UW Today

School of Oceanography


May 10, 2016

UW part of NOAA-led cruise to study West Coast ocean acidification

colored map shwoing the 16 stops

University of Washington students, faculty and staff are part of the fifth West Coast Ocean Acidification Cruise that will investigate changes to ocean chemistry from Baja to British Columbia. The ship left Thursday from San Diego to begin sampling on Mexico’s northern coast. It will stop May 21 at San Francisco’s Exploratorium Pier, then travel…


March 30, 2016

Tracking ‘marine heatwaves’ since 1950 – and how the ‘blob’ stacks up

Picture graph

A tally of Northern Hemisphere marine heatwaves since 1950 shows that prolonged warm periods have recurred regularly in the past, but are being pushed into new territory by climate change.


March 17, 2016

Galapagos lakes reveal tropical Pacific climate since Biblical times

three people on water

University of Washington oceanographers track 2,000 years of El Niño history, showing that it can shift in strength for centuries at a time.


February 11, 2016

Bellingham Bay buoy an opportunity to observe marine waters for Northwest Indian College, world

Preparing to launch the new buoy, named Se’lhaem, in Bellingham Bay.

The Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction, through its education partner the University of Washington, is deploying an oceanographic observing buoy in Bellingham Bay this week that will allow Northwest Indian College students both hands-on experience with the technology as well as the ability to study the data from their computers, through the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems, NANOOS.


August 26, 2015

Lab experiments question popular measure of ancient ocean temperatures

The study looked at Thaumarchaeota archaea, which are found throughout the world's oceans. These single-celled organisms have just one membrane sac that encloses their bodies. This organism, used in the study, was collected from a tropical-water tank at the Seattle Aquarium.

The membranes of sediment-entombed archaea are an increasingly popular way to determine ocean surface temperatures back to the age of the dinosaurs. But new results show that changing oxygen can affect the reading by as much as 21 degrees C.


June 25, 2015

UW researcher helping pinpoint massive harmful algal bloom

researcher looking into microscope

A UW research analyst who monitors harmful algae in Washington state is aboard a federal research vessel surveying a massive bloom that stretches from California up to Canada.


June 15, 2015

Genetic switch lets marine diatoms do less work at higher CO2

green cylinder on black background

Oceanographers found the genetic ‘needles in a haystack’ to gain the first hints at how diatoms — tiny drifting algae that carry out a large part of Earth’s photosynthesis — detect and respond to increasing carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels.


June 4, 2015

Warmer, lower-oxygen oceans will shift marine habitats

shark in the water

Warming temperatures and decreasing levels of dissolved oxygen will act together to create metabolic stress for marine animals. Habitats will shift to places in the ocean where the oxygen supply can meet the animals’ increasing future needs.


May 27, 2015

Invisible helpers of the sea: Marine bacteria boost growth of tiny ocean algae

mosaic made out of different shaped diatoms

Using seawater collected in Seattle, Whidbey Island and other sites, UW oceanographers show that just as with plants on land, a common species of ocean diatom grows faster in the presence of helpful bacteria.


May 19, 2015

UW’s Deborah Kelley publishes atlas of seafloor volcanoes and deep-ocean life

book cover with photo of tall pillars

Oceanographer Deborah Kelley is one of the lead authors of a first-of-its-kind atlas of the deep sea, titled “Discovering the Deep.”


March 12, 2015

Naturally acidic waters of Puget Sound surround UW’s Friday Harbor Labs

photo of dock in sunshine

For more than 100 years, marine biologists at Friday Harbor Laboratories have studied the ecology of everything from tiny marine plants to giant sea stars. Now, as the oceans are undergoing a historic shift in chemistry, the lab is establishing itself as a place to study what that will mean for marine life. And the…


December 9, 2014

Warmer Pacific Ocean could release millions of tons of seafloor methane

graphic of bubbles

Water off Washington’s coast is warming a third of a mile down, where seafloor methane shifts from a frozen solid to a gas. Calculations suggest ocean warming is already releasing significant methane offshore of Alaska to California.


November 7, 2014

Undergrads use sonar to uncover Lake Union shipwrecks

ship image on screen

Undergraduates this week were among the first people to try the latest in seafloor mapping technology — and use it to image a shipwreck on Seattle’s urban lake.


October 9, 2014

Migrating animals’ pee affects ocean chemistry

school of fish

Tiny animals migrating from the ocean’s surface to the sunless depths helps shape our oceans. During the daylight hours below the surface the animals release ammonia, the equivalent of our urine, that plays a significant role in marine chemistry, particularly in low-oxygen zones.


September 11, 2014

UW-built sensors to probe Antarctica’s Southern Ocean

person with float

Floating sensors built at the UW will be central to a new $21 million effort to learn how the ocean surrounding Antarctica influences climate.


September 4, 2014

Predicting when toxic algae will reach Washington and Oregon coasts

animation of currents

Better understanding of how a deadly algae grows offshore and gets carried to Pacific Northwest beaches has led to a computer model that can predict when the unseen threat will hit local beaches.


August 15, 2014

Research from 1960s shakes up understanding of West Coast earthquakes

people placing corer on boat

A new study used seabed samples collected by UW graduate students in the late 1960s to question current interpretations of earthquake frequency along the West Coast.


August 13, 2014

Snow has thinned on Arctic sea ice

person walking on snow

Historic observations and NASA airborne data provide a decades-long record showing that the snowpack on Arctic sea ice is thinning.


August 8, 2014

Ancient shellfish remains rewrite 10,000-year history of El Niño cycles

person with shell

Piles of ancient shells provide the first reliable long-term record for the powerful driver of year-to-year climate changes. Results show that the El Niños 10,000 years ago were as strong and frequent as they are today.


August 7, 2014

Ocean’s most oxygen-deprived zones to shrink under climate change

map

Predictions that the lowest-oxygen environments in the ocean will get worse may not come to pass. UW research shows climate change, by weakening the trade winds, will shrink these extremely low-oxygen waters.


August 1, 2014

A unique lab class: UW students explore nation’s largest dam removal

students walking on sand

A spring research apprenticeship course had nine undergraduates living at Friday Harbor Labs and studying what will happen to sediment released by dam removals on the Elwha River.


July 16, 2014

Tracking the breakup of Arctic summer sea ice

person on ice

An international team has placed sensors on and under Arctic sea ice to monitor this season’s retreat. Scientists hope to understand the physics of the ice edge in order to predict summer conditions in the Arctic Ocean.


June 6, 2014

Ocean technology course ends spring quarter with a splash

students on dock

A University of Washington undergraduate class has students design, build and test their own Internet-connected oceanographic sensors. The students are getting their feet wet, literally, in a new type of oceanography.


April 29, 2014

Benjamin Hall, Eric D’Asaro elected to National Academy of Sciences

National Academy of Sciences logo

Benjamin Hall and Eric D’Asaro are among the 84 new members elected fellows the National Academy of Sciences.


April 14, 2014

Puget Sound’s rich waters supplied by deep, turbulent canyon

map of canyon

UW oceanographers found fast-flowing water and intense mixing in a submarine canyon just off the Washington coast.


March 27, 2014

Citizen scientists: UW students help state legislator with climate policy

students at table with papers

Four graduate students were part of a year-long legislative process in Olympia working to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in Washington state.


March 13, 2014

Tethered robots tested for Internet-connected ocean observatory

people on boat deploying instrument

The UW this fall will complete installation of a huge high-tech ocean observatory. Dozens of instruments will connect to power and Internet cables on the seafloor, but the observatory also includes a new generation of ocean explorers: robots that will zoom up and down through almost two miles of ocean to monitor the water conditions and marine life above.


February 24, 2014

Vitamin water: Measuring essential nutrients in the ocean

researchers on boat

Oceanographers have found that archaea, a type of marine microbe, can produce B-12 vitamins in the ocean.


September 30, 2013

UW researchers helped draft international assessment of climate change

Graphic of IPCC report depicts temperatures at the end of the 21st century.

UW faculty members were among international researchers who compiled the fifth climate-change assessment report. The UW will host a seminar Tuesday, Oct. 1 with some of the Seattle-area authors.


September 18, 2013

Cables, instruments installed in the deep sea off Pacific Northwest coast

instrument on seafloor

In a seven-week cruise this past summer, oceanographers and students laid 14 miles of extension cable and installed about a dozen instruments for a historic deep-sea observatory.


September 9, 2013

Breaking deep-sea waves reveal mechanism for global ocean mixing

wave

Oceanographers for the first time recorded an enormous wave breaking miles below the surface in a key bottleneck for global ocean circulation.


August 30, 2013

New ocean forecast could help predict fish habitat six months in advance

school of sardines

UW researchers and federal scientists have developed the first long-term seasonal forecast of conditions for the Northwest ocean ecosystem.


July 1, 2013

Work this summer extends reach of cabled deep-ocean observatory

Map of the Summer 2013 cruise.

A UW research vessel leaves July 2 for six weeks at sea, during which oceanographers will install miles of cable for a new type of deep-sea observatory.


May 22, 2013

New documentary on cabled ocean observatory airs on UWTV

smoking caldera

A new half-hour documentary about a UW research expedition to Axial Seamount, an underwater volcano off the Washington coast, airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. on UWTV.


May 20, 2013

Amazon River exhales virtually all carbon taken up by rain forest

photo on boat

A study published this week in Nature Geoscience shows that woody plant matter is almost completely digested by bacteria living in the Amazon River, and that this tough stuff plays a major part in fueling the river’s breath.


May 13, 2013

Using earthquake sensors to track endangered whales

fin whale

Oceanographers are using a growing number of seafloor seismometers, devices that record seafloor vibrations, to carry out inexpensive and non-invasive studies of endangered whales.


May 6, 2013

UW research vessel Clifford A. Barnes marks its 1,000th cruise

R/V Cliff Barnes

This week marks the 1000th cruise for the UW’s Clifford A. Barnes research vessel, a converted tugboat that has spent decades exploring Puget Sound and Pacific Northwest waters and is now reaching the end of its UW career.


April 15, 2013

Preparing to install the world’s largest underwater observatory

Applied Physics Laboratory engineer Mike Harrington leads development of the science junction boxes for the underwater laboratory..

Engineers at the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory are under pressure to build and test parts for installation this summer in the world’s largest deep-ocean observatory off the Washington and Oregon coasts.


April 11, 2013

Space-age domes offer a window on ocean acidification

photo of dock

At Friday Harbor Labs, students are conducting a three-week study on the effects of ocean acidification using a strategy that’s midway between a controlled lab test and an open-ocean experiment.


March 7, 2013

Tracking sediments’ fate in largest-ever dam removal

aerial photo of plume

Any day now, the world’s largest dam-removal project will release a century’s worth of sediment . For geologists, it’s a unique opportunity to study natural and engineered river systems.



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