Fiammetta Straneo

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Senior Scientist, Physical Oceanography Department

Scott Doney

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Senior Scientist, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry

April 29, 2012

Getting serious about valuing the ocean

Rashid Sumaila

photo: Daderot

Rashid Sumaila (2009) and his colleagues estimate that damage to the world's oceans from human activity will cost the global economy over 400 billion dollar per year in the next 40 years. They looked at impacts to fishing, tourism, and other economic activity from the top six threats to the ocean: acidification, warming, oxygen depletion, sea level rise, pollution, and the overuse of ocean resources. By putting a dollar value on services that the ocean provides to human, the authors hope to help people understand the risks and spur policy makers to take action to protect the ocean's irreplaceable resources.


October 18, 2010

Census of Marine Life ends

Gretchen Hofmann, Nancy Knowlton, Enric Sala

photo: Larry Madin, WHOI

The Census of Marine Life ended on October 4 after 10 years of work by researchers from 80 nations, including Nancy Knowlton (1999), Enric Sala (2005), and Gretchen Hofmann (2009). The census brought estimates of the total number of marine species from 230,000 to 250,000. Discoveries range from 600-year-old worms to hairy "yeti crabs" living miles below the ocean surface.

September 23, 2010

Saving the world's oceans

Robert Richmond

photo: Zsuzsanna Kilian

A new, unified national ocean policy could "untangle the maze of laws and regulations that currently govern everything from reefs to offshore energy resources" if we manage it properly, says Robert Richmond (2004) in an op-ed. More than 40 newspapers and websites have published the op-ed, from the Miami Herald to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

August 9, 2010

Census paints a picture of ocean life

Nancy Knowlton

photo: thinkpanama

The oceans of Australia and Japan have the greatest diversity of species in the world, according to the latest update from the Census of Marine Life, while the waters most threatened by human activity are the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico – surveyed just before April's oil spill. "The sea today is in trouble," says Nancy Knowlton (1999), head of the Census coral reef project, "…but it remains a wondrous and enriching place, and with care it can become even more so."

July 20, 2010

The state of the ocean

Scott Doney

photo: Jefferson Noguera

In a review of past studies on ocean chemistry, Scott Doney (2004) found four key symptoms of human effects: lifeless low-oxygen zones, accumulating industrial pollution, disruption of plankton photosynthesis, and ocean acidification. Doney calls for a development of "a coordinated observational plan" of the ocean and more research into the cell-level mechanisms behind these symptoms. Ocean acidification, for example, threatens the food web largely by affecting shelled animals' ability to build their shells.

June 25, 2010

Blogging an Arctic expedition

Kevin Arrigo

photo: NASA

NASA's first ocean expedition is plowing through Arctic sea ice to find out how rising temperatures are affecting Earth's coldest ocean and the plants and animals that live there. Kevin Arrigo (2009), the expedition's chief scientist, sums up what spurs the expedition: "We're beginning to understand how the melting of Arctic sea ice is related to climate change. Unfortunately, we know very little about what these changes have in store for Arctic marine life." Many of the 59 researchers are blogging their progress.