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Chemistry

This category contains 60 posts

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.

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?

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?

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 the chemistry of our world than we had previously thought. In this study, researchers traveled the world collecting air and water samples from three different ocean basins to learn more about the unknown chemical consequences of burning fossil fuels on a massive scale.

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.

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 mercury content in samples of hair from bears in Western Hudson Bay.

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 Puget Sound.

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.

Fueling Science with Science (& hydrothermal fluid)

Wouldn’t it be wicked cool if scientists could overcome the obstacle of power limitation by plugging their instruments directly into the sea floor? Now they can by using thermoelectric converters to take advantage of the Seebeck effect at hydrothermal vent fields!

Whale earwax: a hearing aid & time capsule

How is whale earwax essential to whales, and how can it help whale conservation? Read more to find out!

Microplastics for Dinner

Please Pass the Plastic

Tiny shards and fibers of plastic termed “microplastics” accumulate in seafood with unknown consequences for human health. Now, they’re turning up in a product even more difficult to avoid: Researchers in Shanghai recently found microplastics in table salts bought from supermarkets across China.

What is the source of organic molecules in Von Damm vent fluids?

The origin of life is with out a doubt a fascinating topic of discussion and debate, intensified by the fact that there is no definitive answer (yet). A group of WHOI scientists present a mechanism and environment where organic compounds can be formed from inorganic ones via abiotic production. The plausibility of their suggestion is strengthened by the present day occurrence of said mechanisms in hot spreading centers where ocean plates are formed at the bottom of the ocean.

Tiny ocean creatures play a big role in the global fate of toxic pollutants

Scientists on the “biggest ever expedition on global change” studied the tiniest creatures in the ocean to learn about their role in accumulating and distributing toxic pollutants in the world’s oceans.

Carbon sinks: Diatoms in the deep sea

Fast-sinking phytoplankton particles deliver carbon from the surface to the deep ocean. Are plankton cells still able to survive when they sink to the deep ocean? If so, how long may they survive without any sunlight?

Path of Corrosion: How Scientists Modeled Ancient Sea-Floor Acidity

Today, we see a rapid release of CO2 to the atmosphere associated with climate change. The same was true 55 million years ago during the PETM, a time when – sediment records show – there was pervasive carbonate dissolution along the sea floor. But it was not the same pattern everywhere. Scientists attempt to model these spatial varieties and explain what occurred.

The Secret’s in the Slime

Scientists have recently discovered that the hagfish’s notorious slime has uses beyond defense: it also mediates uptake of toxins through the hagfish’s skin.

Macrobioerosion rates and what they mean for reefs

Today macrobioerosion is a good thing that provides cement for the foundation of reef systems. So more macrobioerosion could mean more reefs, right? No! Perhaps too much of a good thing could have dire consequences for the future of the calcium carbonate budget.

Years later, Gulf of Mexico sediment chemistry still feeling the effects of Deepwater Horizon

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest accidental oil spill in US waters. Many scientists are working hard to monitor the Gulf for signs of lasting impact and a study recently accepted into Deep-Sea Research Part II has shown unexpected changes in sediment chemistry that has persisted for many years after the event.

Catfish sharks on catnip? Nope, just ocean acidification

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that ocean acidification may cause hyperactivity in catfish sharks.

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