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Ocean Research

2015:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
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December 2015 Issue

Biodiversity Loss in
Antarctic Peninsula

Melting glaciers are causing a loss of species diversity among benthos (bottom-dwelling organisms) in the coastal waters off the Antarctic Peninsula, impacting an entire seafloor ecosystem. This has been verified in the course of repeated research dives. The scientists believe increased levels of suspended sediment in the water to be the cause of the dwindling biodiversity. This occurs when the effects of global warming lead glaciers near the coast to begin melting, as a result of which large quantities of sediment are carried into the seawater.

Researchers at Dallmann Laboratory are mapping and analyzing the benthos in Potter Cove, located on King George Island off the western Antarctic Peninsula. Here the Alfred Wegener Institute and the Argentine Antarctic Institute operate Dallmann Laboratory as part of the Argentinian Carlini Station. Research concerning benthic flora and fauna has been part of the laboratory’s long-term monitoring program for more than two decades.

Combining observations, ecological research on important Antarctic species and mathematical modeling allows forecasting of the changes to the ecosystem in future scenarios.


Commercial Diving Course
For Subsea Engineering M.S.

The Underwater Centre is working with Robert Gordon University (RGU)’s School of Engineering to incorporate a commercial diving familiarization course as part of the recently introduced M.S. in subsea engineering one-year, full-time course.

The Centre will deliver theoretical sessions covering diving physics, diving physiology, gases and diving systems, and diving regulations using the extensive facilities and subsea equipment available in Fort William, Scotland.

The master’s in subsea engineering is aimed at engineers who already have some relevant offshore oil and gas experience and high-caliber graduates who wish to enhance their employability in the subsea industry.


Neil Armstrong Makes
First Port of Call

California welcomed the most recent addition to the U.S. academic research fleet, the Neil Armstrong, as it made its first port of call in San Francisco November 7. The 238-ft., state-of-the-art ship made its way down the West Coast from Anacortes, Washington, where it was built.

The Neil Armstrong is owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

On November 10, the ship was to continue its transit to the U.S. East Coast, passing through the Panama Canal for scheduled arrival in the Southeast U.S. in December at a port and shipyard to be determined.

One of only seven large research vessels in the U.S. academic research fleet, this unique vessel will be equipped to support advanced mapping, sampling and exploration of the global ocean in a range of conditions and with diverse mission requirements.
After completing a shipyard period in late 2015 and 2016, the ship will begin a series of cruises to assess and verify its scientific capabilities. In the spring of 2016, it will begin active duty with cruises to support retrieval and deployment of instruments that are part of the Ocean Observatories Initiative and to conduct physical oceanographic studies of regions of the North Atlantic that are critical to Earth’s climate system.



Science Fellowship
For Coral Research

University of Delaware alumnus Julie N. Meyer has been named a 2015 recipient of the L’Oreal USA For Women in Science Fellowship for her research on the role of microbial interactions in the health and stability of coral reefs.

Candidates were selected based on intellectual merit, research potential, scientific excellence and commitment to encouraging women in science.

Meyer, who graduated with her doctoral degree in marine biosciences in 2009, is currently a postdoctoral scientist in marine microbiology at the University of Florida. She was one of five female scientists selected for this honor, which includes $60,000 to help advance their research.

Meyer’s research focuses on black band disease, which affects many species of reef-building corals, specifically through tissue degradation.


SUT-Houston Gives
Scholarships, Awards

The Houston Chapter of the Society for Underwater Technology (SUT-Houston) gave 10 college students $3,000 each in scholarships for their outstanding academic achievements in engineering.

One of SUT’s main goals is to help develop the future generations of subsea engineers so that they may become industry leaders.

SUT-Houston also gave five companies and individuals SUT Global Awards recognizing recipients for their generous support of SUT-Houston and their outstanding commitment to furthering educational programs for subsea engineers and technologists.


NOC Study on Storms
And Marine Processes

A study by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is the first that has linked storms and marine productivity in the northern North Atlantic, with the help of robotic gliders.

Autumn storms help the ocean absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide and stimulate marine life by stirring up the nutrients that feed blooms of tiny marine plants. These phytoplankton play a key role in moving carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the deep ocean, as well as forming the base of the marine food web. To fuel their growth they absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide and nutrients from the top 100 m of the ocean. This depletes the upper ocean of nutrients. Understanding the processes of replenishment has preoccupied oceanographers for generations, partly because of suggestions that global environmental change might suppress it.

Storms drive turbulence in the ocean causing nutrients to well up. This process can result in up to a tenfold increase in nutrient concentrations in the surface layers of the ocean during a storm. Scientists measured a 50 percent rise in the concentration of chlorophyll, which suggests higher phytoplankton numbers.

Although storms can promote phytoplankton blooms in autumn, in spring the situation is reversed.



2015:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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Sea Technology is read worldwide in more than 110 countries by management, engineers, scientists and technical personnel working in industry, government and educational research institutions. Readers are involved with oceanographic research, fisheries management, offshore oil and gas exploration and production, undersea defense including antisubmarine warfare, ocean mining and commercial diving.