Waves, Satellites, and an Oceanographer at Sea: Annual Review of Marine Science Volume 10

Browse the Annual Review of Marine Science Volume 10 table of contents.

ma10-wavesThe Fate and Impact of Internal Waves in Nearshore Ecosystems” by C.B. Woodson introduced me to the wonder and science of internal waves.  Like the surface waves most people are accustomed to thinking about, these internal waves also break as they near land and can bring of deep offshore waters into the nearshore environment:

These deeper waters are often colder, lower in oxygen, higher in CO2 concentration (lower pH), and nutrient enriched. Consequently, internal waves can dramatically change the ambient environment, leading to either extreme oxygen (hypoxia) or pH (acidification) events. However, they can also mediate extreme heating events by providing a temporary reprieve from high temperatures. Deep offshore waters can also provide nutrients and food subsidies to nearshore ecosystems. Nutrient-deprived nearshore ecosystems, namely coral reefs, can be highly dependent on such subsidies.

ma-dugdaleRichard Dugdale credits mentoring with influencing his path from electrical engineering to oceanographer in his autobiography “A Biogeochemical Oceanographer at Sea: My Life with Nitrogen and a Nod to Silica” He has a warm writing style and I enjoyed reading about the history of this field through his experiences, especially about the changing technology:

…this field rapidly developed both analytically, starting with the use of stable and radioactive tracers, and computationally, from the use of slide rules to the development of onboard computers with disk drives (with 250 KB of storage!) and the era of smartphones. Also changing has been the mode of communication between oceanographers—from handwritten or mimeographed notes to faxes to the early email and Internet (telemail) used by oceanographers in the 1980s to today’s email and social media. What follows, then, is a biased (biological/chemical) history of a period in which modern oceanography was largely developed and in which I had the great fortune to be a player.

Spaceborne Lidar in the Study of Marine Systems” by Hostetler et al. is one of several articles in this volume that report on the use of satellites in marine research. This article reviews the use of passive color analysis to observe chlorophyll levels among many other topics and looks forward to an upcoming PACE mission which pairs the color observations with new tools:

Satellite passive ocean color observations have vastly improved our understanding of global links between biodiversity, ecosystem structure, and ma10-satsecological and biogeochemical function. However, there are fundamental geophysical properties that simply cannot be characterized with ocean color technology alone. Addressing these issues requires additional tools in space. For example, the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, and Marine Ecosystem (PACE) mission aims to co-deploy a multi-angle polarimeter with a hyperspectral ocean color sensor, with the polarimetry enabling more accurate atmospheric corrections and advanced characterization of ocean particle types. Here, we describe how even greater synergies may be achieved by combining a passive ocean color sensor with an ocean-optimized satellite profiling lidar.

 

The Annual Review of Marine Science, Volume 9

Explore the table of contents for Annual Review of Marine Science Volume 9.

I’d like to advise you to go immediately and read every article in the new volume of the Annual Review of Marine Science, but realistically I know nobody is going to have that kind of time. So the challenge is how to give you a feel for the volume without mentioning every article? I’m going to have to go with what interests me and there are a couple of articles I can point to that pinged higher on my radar.

ma9-fukushimaStarting with the big story – Buesseler et al.’s “Fukushima Daiichi–Derived Radionuclides in the Ocean: Transport, Fate, and Impacts.” I followed the Fukushima disaster pretty closely at the time, and have even read some follow-up articles afterward, but somehow I managed to avoid thinking about the effects of all that radiation on the water. This article does a great job of laying out the timeline of the disaster and following the ways the radiation made it into the surrounding water.

There are four major sources of FDNPP – derived radionuclides to the environment (Figure 1). The largest and earliest source was the initial venting and explosive releases of gases and volatile radionuclides to the atmosphere, which led to fallout on both land and the ocean. Atmospheric fallout peaked around March 15; transport models suggested that more than 80% of the fallout was on the ocean surface, with the highest deposition in coastal waters near the FDNPPs, although there are no atmospheric fallout data over the ocean to measure this directly. Subsequent to the atmospheric fallout was the somewhat smaller direct discharge of contaminated material to the ocean during emergency cooling efforts at the FDNPPs that resulted in runoff over land, enhanced flow of contaminated groundwater, and stagnant water leakage from the basement of the reactor buildings into the ocean. This secondary release process peaked around April 6, 2011….

Next, I recommend a somewhat lighter subject, Malanotte-Rizzoli’s “Venice and I: How a City Can Determine the Fate of a Career.” When I consider our autobiographies, I often think about how one decision can influence an entire career. Here we have a scientist whose sees her career as being shaped by one city:

Apart from sections obviously focused on the scientific milestones of my career, what else should I write about myself? Should I focus on being a female scientist in the late 1960s in a fully male‐dominated world? Should I focus on comparing the academic and research environments in the United States and Italy and what they would offer to a woman at the beginning of her career?….Then a simple fact struck me: The reason I moved from theoretical physics to physical oceanography at the beginning of my career was simply the city in which I grew up—Venice. Venice was the cornerstone of my career at the beginning and has again become a major cornerstone in recent years.

Finally, I can’t leave out Law’s article “Plastics in the Marine Environment” because it’s too important. This article does an excellent job of laying out the questions about plastics in the ocean and providing some groundwork for the answers:

Ultimately, stakeholders and policymakers want to know how big the problem is, how widespread the harm is, and what the best prevention or mitigation strategies are. Scientific inquiry into these questions is not new, but systematic study of the sources, pathways, transformations, impacts, and sinks of plastics in the marine environment has rapidly accelerated only in the last decade.

 

Suzanne K. Moses is Annual Reviews’ Senior Electronic Content Coordinator. For 15+ years, she has played a central role in the publication of Annual Reviews’ online articles. Not a single page is posted online without first being proofed and quality checked by Suzanne.

Our Microbial Partners

Congratulations to Ed Yong on his new book, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, in which he explores the microbes that live and multiply all over humans and other animals, helping us thrive and shaping our behavior.

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While our view of microbes is still heavily skewed by the germ theory of disease, which paints them solely as pathogens, recent research has shown that an estimated 50% of the cells we carry around are microbial in nature, and only a fraction of these actually make us ill.

In fact, each animal is an ecosystem and our individual microbiomes play an essential role in keeping us healthy. They help us evolve, break down nutrients from the food we eat so we can better assimilate them, teach our immune system how to defend us from disease, and favor brain development, among other things. Scientists even found that germ-free mice exhibited autism-like behavior, and that probiotic therapies can have positive effects on depression and anxiety.

Yong cited seven of our articles in his book, all of which you can access for free for the next 30 days

The Influence of Milk Oligosaccharides on Microbiota of Infants: Opportunities for FormulasAnnual Review of Food Science and Technology
Biofilms and Marine Invertebrate Larvae: What Bacteria Produce That Larvae Use to Choose Settlement SitesAnnual Review of Marine Science
The Microbiome in Infectious Disease and InflammationAnnual Review of Immunology
Ecological Physiology of Diet and Digestive SystemsAnnual Review of Physiology
Vaginal Microbiome: Rethinking Health and DiseaseAnnual Review of Microbiology
Human Milk Glycans Protect Infants Against Enteric PathogensAnnual Review of Nutrition
The Human Gut Microbiome: Ecology and Recent Evolutionary ChangeAnnual Review of Microbiology

For more, listen to Yong discussing his book with Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross on August 18, 2016.