protect the oceans

Here, Open Access Government follows recent research efforts of the Ocean Sciences Division of the National Science Foundation.

The Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) is part of the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) and supports research, infrastructure and education to advance understanding of all aspects of the world’s oceans and ocean basins , including their interactions with humans and the integrated Earth. system. OCE supports and promotes collaboration and facilitates the development of a diverse scientific and educational community, both nationally and internationally. The Division works with the US academic ocean science community to direct funding toward advancing the frontiers of knowledge, developing the next generation of researchers, and improving public understanding of ocean science, thereby responding to good many of America’s most pressing challenges for Earth processes.

There are a number of recent examples of this research that has made tremendous progress in the division, one being the discovery that Hawaiian corals are driven by co-evolution, which drastically alters initial concerns about the capacity of coral reef ecosystems to respond to change. The collapse of coral reef ecosystems around the world has been significant over the years, as climate change becomes a growing threat, which has raised fears that corals may not be able to adapt. to these changing climatic conditions. However, this accidental discovery said otherwise. “Unexpectedly, we found evidence that these corals have adapted and diverged very recently over depth and distance from shore,” says Zac Forsman, lead author of the study. “The algae symbionts and microbes were also diverge, implying that co-evolution is involved. It is as if we caught them in the act of adaptation and speciation.

Additionally, in October 2020, for the first time, NSF-funded researchers mapped biological diversity in marine sediments, one of the world’s largest Earth biomes. Although marine sediments cover 70% of the Earth’s surface, little was known about its global patterns of microbial diversity. However, a team of researchers from the University of Rhode Island, Japan Agency for Marine and Terrestrial Science and Technology, University of Hyogo, University of Kochi and University of Bremen found new answers – that the microbial diversity under the seabed is as in fact just as rich as on the surface of the Earth.

In the summer of 2020, the United States experienced a series of dangerous heat waves that broke records, and now in the ocean, conditions of extreme warming are also increasingly frequent and intense. Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution studied heat waves and ocean currents along the edge of the continental shelf to better understand the effects on regional ocean circulation and marine life from coast to coast. This study was published in an NSF-funded article and provides valuable insight into the relationship between a cold water current (the Mid-Atlantic Bight Shelfbreak jet) and changing sea temperatures. It compiles 25 years of data oceanographic data collected by the cargo ship Oleander, and shows that the Shelfbreak Jet has slowed overall by around 10% since the start of data collection in 1992. This slowdown in the jet is consistent with the long-term warming of the continental shelf. waters. “NSF has funded the collection of data from the commercial ship Oleander for decades, primarily as a very economical way to observe and understand basin-wide features like the Gulf Stream, only to find out later it’s also a treasure trove of data for what’s been going on just off our shores, ”said Mete Uz, program director in the Division of Ocean Sciences at NSF.

Another of OCE’s many programs is the Marine Geology and Geophysics (MG&G) program which supports research on all aspects of the geology and geophysics of current ocean basins and margins, as well as those of the Great Lakes, with mission to advance cutting-edge research and innovative ideas. Researchers can submit proposals at any time, with no deadline, and the program supports science which includes the following to name a few:

• Marine geohazards.

• Marine sedimentology.

• Structure, composition, tectonics and evolution of the oceanic lithosphere.

• Geochemical indicators of life operating under the seabed.

It is clear that the Division of Ocean Sciences is working hard to participate in national and international research, supporting marine life everywhere and solving the mysteries of the ocean.

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