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Chemistry

This category contains 72 posts

Superoxide: A Super Sink of Ocean Oxygen

Ever wondered how oxygen gets depleted in the ocean? A new study suggests that a significant fraction is transformed into superoxide – an intriguing molecule that biologists love to hate. Amanda SemlerI’m a PhD candidate in Earth System Science at Stanford University, and I study how microbes in deep ocean sediments produce and consume greenhouse […]

Deep Breathing Underwater

The Labrador Sea is one of the lungs of the ocean. A new study finds that it is taking an even deeper breath than expected—making it more vulnerable to climate change than thought. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I […]

A High-Flying Aquatic Robot

Inspired by the flying squid, researchers have built a robot that can launch itself from the water surface using water-reactive fuel. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I have a multi-disciplinary background in physics and oceanography (and some engineering), and […]

SURFO SPECIAL: Flame retardants: Not as friendly as we like to think

Jamillez Olmo Classen is a senior at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, majoring in Technology in Industrial Chemical Process. This summer, she worked with Dr. Rainer Lohmann (advisor) and Dr. Jitka Becanova (mentor)  studying harmful chemicals and how to properly measure their concentrations in our water supply. Read on below to learn about her work! […]

The HyperDiver: A New, (Hyper-) Intelligent Way to Map the Ocean

Coral reefs are facing unprecedented change. A new high-tech, diver-operated imaging system promises to be the future of coral reef monitoring. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I have a multi-disciplinary background in physics and oceanography (and some engineering), and […]

Pteropods are Ptough: How one of the ocean’s most fragile creatures may cope with climate change

Climate change, due to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning, is arguably the most important issue facing our planet. One of the most detrimental changes already in progress is the shifting pH of the world’s oceans, known as ocean acidification. Although the speed with which the planet is changing does not […]

Autonomous Under-ICE Vehicles

Seafloor exploration in areas of thick ice coverage has many obstacles. With careful planning and modifaction of AUV design and recovery methods, explorers are able to map and study the Gakkel Spreading Ridge 4000 meters below the thick Arctic Ice Pack. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I’m a marine research […]

Deep Iron: Good for the Ocean’s Bones

: Iron isn’t just good for your body – it’s good for the ocean, too. While many studies focus on external sources of iron to the global ocean, Fitzsimmons et al. investigated iron sources coming from deep hydrothermal vents along midocean ridges, and how they might disperse iron and other metals vast distances through the […]

Out of sight, but not out of mind: human created chemicals persist deep in the Arctic Ocean  

Human created chemicals can be “too good” at their job, remaining persistent and/or toxic in the environment, well beyond the life span of their commercial use. Read on to explore how DDT was found at depths up to 2500 m in the Arctic Ocean by a team from Stockholm University. Anna RobuckI am a third […]

Fireproofing the Arctic

Chemicals that are stable enough for our everyday use are often remarkably stable in the natural environment as well. This poses a problem because these chemicals can travel far from sources and end up in pristine environments like the Arctic. In the study described here, researchers from Germany and China joined forces to measure one […]

After the Phase Out: Can Banning Toxic Chemicals Rescue Pilot Whales?

When it comes to persistent pollutants, all roads lead to the ocean. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) is a chemical that has recently gained attention due to its toxic effects and widespread presence in drinking water. PFOS from human products has also become widespread in ocean waters and the creatures who live in them. PFOS was banned […]

Pollutants produced by poriferans: using genetics to fill in blanks about sponge chemical production

Although its easy to mistake a sponge for a furry looking rock, these invertebrates and the microbes that inhabit them have some surprising chemical abilities. Anna RobuckI am a third year PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in the Lohmann Lab. My current research interests include environmental chemistry, water […]

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? Eric OrensteinEric is a PhD student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His research in the Jaffe Laboratory for Underwater Imaging focuses on […]

The Bipolar See-Saw: Dansgaard-Oeschger Events and the Antarctic Climate

Within large timescales of glacial and interglacial periods, mini, rapid climate shifts may occur thanks to oceanic circulation processes and balancing global ocean budgets. The events in question originate in the North Atlantic; but, how do they affect the Antarctic? Zoe GentesZoe has an M.S. in Oceanography and a B.S. in Geologic Oceanography from URI, […]

Eat Organic at Your Local Gyre Margin

Paper: Letscher, Robert T., et al. 2016. Nutrient budgets in the subtropical ocean gyres dominated by lateral transport. Nature Geoscience, v.9: 815–819 If you were a marine organism looking for some grub, where could you find something nutritious? Nutrients in the ocean accumulate in the bodies of living things, which tend to sink to deeper waters […]

Beyond CO2: Chemical Consequences of Our Love Affair with Fossil Fuels

Our world relies heavily on the burning of biological materials such as wood or fossil fuels to harness energy. While we all know that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a harmful byproduct of burning fuel, it’s not the only chemical formed during this process. These chemical byproducts may play a bigger and more complex role in […]

Not better together: complex pollutant soup spells trouble for marine phytoplankton

A group of international researchers have found that marine phytoplankton communities are susceptible to impairment from complex mixtures of organic pollutants found in oceanic environments. Anna RobuckI am a third year PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in the Lohmann Lab. My current research interests include environmental chemistry, water […]

What’s in the Hair of a Polar Bear?

The accumulation of toxic methylmercury is a serious threat to wildlife all over the world – especially top predators in polar regions, like polar bears. Young polar bears are often the most vulnerable to detrimental effects of pollutants. To learn more about levels of mercury in polar bear cubs and their mothers, scientists measured total […]

Spawning Under the Influence: Drugs and Toxins Found in Salmon

You may think you’re familiar with the side effects of most common medications, but there are other, hidden side effects occurring beneath the surfaces of our oceans, lakes, and rivers. In this study, researchers brought these side effects to light by measuring a wide range of pharmaceuticals, drugs, and other manmade chemicals, in fish from […]

Lead Pollution in Antarctic Waters: Have We Cleaned Up Our Act?

Researchers traveled to the far reaches of Antarctica to determine whether lead levels there have declined since humans started cleaning up their act by halting lead emissions. They found that global warming might be negating some of the good we’ve done, as melting glaciers could release stored natural and industrial lead into the ocean. Carrie […]

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