Eric Orenstein

Eric Orenstein has written 22 posts for oceanbites

The Once and Future Ocean

A newly collected sediment core from the Labrador Current gave Dr. Harunur Rashid a glimpse of the ancient ocean. What he saw might help inform our predictions of the future climate.

Mucus flux and other amazing discoveries with underwater cameras

Scientists have been taking pictures underwater since the turn of the 19th century. But only recently have researchers and engineers started designing special systems to answer some of the most vexing questions in oceanography. Just last week, a group from MBARI published their findings from one such instrument about zooplankton mucus.

Put your cilia in the air and wave ‘em like you just don’t care

A new study out of Woods Hole sheds some light on how marine phytoplankton enhance their ability to take up nutrients. Using fancy cameras and powerful models, the researchers suggest that short, rapid swimming bursts allow organisms to escape to greener pastures.

Dawn of the age of Aquarius…total alkalinity measurements

While not as exciting as the new era of peace predicted by 5th Dimension, it is pretty cool that scientists can measure ocean chemistry from space. The marvels of modern technology, amiright?

Senators propose bill to ensure independence of federal researchers

Last week, a group of Senators introduced legislation that aims to preserve the independence of U.S. government scientists. The Scientific Integrity Act instructs executive branch administrators to implement policies to ensure that data and results be disseminated in a timely and open manner. The bill, if enacted, would help separate the government’s scientific output from partisan politics.

Studying plankton from an atmospheric satellite

Scientists found a way to repurpose data from an atmospheric satellite to study the tiny creatures at the base of most ocean food webs. The instrument, originally designed to study aerosols, allowed researchers to build the most complete record of polar plankton activity ever assembled.

Sub sea ice technology aims to expand Arctic plankton surveys

A German research team tested out three devices for studying plankton in Arctic sea ice. These new methods might allow scientists to expand Arctic primary production studies and yield new insight into these important, understudied ecosystems.

The ocean is my cake

Or, to be more thematically appropriate, pie. Pumpkin pie. Because, if we’re being honest, pumpkin pie is the superior Thanksgiving pie. [Editor’s note: This is merely the author’s opinion. Clearly, chocolate pudding pie is the superior Thanksgiving pie]

Ghost ships, adorable flotsam, and measuring surface currents

The ocean is teeming with floating objects. Some of them are creepy, rusted, abandoned boats. Others are cute little bath toys. All are nerdy Halloween costumes waiting to happen! Not to mention their utility as oceanographic tools to learn about currents.

The physics of tiny jellyfish hunting

Tiny jellyfish live, swim, and eat in a viscous environment. How they capture their food is something of a mystery. A University of Oregon group took advantage of several fancy imaging techniques to shed some light on the matter.

The dark side of the…cephalopod eye?

Cephalopods are among the most colorful creatures in the ocean but only see in black and white. A father/son team recently proposed a new theory explaining how these organisms might sense and understand color. Besides explaining a decades old mystery, their idea might force us to reconsider what it means to see in color.

Pluto perhaps not so icy after all

Pluto, the ex-planet at the far reaches of our solar system, recently had a nice photo op as a NASA vehicle drifted by. The pictures gave an unprecedented view of the object and, perhaps, point to the presence liquid water.

Paleo-oceanography from satellite data reveal ancient tsunamis…on Mars?!

Extraplanetary tsunamis. Need I say more?

Double, double methane and trouble: Quantifying natural and man-made methane seeps

Researchers from Texas A&M and Woods Hole tested out a new, 3D camera system designed to look at deep sea methane seeps. The high resolution, high frame rate videos yielded new insights into bubble dynamics that could influence how we respond to oil and gas spills.

Coral! At The Disco: Using fluorescence (and computer science) to label reef data

A group of scientists and engineers have leveraged two emerging technologies to develop a new system for studying coral in their natural habitat. The team dramatically improved automatic labeling of coral images by combining a novel camera set up with powerful machine learning techniques. The result is fast, accurate, and has the potential to change how coral ecologists do their research.

Arctic could become more biologically productive as ice melts

As Arctic sea-ice melts away, organisms will be exposed to more light and, potentially, more nutrients. Recent model work suggests that this combination will result in a more biologically active Arctic. But the net result might not be as positive as you think.

One person’s noise, is another person’s data

Measuring the heat content of deep ocean waters is critical to understanding how our global climate system works. It is also very difficult to do on a large scale. A group at the University of Georgia recently proposed a new technique to take the temperature of the deep ocean using only ambient noise and passive hydrophones.

Ringing in the New Year

Join us as we “Ring in the New Year” with a series of posts about sound in the ocean. Learn about the neat things sound does in the sea and how scientists use it to learn about all kinds of interesting phenomena.

Kelp: It’s whats for dinner (or where you live)

Kelp is a kind of large algae that supports diverse ecosystems. These kelp forests may start receding as a result of ocean warming. How the organisms that live in these forests respond to the warmer environment and damaged kelp may determine how quickly that happens.

If it you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kelp forest!

Kelp is a kind of algae that supports diverse ecosystems in the nearshore ocean. As the climate and ocean warms, however, these kelp could begin to die off. How, when, and why the kelp die has important consequences for species diversity that will affect ecosystem and fisheries management.

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