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. 52, No. 1, Summer

A Luxury-Laden Shipwreck from 65 B.C.: Marine Archaeologists Return to Titanic of Ancient World'
Scientists returned in 2015 and 2016 to the wreck of a 180-foot ship that sank off the Greek island of Antikythera around 65 B.C., and recovered luxury items that included a bronze leg of a couch, remains of a bone flute, fine glassware, ceramics,...
A New Eye on Deep-Sea Fisheries: A Vehicle Called HabCam Offers Seafloor Photomosaics
Imagine that officials charged with setting deer-hunting limits had to assess the herd's abundance by flying over forests at night. That's a little like what the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) is up against to set fishing quotas for deep-sea...
A New Whale Species Is Discovered in the Wild: A Surprising Population Dwells off Madagascar
Scientists have discovered a thriving population of Omura's whales--a species that hadn't even been identified until 2003 and had never before been documented in the wild. Omura's whales were misidentified as similar-looking Bryde's whales until...
As Bay Warms, Harmful Algae Bloom: Volunteer Network Provides Crucial Data
Warming coastal waters off southern Massachusetts are worsening the effects of pollution from septic systems, wastewater treatment plants, and fertilizer runoff--and causing a rise in harmful algal blooms. Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic...
A Slithery Ocean Mystery: Scientists Gain Grasp on Eels' Epic Migration
One sentence in a New York Times article caught Larry Pratt's eye and set the scientific investigation in motion. The story was about fishermen harvesting juvenile eels in coastal waters of the Gulf of Maine and selling them for more than $2,500...
Attracted to Magnetics: A Conversation with WHOI Geologist Maurice Tivey
Maurice Tivey has probably endured more than a few bad puns, like the one in our headline, after he tells people what he does for a living. A geologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Tivey specializes in the magnetic properties of...
Can Animals Live without Oxygen? or Is It an Invasion of 'Body Snatchers?
In 2010, a research team garnered headlines when it published evidence of finding the first animals living in oxygen-free conditions at the bottom of the sea. But a new study led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists proposes an...
Crabs Swarm on the Seafloor: Life Turns Up in Curious Places in the Ocean
Expeditions to the tropics and Antarctica have turned up crab populations--for better or worse--in unexpected parts of the globe. At the Hannibal Bank Seamount, an 1,180-foot-high undersea mountain off Pananas Pacific, a 2015 expedition led by Woods...
Illuminating an Unexplored Undersea Universe: Video Plankton Recorder Unveils Multitudes of Unseen Life
Twenty-five years ago, the Hubble Telescope was launched to look out to the vast darkness of outer space. It captured thousands of images of previously unknown stars, galaxies, and clouds of matter, literally expanding the boundaries of human vision...
Let There Be Laser Light: Laser Spectroscopy Could Illuminate Key Environmental Gases
Earth's warming climate is poised to cause changes on our planet. In the Arctic, permafrost has begun to thaw, releasing methane, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. On the seafloor, warmer ocean temperatures threaten to thaw solid...
Life Dwells Deep within Earth's Crust: What's Living There and How?
Aboard a drillship in the Indian Ocean, geologists pursued their mission to bore a hole thousands of feet through the seafloor to reach the Moho, the mysterious and never-before-penetrated boundary between Earth's crust and underlying mantle. For microbiologist...
Mummified Microbes: Life Thrives in Niches Deep below the Seafloor
Scientists have found evidence that microbes can thrive deep below the seafloor--sustained by chemicals produced by reactions between seawater and rocks in Earth's mantle. It's difficult to gain direct access to the mantle, but a team led by Woods...
Our Ship Comes In: Research Vessel Neil Armstrong Joins WHOI Fleet
I woke up the first night out of Anacortes, Washington, when the ship dropped out from under me and I levitated off my bunk. Then came the sound of shuffleboard in the conference room one deck above. The only trouble was, there's no shuffleboard on...
PlankZooka & SUPR-REMUS: Scientists Develop New Ways to Sample Ocean's Tiny Critters
Much of marine life begins as microscopic larvae--so tiny, delicate, and scattered in hard-to-reach parts of ocean that scientists have had a tough time illuminating this fundamental stage of life in the ocean. To see what's out there, scientists...
Shark Tales: Satellite Tags Reveal Hidden World of Oceans Largest Fish
Like many of his fellow millennial, Camrin Braun often starts his day by going online to see what his friends are up to. But instead of checking in on Twitter or Facebook, he's tracking updates from blue and mako sharks swimming in the middle of the...
Signs of Big Changes in the Arctic: A Once-Predictable System Shifts out of Balance
For at least half a century and probably longer, the climate in the Arctic has run like a clock. As reliably as a pendulum, it has oscillated every five to seven years between two distinct self-regulating phases that shift the regions winds, ice, currents,...
Tagging a Squishy Squid: It's Hard to Track a Soft-Bodied Marine Organism
For more than a decade, researchers have been tagging large marine mammals such as dolphins and whales to reveal their behavior. But tagging small, soft animals such as jellyfish and squid has posed a big, hard challenge. WHOI biologist Aran Mooney...
Telltale 'Bathtub Rings' Reveal Ancient Rainfall
In a landscape that could almost have been imaged by Mars rovers, Christine Chen examines stony deposits called tufas along the now dried-up shoreline of an ancient lake high atop the Andes Mountains of northern Chile. These tufas hold clues that reveal...
The Quest for the Moho: For More Than a Century, Scientists Have Yearned to Find out What's Going on at the Mysterious Boundary between Earth's Crust and Mantle
Prologue: a Valiant Quest For much of his half-century career, Henry J. B. Dick has been on a quest to reach a mysterious line several miles beneath the seafloor with a curious name: the Moho. The Moho is widely believed to be the boundary between...
Warming Ocean Drove Catastrophic Australian Floods: Higher Sea-Surface Temperatures Fuel More Evaporation and Rainfall
Extreme rainfall in Australia's northeast state of Queensland led to devastating floods in 2010 and 2011 that killed 35 people and caused more than $2 billion in damages. In a rare event, a large low-lying lake system in the country's interior called...
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