Category: Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems

Video: Coral Spawning in the Florida Keys

AOML coral scientists participated in a NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service-led project to document coral spawning in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary during August & September 2015. The project aims to measure spawning success for two imperiled Caribbean species, elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata) in the Florida Keys. The team collected gametes from both species to be used in experiments that aim to improve the understanding of factors that may enhance the likelihood of coral larvae to survive and settle on the ocean floor. Experiments will also assess impacts of current and future global environmental changes, such as ocean acidification, on these vulnerable early life stages of corals. Click on the image below to view a video of a spawning mountainous star colony.

Photo and Video credit: NOAA

Read Full Article

AOML Leads Research Efforts Across Caribbean to Improve Bleaching Predictions

For the third time in recorded history, a massive coral bleaching event is unfolding throughout the world’s oceans, stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean. Above average sea surface temperatures exacerbated by a strong El Niño could result in the planet losing up to 4,500 square miles of coral this year alone, according to NOAA. The global event is predicted to continue to impact reefs into the spring of 2016.

Read Full Article

AOML Establishes New Sites to Monitor Ocean Acidification in Gulf of Mexico

Members of AOML’s Acidification, Climate, and Coral Reef Ecosystems Team (ACCRETE) recently traveled to two remote reef locations to expand the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program’s (NCRMP) network of sentinel climate and ocean acidification monitoring sites. The newly established sites, located in the Flower Garden Banks and the Dry Tortugas, will provide researchers with additional data and insights into the ocean’s changing chemistry and the progression of ocean acidification, as well as the ecological impacts of these variables across the Caribbean basin and the Gulf of Mexico.

Read Full Article

Scientists Conduct Juvenile Sport Fish Surveys in Florida Bay

A team of scientists from NOAA’s AOML and Southeast Fisheries Science Center have conducted a series of surveys in Florida Bay this year as part of an ongoing project to investigate how juvenile sport fish in the bay respond to changes in water quality and habitat resulting from Everglades restoration. During the survey, scientists collected water quality and seagrass measurements and conducted otter trawls to sample the juvenile sport fish populations.

Read Full Article

AOML Oceanographers to Participate in New Summer Lecture Series

This summer, AOML will be diving into a new outreach initiative with the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, a coral reef research organization based in the Cayman Islands. From June through August, NOAA oceanographers from AOML will give a series of talks on various oceanographic topics to the institute’s staff and students participating in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at the institute’s Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC).

Read Full Article

AOML Scientists Establish Ocean Acidification Monitoring Site at Flower Garden Banks

AOML successfully established the final of three sentinel climate and ocean acidification monitoring sites at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico this month. Below are a few photos taken by AOML researchers of the biodiversity found on the reefs at the Flower Garden Banks. Photo credit: Lauren Valentino, NOAA

Read Full Article

AOML Enlists Citizen Scientists for International Ocean Sampling Day 2015

Researchers with AOML’s Environmental Microbiology Lab joined a global effort to sample the smallest members of the ocean ecosystem on June 21 during International Ocean Sampling Day. Organized and led by the European Union’s MicroB3 organization and the Ocean Sampling Day Consortium, Ocean Sampling Day (OSD) is a simultaneous sampling campaign of the world’s oceans and coastal waters. These cumulative samples, related in time, space and environmental parameters, contribute to determine a baseline of global marine biodiversity and functions on the molecular level.

Read Full Article

April Hydrographic Survey Conducted in the Florida Straits

AOML physical oceanographers conducted a hydrographic survey along the 27th north parallel in the Florida Straits aboard the R/V F.G. Walton Smith on April 9-10, 2015. The cruise was conducted as part of the ongoing Western Boundary Time Series project, which is designed to quantify Florida Current volume transport and water mass changes. Scientists measured full water column values of salinity, temperature, and oxygen using CTD equipment. This survey and others help to calibrate daily estimates of the Florida Current volume transport.

Read Full Article

AOML Marks 13th Trip Aboard Global Reef Expedition Cruise

During the months of March & April, AOML researchers participated in the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation’s Global Reef Expedition cruise which took place in the waters of the British Indian Ocean Territory. Some of the areas explored included the Maldives and the Chagos archipelago, home to the world’s largest Marine Protected Area. Aboard the R/V Golden Shadow and working under the theme “Science Without Borders,” the Global Reef Expedition team researches remote coral reef locations around the globe documenting their health to better understand which factors are crucial to reef resilience. AOML has participated in 12 Global Reef Expedition cruises since June 2012.

Read Full Article