AOML's Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division


The Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division (OCED) is an interdisciplinary team of scientists working to support NOAA's mission to understand our oceans and coasts, to aid conservation and management of marine ecosystems, and to predict changes to these valuable resources. We focus on the forces and stressors that cause ecological responses and work on scales spanning from the local to the global. The Division works on a variety of important topics including the global rise of CO2, the ability of our ecosystems to support marine life, the safety of our swimming waters, and the health of coral reefs here and across the globe.

The OCED executes projects in an integrated fashion and in close collaboration with our partners (intergovernmental, academic, international, and NOAA). The OCED team includes scientists from the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), an institution that includes nine of south Florida's and the Caribbean's premier universities. The scope and direction of research is guided by strategic plans developed by NOAA as a whole and by the Ocean and Atmospheric Research (OAR) Line Office.

Research Focus

  • Understanding the ocean's role in removing excess carbon dioxide caused by burning fossil fuel;
  • Understanding the process of ocean acidification and the consequences to marine life;
  • Assessing environmental changes and the local and global consequences to coral reefs;
  • Management of coastal resources based on understanding the ecosystem as a whole;
  • Assessing the marine impacts from pollution flowing to the coasts from the land;
  • Monitoring of pathogens, indicators of fecal pollution, and harmful algae and development of sensors and assays to improve detection of contamination;

Research Highlight

This multi-disciplinary international research program reoccupies selected trans-basin sections on decadal timescales to document changes in heat, fresh water, carbon, nutrients, oxygen, and trace gases in the ocean. The work is executed in each major ocean basin by NOAA and NSF funded-investigators utilizing NOAA and UNOLS vessels. Click here to learn more about the GOSHIP Repeat Hydrography/Co2 Inventories research project.

Recent Publications

  • Effective Science-based Fishery Management is Good for Gulf of Mexico's "Bottom Line" - but Evolving Challenges Remain [pdf]
  • Pacific Anthropogenic Carbon Between 1991 and 2017 [pdf]
  • Role of host genetics and heat-tolerant algal symbionts in sustaining populations of the endangered coral Orbicella faveolata in the Florida Keys with ocean warming [pdf]
  • Seasonal Carbonate Chemistry Dynamics on Southeast Florida Coral Reefs: Localized Acidification Hotspots From Navigational Inlets [pdf]
  • Red Sea SAR11 and Prochlorococcus Single-Cell Genomes Reflect Globally Distributed Pangenomes [pdf]
  • Time of Detection as a Metric for Prioritizing Between Climate Observation Quality, Frequency, and Duration [pdf]

OCED Videos

  • Dr. Luke Thompson speaks about the Earth Microbiome Project at the San Diego Microbiology Group (SDMG) meeting, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 11 January 2017: Mapping the Microbes of Earth.