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First study of dispersants in Gulf spill suggests a prolonged deepwater...

To combat last year's Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nearly 800,000 gallons of chemical dispersant were injected directly into the oil and gas flow coming out of the wellhead nearly one mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, as scientists begin to ass...

Efficient phosphorus use by phytoplankton

Rapid turnover and remodelling of lipid membranes could help phytoplankton cope with nutrient scarcity in the open ocean. A team led by Patrick Martin of the National Oceanography Centre has shown that a species of planktonic marine alga can rapi...

Novel ocean-crust mechanism could affect world’s carbon budget

The Earth is constantly manufacturing new crust, spewing molten magma up along undersea ridges at the boundaries of tectonic plates. The process is critical to the planet's metabolism, including the cycle of underwater life and the delicate balance ...

Will Ocean Fertilization To Remove Carbon Dioxide from the Atmosphere Work?

Reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas linked to global warming, by fertilizing the oceans with iron may not be as attractive a solution as once thought according to a report in Science magazine. In their observations released on April 4, Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Philip Boyd of the University of Otago in New Zealand report that iron fertilization as a means to "lock up" carbon in the oceans should be explored but note that the most basic question of "Will it work?" needs to be addressed before such a strategy is undertaken on a commercial scale.

Century-Long Drought Linked to Collapse of Mayan Civilization

New analysis of sediment samples from the southern Caribbean indicate that severe droughts occurred at the same time as the known collapse of the Mayan civilization. In a study in the March 14 issue of the journal Science, researchers report that sediments from the Cariaco Basin in northern Venezuela clearly show a dry spell in the Caribbean region starting in the seventh century and lasting for more than 200 years.

Methane in Seafloor Released During Periods of Rapid Climate Warming

Scientists have found new evidence indicating that during periods of rapid climate warming methane gas has been released periodically from the seafloor in intense eruptions. In a study published in the current issue of the journal Science, Kai-Uwe Hinrichs and colleagues Laura Hmelo and Sean Sylva of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) provide a direct link between methane reservoirs in coastal marine sediments and the global carbon cycle, an indicator of global warming and cooling.

European Seal Plague May Threaten Population Survival

Time to find zee cureThe 2002 outbreak of phocine distemper virus, or PDV, in European harbor seals may reduce the population by more than half and that future outbreaks with similar characteristics would significantly increase the risk of population declines. Their findings are the first epidemiological data reported on the 2002 outbreak, which is still underway, and may help predict the recurrence of the outbreaks and the impact on the long-term growth and survival of the European harbor seal population.

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