Tag Archives: biogeochemistry

Study explores complex physical oceanography in East China Sea

Just days before a team of researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and National Taiwan University set out to conduct fieldwork in the East China Sea, Typhoon Morakot—one of the most destructive storms ever to hit Taiwan—made landfall on the island, causing widespread damage and drastically altering the flow of water along the nearby continental shelf.

The typhoon, which struck in Aug. 2009, caused catastrophic damage in Taiwan, killing several hundred people and dropping up to 2 meters of rain in just 5 days in the mountains. (more…)

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Morphing manganese

UD researchers report new discovery in ‘Science’ about manganese in aquatic environments

An often-overlooked form of manganese, an element critical to many life processes, is far more prevalent in ocean environments than previously known, according to a study led by University of Delaware researchers that was published this week in Science.

The discovery alters understanding of the chemistry that moves manganese and other elements, like oxygen and carbon, through the natural world. Manganese is an essential nutrient for most organisms and helps plants produce oxygen during photosynthesis. (more…)

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New Research Will Help Shed Light on Role of Amazon Forests in Global Carbon Cycle

Berkeley Lab scientists devise new tools for detecting previously unknown tree mortality.

The Earth’s forests perform a well-known service to the planet, absorbing a great deal of the carbon dioxide pollution emitted into the atmosphere from human activities. But when trees are killed by natural disturbances, such as fire, drought or wind, their decay also releases carbon back into the atmosphere, making it critical to quantify tree mortality in order to understand the role of forests in the global climate system. Tropical old-growth forests may play a large role in this absorption service, yet tree mortality patterns for these forests are not well understood.

Now scientist Jeffrey Chambers and colleagues at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have devised an analytical method that combines satellite images, simulation modeling and painstaking fieldwork to help researchers detect forest mortality patterns and trends. This new tool will enhance understanding of the role of forests in carbon sequestration and the impact of climate change on such disturbances. (more…)

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Human Impact Felt on Black Sea Long Before Industrial Era

When WHOI geologist Liviu Giosan first reconstructed the history of how the Danube River built its delta, he was presented with a puzzle.

In the delta’s early stages of development, the river deposited its sediment within a protected bay. As the delta expanded onto the Black Sea shelf in the late Holocene and was exposed to greater waves and currents, rather than seeing the decline in sediment storage that he expected, Giosan found the opposite. The delta continued to grow. In fact, it has tripled its storage rate.

If an increase in river runoff was responsible for the unusual rapid build up of sediment in the delta, says Giosan, the question is, “Was this extraordinary event in the Danube delta felt in the entire Black Sea basin? And if so, what caused it?” (more…)

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Water in a Changing World

Experimental watershed provides new insights, rich educational experience

Six years and about 4,000 water samples later, an outdoor experimental watershed laboratory established by University of Delaware faculty members Shreeram Inamdar and Delphis Levia at Fair Hill, Md., is now producing valuable data and novel insights into how water and chemicals move through the forest canopy, soils and watersheds, and how future climate change may impact or alter such responses.

Inamdar, associate professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, has investigated the role of soils, streams, and watersheds in leaching water and nutrients, while Levia, professor in the Department of Geography, has studied the interactions of atmosphere and the forest canopy in leaching water and nutrients. Together, they have provided a complete picture of watershed hydrology and biogeochemistry. (more…)

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NSF Announces Major Awards for Biodiversity Research, WHOI Scientists Selected

The 1977 discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystems that obtain energy through chemosynthesis rather than photosynthesis greatly expanded the perception of life on Earth. However, an understanding of their underlying microbiology and biogeochemistry still remains elusive.

A newly funded project, one of several major awards announced by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Dimensions in Biodiversity research program, stands to change that through a multi-disciplinary, international collaborative research effort led by Associate Scientist Stefan Sievert of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. (more…)

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‘Hot-Bunking’ Bacterium Recycles Iron to Boost Ocean Metabolism

In the vast ocean where an essential nutrient—iron—is scarce, a marine bacterium that launches the ocean food web survives by using a remarkable biochemical trick: It recycles iron.

By day, it uses iron in enzymes for photosynthesis to make carbohydrates; then by night, it appears to reuse the same iron in different enzymes to produce organic nitrogen for proteins. (more…)

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