Oceanus

This magazine provides research, news and features in oceanography, coastal research, marine life, deep-ocean exploration, ocean technology and policy and the ocean's role in climate.

Articles from Vol. 45, No. 2, August

Abandoned Walrus Pups Found in Arctic
Stepping aboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy to explore the Arctic Ocean, Carin Ashjian expected to ride the sea's winds and swells, not an emotional roller coaster. In spring and summer of 2004, Ashjian and colleagues were investigating the potential...
A Journey to the Ocean's Twilight Zone
Ken BuesselerYou are about to enter another dimension. You're moving into a place of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas; a journey into a wondrous part of the ocean, whose boundaries are 300 to 1,600 feet (100 to 500 meters) below the surface,...
A Laser Light in the Ocean Depths
Researchers studying rocks on Mars or suspicious white powders on the battlefield have a high-tech way to determine a sample's chemical composition without bringing it back to the laboratory. It's known as laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, or LIBS....
A Modest Proposal to Help Lobsters and Lobstermen
Something nagged Dick Allen after three decades of trapping lobsters in southern New England waters, where he and other lobstermen followed government regulations to keep the big ones and throw back the little ones. For years, stocks seemed healthy,...
Building a Computer Model to Forecast Red Tides
The algae Alexandrium fundyense are notorious for producing a toxin that accumulates in shellfish such as clams, mussels, and oysters, leading to paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans. The microscopic plants are naturally distributed in New England...
Engineers Honored for Pioneering Undersea Robot
The engineering team at Woods Hole Oceanographie Institution that built the first fiber-optically cabled deep-sea robot Jason Jr. received the GIobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering award July 14-on the 20th anniversary of Jason Jr.'s historic first...
Gone Fish Assessing
If you think U.S. Census Bureau officials have their hands full locating and counting everyone who lives in the United States, consider the men and women at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service who...
Have Crossbow, Will Travel to Track Down Ocean Devices
When a Neutrally Buoyant Sediment Trap surfaces after a three- to five-day particle-collecting mission in the ocean depths, "only its orange cap is visible, about the size of a 2-liter bottle of Coke," said Jim Valdes, an engineer at WHOI, "a proverbial...
Institution Creates New Office to Encourage Applied Research
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has established a new Office for Applied Oceanography to foster applied research supported by sources beyond traditional governmental agencies. To sustain growth in an era of flat federal funding for basic research,...
Institution Creates New Office to Encourage Applied Research
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has established a new Office for Applied Oceanography to foster applied research supported by sources beyond traditional governmental agencies.To sustain growth in an era of flat federal funding for basic research,...
Into the Mouth of Hell
A journey into the crater of an active volcanoKen Sims peers over the rim of Masaya Volcano and looks 2,000 feet (600 meters) down into the smoking crater lined with rows of jagged rocks that jut up like monstrous teeth. A 16th-century Spanish friar...
Into the Mouth of Hell: A Journey into the Crater of an Active Volcano
Ken Sims peers over the rim of Masaya Volcano and looks 2,000 feet (600 meters) down into the smoking crater lined with rows of jagged rocks that jut up like monstrous teeth. A 16th-century Spanish friar once called it "the mouth of hell." Sweat...
Jason versus the Volcano
Through the camera eyes of the undersea vehicle Jason, scientists were investigating a quietly bubbling pit on the side of a large volcano on the seafloor south of Japan in April. Then the volcano erupted. Jason's cameras captured the pit, 50 feet...
Ken Buesseler: A Journey to the Ocean's Twilight Zone
You are about to enter another dimension. You're moving into a place of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas; a journey into a wondrous part of the ocean, whose boundaries are 300 to 1,600 feet (100 to 500 meters) below the surface, where...
Listening for Telltale Echoes from Fish
In the 1970s, scientists happened upon a curious phenomenon about sound waves in the ocean and swim bladders in fish: Bony fish have gas-filled sacs inside their abdomens called swim bladders, which help them maintain buoyancy in water. When low-frequency...
New Class Helps Grad Students Communicate with the Public
There's a lot of giggling outside Room 304 at Mullen-Hall Elementary School in Falmouth, Mass., as 24 fourth-graders wait for their classroom to be transformed into the deep ocean. They have been warned not to peek inside, where two graduate students...
New Hybrid Deep-Sea Vehicle Is Christened Nereus
Nereus--a mythical god with a fish tail and a man's torso--was chosen in a nationwide contest as the name of a first-of-its-kind, deep-sea vehicle under construction at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The vehicle, known until now as the Hybrid...
New Undersea Camera System Sizes Up Scallop Populations
Part of the fun of fishing is never knowing exactly what might be swimming around beneath you. But that mystery is a major annoyance when it comes to keeping track offish populations.Now, a new undersea camera is bringing light to the pitch-black depths...
Ocean Microscope Reveals Surprises
Towing an underwater video microscope across the Atlantic Ocean, scientists revealed surprising abundances of cyanobacteria that fertilize the oceans with nitrogen. The bacteria may turn out to be "a crucial component" that stimulates the growth of...
Ocean Microscope Reveals Surprises
Towing an underwater video microscope across the Atlantic Ocean, scientists revealed surprising abundances of cyanobacteria that fertilize the oceans with nitrogen. The bacteria may turn out to be "a crucial component" that stimulates the growth of plants...
Robert Gagosian Retires as WHOI President and Director
Robert B. Gagosian retired July 17 as president and director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a position he held for 12 years. James R. Luyten, executive vice president and former director of research, became acting president and director....
Robert Gagosian Retires as WHOI President and Director
Robert B. Gagosian retired July 17 as president and director of Woods Hole Océanographie Institution, a position he held for 12 years. James R. Luyten, executive vice president and former director of research, became acting president and director.A transition...
Robot Swims over Rocky Road Where Trawls Dare Not Go
To survey seafloor populations of rockfish, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has relied on sampling with bottom trawls. The method has inherent limitations."Rockfish live on rocks, and trawls get stuck on rocks," said Elizabeth Clarke, director...
Scientists Find Legions of Legionella Bacteria in the Sea
Salty ocean water can be a nuisance. It's undrinkable, and it corrodes nearly everything it touches. But salt water's inhospitality has always had one benefit: The salt kills microbes, making the ocean a fairly antiseptic environment. Or so we thought....
Scientists Poised to 'Wire' the Ocean
Major initiative will launch networks of ocean observatoriesOceanography is on the verge of a revolution. Instead of sporadic, expeditionary glimpses of the ocean from ships and subs, oceanographers are poised to establish a permanent presence in the...
Scientists Poised to 'Wire' the Ocean: Major Initiative Will Launch Networks of Ocean Observatories
Oceanography is on the verge of a revolution. Instead of sporadic, expeditionary glimpses of the ocean from ships and subs, oceanographers are poised to establish a permanent presence in the ocean. Like the engineers who crafted the interstate highway...
Scientists to Explore Lessons from the Indian Ocean Tsunami
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will convene two special conferences this fall to learn from the devastating 2004 tsunami that left more than 220,000 people dead or missing. In July, another tsunami in the same region killed several hundred people...
Scientists to Explore Lessons from the Indian Ocean Tsunami
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will convene two special conferences this fall to learn from the devastating 2004 tsunami that left more than 220,000 people dead or missing. InJuIy, another tsunami in the same region killed several hundred people...
Swimming in the Rain
Novel untethered vehicle catches 'marine snow' falling through the seaTwilight zones, witch hunts, and cross-bows usually don't find their way into tales about new oceanographie instruments. This story isn't typical, but it does start in the usual way,...
Swimming in the Rain: Novel Untethered Vehicle Catches 'Marine Snow' Falling through the Sea
Twilight zones, witch hunts, and crossbows usually don't find their way into tales about new oceanographic instruments. This story isn't typical, but it does start in the usual way, with oceanographers striving to coax secrets out of inscrutable oceans....
The Chicken and the Tern
Chickens aren't especially delicate or demanding. Ask anyone who keeps them: Chickens eat almost anything. Terns, on the other hand, are quite selective: Winging their way over the wide sea, they eat only fish. So you might think that chickens...
The Oceans Are Filled with Microbes. Some Are Nasty
Every time you swim at the beach, you are surrounded by zillions of bacteria. There is no escaping them: One drop of seawater contains about 1 million bacteria. Of these, upwards of 10,000 are called vibrios, a diverse group of naturally occurring...
Transparent Animals May Play Overlooked Role in the Oceans
Salps don't get much respect. They've been around for millions of years, but hardly anyone even knows they exist. Even many who have heard about these transparent, jellylike creatures consider them a dead end in the ocean food web: They cruise around,...
Voyage Takes Census of Tiny Ocean Animals
Scientists collected more than 1,000 shrimplike creatures, swimming snails and worms, and gelatinous animals, including species never seen before, on a landmark cruise to inventory the ocean's zooplankton. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)...
Voyage Takes Census of Tiny Ocean Animals
Scientists collected more than 1,000 shrimplike creatures, swimming snails and worms, and gelatinous animals, including species never seen before, on a landmark cruise to inventory the ocean's zooplankton.Woods Hole Oceanographie Institution (WHOI) biologist...
What's White, Long-Armed, Shaggy-But Not Abominable?
Biologist Cindy Van Dover routinely finds new, unusual creatures when she dives to unexplored areas of the ocean in the deep-sea submersible Alvin. So she was not particularly fazed when she and biologist Michel Segonzac spotted the 6-inch white crab...