The future of science in South Georgia

Whale arch.jpg

To assess how the scientific requirements of South Georgia will best be facilitated, a NOC scientist joined others from institutes around the world in the Falklands this week.

Passenger ferry provides new insights into red tides in the English Channel

NOC scientists looking at Ferrybox data

For most of us, ferries are simply a convenient means of getting from A to B on a short break or family holiday, but for scientists at the National Oceanography Centre, they have proved to be an invaluable source of information about harmful phytoplankton growth in the English Channel.

Cell simplicity betters complexity in sunlit blue ocean

Professor Mikhail Zubkov beside the human blood counting machine

A recent study of phytoplankton by a NOC scientist has found cyanobacteria apparently remain the faster growing CO2 fixers in the oligotrophic ocean, which covers almost 40% of the Earth’s surface.

Glider endurance mission in the Irish Sea

Map of glider survey area

An NOC underwater glider has completed a 58-day mission in the Irish Sea zigzagging a total of 1685 miles – while avoiding hazards such as fishing vessels and shipping lanes.

Scientists discover new variability in iron supply to the oceans with climate implications

Phytoplankton bloom in western South Atlantic Ocean (credit: NASA)

The supply of dissolved iron to oceans around continental shelves has been found to be more variable by region than previously believed – with implications for future climate prediction.

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.

Efficient phosphorus use by phytoplankton

NOC Southampton

Rapid turnover and remodelling of lipid membranes could help phytoplankton cope with nutrient scarcity in the open ocean.

Coccolithophore blooms in the southwest Atlantic

The coccolithophore species Emiliania huxleyi (credit: Alex Poulton, NOC)

A study led by Dr Stuart Painter of the National Oceanography Centre helps explain the formation of huge phytoplankton blooms off the southeast coast of South America during the austral summer (December–January). The region supports the highly productive Patagonian Shelf marine ecosystem, which includes a globally important fishery.

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.