World Oceans Day, anchored on the 8th of June, is afloat! Organised by the United Nations, it’s ‘a day for humanity to celebrate the ocean’ and reflate efforts to conserve the briny deep. Home to over half of all life on Earth and producing 50–80% of the world’s oxygen, almost two-thirds of our blue planet is submerged under the ocean – but pollution, overfishing, and global warming are capsizing the delicate balance of aquatic ecosystems that live in this barnacled expanse. This year, join in the collective efforts to #RevitalizeTheOcean: dive into our special roundup below to embark on seven seas voyage of discovery.
Few can argue that our planet is not warming, and there is strong scientific evidence that links increased global surface temperatures with increased concentrations of atmospheric carbon. The research of Professor Richard Williams, a Professor of Ocean Sciences at the University of Liverpool, and Dr Phil Goodwin, a Lecturer in Ocean and Climate Sciences at the University of Southampton, aims to understand how much warmer the planet could become if carbon continues to be released to the atmosphere. They have recently been awarded a UK Research Council grant to investigate the controlling mechanisms associated with surface warming due to ocean heat and carbon uptake.
Dr Hannes Baumann is Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Here, he leads the Evolutionary Fish Ecology lab that investigates how fish populations adapt to natural variability in their environment, and how they respond to unfolding changes in acidity, oxygen levels and temperature in our oceans and coastal waters. The research involves experimental, field, and modelling approaches to study these effects with the ultimate goal of understanding the vulnerability and potential for adaptation of coastal fish to the combined consequences of marine climate change.
Internal waves represent a key mechanism of energy transfer within our oceans and are an important, albeit often unresolved, component in global climate models. However, they have proven to be challenging to observe in the field and difficult to simulate. Together with skilled collaborators, Professor Peter Diamessis, from the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University, has developed a model to simulate how a particular highly nonlinear class of these waves, internal solitary waves, propagate into progressively shallower waters and adapt their waveform driving the formation of turbulence inside the wave.