankton) bloom in the Iceland Basin (credit: NEODAAS/PML)

Computer simulations performed by researchers at the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Glasgow show how oceanic stirring and mixing influence the formation and dynamics of plankton patches in the upper ocean.

Met Office and NOC enhance ocean observatory

Map of the open ocean observatories of the EuroSITES network (credit EuroSITES/NOC)

In May 2010, the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) joins forces with the UK Met Office to enhance ocean monitoring at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain sustained observatory (PAP-SO), the longest multidisciplinary open-ocean time-series observatory in Europe. This collaboration should both advance scientific understanding of the ocean and improve climate prediction.

Variations in phytoplankton community structure – Implications for carbon export & deep-sea ecosystems

An inner valve view of Actinocyclus ssp., sampled using a closing net between 25–35 m depth

The movement of ocean eddies and other surface water masses over short timescales causes rapid changes in the community composition of marine algae (phytoplankton) in the sunlit upper ocean, according to new findings.

Seabed biodiversity in oxygen minimum zones

Spider Crabs and Jelly Fish (credit: NOC/NERC)

Some regions of the deep ocean floor support abundant populations of organisms, despite being overlain by water that contains very little oxygen, according to an international study led by scientists at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. But global warming is likely to exacerbate oxygen depletion and thereby reduce biodiversity in these regions, they warn.

Echinoderms contribute to global carbon sink

Echinoderms such as brittle stars bury significant amounts of carbon at the seabed when they die and decay (credit: SERPENT Project)

The impact on levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere by the decaying remains of a group of marine creatures that includes starfish and sea urchin has been significantly underestimated, conclude scientists.