Ocean sciences

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Earth’s carbon cycle and oceanic magnesium cycle are controlled by processes such as weathering, volcanism and precipitation of carbonates, such as dolomite. Here, the authors contradict the view that modern dolomite formation is rare and suggest instead that dolomite accounts for ~40–60% of the global oceanic Mg output in the last 20 Ma.

    • Netta Shalev
    • , Tomaso R. R. Bontognali
    • , C. Geoffrey Wheat
    •  & Derek Vance
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    The recent collapses of ice shelves in Antarctica due to warming make it essential to understand past ice shelf conditions and mechanisms. Here Smith and colleagues review the latest progress in deciphering the geological imprint of Antarctic ice shelves via sediments, landforms and proxy indicators.

    • James A. Smith
    • , Alastair G. C. Graham
    • , Alix L. Post
    • , Claus-Dieter Hillenbrand
    • , Philip J. Bart
    •  & Ross D. Powell
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Carbon dioxide removal technologies are often touted as a potential strategy to combat ocean acidification. However, the authors show here that these strategies are only effective when included as part of aggressive and rapid climate-action, undermining the idea of geoengineering as a panacea.

    • M. Hofmann
    • , S. Mathesius
    • , E. Kriegler
    • , D. P. van Vuuren
    •  & H. J. Schellnhuber
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Healthy coral reefs have an acoustic signature known to be attractive to coral and fish larvae during settlement. Here the authors use playback experiments in the field to show that healthy reef sounds can increase recruitment of juvenile fishes to degraded coral reef habitat, suggesting that acoustic playback could be used as a reef management strategy.

    • Timothy A. C. Gordon
    • , Andrew N. Radford
    • , Isla K. Davidson
    • , Kasey Barnes
    • , Kieran McCloskey
    • , Sophie L. Nedelec
    • , Mark G. Meekan
    • , Mark I. McCormick
    •  & Stephen D. Simpson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ross Sea Bottom Water, a major source of Antarctic Bottom Water, has experienced significant freshening in recent decades. Here the authors use 23 years of summer measurements to document temporal variability in the salinity of the Ross Sea High Salinity Shelf Water (HSSW) and found that HSSW salinity decreased between 1995 and 2014 and rebounded sharply after 2014.

    • Pasquale Castagno
    • , Vincenzo Capozzi
    • , Giacomo R. DiTullio
    • , Pierpaolo Falco
    • , Giannetta Fusco
    • , Stephen R. Rintoul
    • , Giancarlo Spezie
    •  & Giorgio Budillon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Iron is critical for fueling marine primary productivity, but its concentration is often vanishingly low in the ocean. Here, the authors show that though icebergs serve as vehicles delivering the largest supply of iron to polar oceans, the amount of iron they carry varies widely.

    • Mark J. Hopwood
    • , Dustin Carroll
    • , Juan Höfer
    • , Eric P. Achterberg
    • , Lorenz Meire
    • , Frédéric A. C. Le Moigne
    • , Lennart T. Bach
    • , Charlotte Eich
    • , David A. Sutherland
    •  & Humberto E. González
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Deciphering the origin, age, and composition of deep marine organic carbon remains a challenge for understanding the dynamics of the marine carbon cycle. Here, the authors identify (sub)micron-sized graphite emanating from both high and low temperature hydrothermal vents along the East Pacific Rise, and suggest graphite is a source of old carbon in the deep ocean.

    • Emily R. Estes
    • , Debora Berti
    • , Nicole R. Coffey
    • , Michael F. Hochella Jr.
    • , Andrew S. Wozniak
    •  & George W. Luther III
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Rivers are thought to be the largest source of the recalcitrant and abundant black carbon in the ocean. Here, Wagner and colleagues find distinct pools of black carbon between rivers and the open ocean, challenging the long-held assumption that marine black carbon is of terrestrial origin.

    • Sasha Wagner
    • , Jay Brandes
    • , Robert G. M. Spencer
    • , Kun Ma
    • , Sarah Z. Rosengard
    • , Jose Mauro S. Moura
    •  & Aron Stubbins
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Iron is crucial for marine photosynthesis, but observational constraints on the magnitude of key iron cycle processes are lacking. Here the authors use a range of observational data sets to demonstrate that the balance between iron re-supply and removal in the subsurface controls upper ocean iron limitation.

    • Alessandro Tagliabue
    • , Andrew R. Bowie
    • , Timothy DeVries
    • , Michael J. Ellwood
    • , William M. Landing
    • , Angela Milne
    • , Daniel C. Ohnemus
    • , Benjamin S. Twining
    •  & Philip W. Boyd
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The California Current System is characterized by wind-driven upwelling and by rich mesoscale eddy activity, resulting in a highly productive ecosystem. Here the authors show that offshore cyclonic eddies which were generated near the coast contain higher carbon concentrations in their interior than eddies of the same amplitude generated locally offshore.

    • Caitlin M. Amos
    • , Renato M. Castelao
    •  & Patricia M. Medeiros
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The loss of anomalous sulfur isotope compositions from sedimentary rocks has been considered a symptom of permanent atmospheric oxygenation. Here the authors show sulfur and oxygen isotope evidence from < 2.31 Ga sedimentary barium sulphates (barites) from the Turee Creek Basin, W. Australia, demonstrating the influence of local non-atmospheric processes on anomalous sulfur isotope signals.

    • B. A. Killingsworth
    • , P. Sansjofre
    • , P. Philippot
    • , P. Cartigny
    • , C. Thomazo
    •  & S. V. Lalonde
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Swarms of crustaceans called krill dominate Antarctic ecosystems, yet their influence on biogeochemical cycles remains a mystery. Here Cavan and colleagues review the role of krill in the Southern Ocean, and the impact of the krill fishery on ocean fertilisation and the carbon sink.

    • E. L. Cavan
    • , A. Belcher
    • , A. Atkinson
    • , S. L. Hill
    • , S. Kawaguchi
    • , S. McCormack
    • , B. Meyer
    • , S. Nicol
    • , L. Ratnarajah
    • , K. Schmidt
    • , D. K. Steinberg
    • , G. A. Tarling
    •  & P. W. Boyd
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The marginal interaction zones of oceans are understudied. Here, the authors analyse seismic observations of temporal changes at the interface between thermocline layers in the Panama Basin, that reveal a critical mixing state in which turbulent diffusion is gradually replaced by double-diffusion as the dominant mixing process.

    • Qunshu Tang
    • , Vincent C. H. Tong
    • , Richard W. Hobbs
    •  & Miguel Ángel Morales Maqueda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Iron fertilisation of the high latitude oceans is a well-established biological mechanism to explain the ice age drawdown of atmospheric CO2, yet modelling has so far struggled to account for a sufficient drawdown via this mechanism. Here, the authors propose that N2 fixers, which inhabit the lower latitude ocean, made a significant contribution to CO2 drawdown and so amplified the global response to iron fertilisation during ice ages.

    • Pearse J. Buchanan
    • , Zanna Chase
    • , Richard J. Matear
    • , Steven J. Phipps
    •  & Nathaniel L. Bindoff
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The ocean emits the greenhouse gas methane, but its vastness renders estimations challenging. Here the authors use machine learning to map global ocean methane fluxes, finding a disproportionate contribution from shallow coastal waters, and a link between primary production and methane cycling.

    • Thomas Weber
    • , Nicola A. Wiseman
    •  & Annette Kock
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Little is known about the long-term dynamics of mesopelagic fish despite their large contribution to total fish biomass. Here, the authors analyze the Santa Barbara Basin otolith record and suggest that mesopelagic fish populations were large but fluctuated with surface climate over the last ~2000 years.

    • William A. Jones
    •  & David M. Checkley Jr.
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Marine chemistry during the Early Earth (over 2.7 billion years ago) is commonly inferred to have been inorganically sulfate-reducing. Here, the authors argue that organic sulfur cycling may have played a previously unrecognized, yet important, role in the formation of ancient Archean marine sulfides.

    • Mojtaba Fakhraee
    •  & Sergei Katsev
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The nature of erosion featured at the outlet of submarine channels is still a topic of debate. Here the authors present, based on scaled experiments, a novel flow mechanism for turbidity currents at the end of submarine channels and for the first time describe their erosional character.

    • F. Pohl
    • , J. T. Eggenhuisen
    • , M. Tilston
    •  & M. J. B. Cartigny
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The oceanic magnesium cycle is closely linked to Earth’s carbon cycle and long-term climate change, due to processes such as continental weathering and authigenic mineral formation. Here, the authors update the global oceanic magnesium budget by quantifying the flux of magnesium from oceans to marine sediments and the associated isotopic fractionation.

    • Richard D. Berg
    • , Evan A. Solomon
    •  & Fang-Zhen Teng
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The phytoplankton Gephyrocapsa have gone through repeated macroevolutionary shifts in size. Here, Bendif et al. combine fossil and genomic data to show the latest shift was coincident with a species radiation and suggest that previous shifts have also resulted from cycles of radiation and extinction.

    • El Mahdi Bendif
    • , Bruno Nevado
    • , Edgar L. Y. Wong
    • , Kyoko Hagino
    • , Ian Probert
    • , Jeremy R. Young
    • , Rosalind E. M. Rickaby
    •  & Dmitry A. Filatov
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are causing ocean acidification, which can affect the physiology of some organisms. Here, Botté et al. use metagenomics to show differences in metabolic potential between sponge microbiomes sampled at a shallow volcanic CO2 seep and those from nearby control sites.

    • Emmanuelle S. Botté
    • , Shaun Nielsen
    • , Muhammad Azmi Abdul Wahab
    • , John Webster
    • , Steven Robbins
    • , Torsten Thomas
    •  & Nicole S. Webster
  • Article
    | Open Access

    During the Miocene, the Central American seaway was not closed, allowing low-salinity Pacific water to potentially weaken the Atlantic circulation. A new, continuous Nd isotope record shows that there was no direct intermediate water mass export from the Caribbean to the Florida Strait and thus, the Atlantic circulation could strengthen.

    • Valeriia Kirillova
    • , Anne H. Osborne
    • , Tjördis Störling
    •  & Martin Frank
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tropical cyclone-induced coastal flooding will increase under climate change. Here the authors estimate the effects of sea level rise and tropical cyclone climatology change on late–21st–century flood hazards along the US Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and find that the effect of tropical cyclone change could surpass the effect of sea level rise at some areas in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Reza Marsooli
    • , Ning Lin
    • , Kerry Emanuel
    •  & Kairui Feng
  • Article
    | Open Access

    While it is known that the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) influences tropical cyclones, but little is known about a reverse effect. Here, data and model output shows that tropical cyclones can affect ENSO with a lead of 3 months, especially contributing to a significantly more intense El Niño in the winter months.

    • Qiuyun Wang
    • , Jianping Li
    • , Fei-Fei Jin
    • , Johnny C. L. Chan
    • , Chunzai Wang
    • , Ruiqiang Ding
    • , Cheng Sun
    • , Fei Zheng
    • , Juan Feng
    • , Fei Xie
    • , Yanjie Li
    • , Fei Li
    •  & Yidan Xu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ocean acidification is expected to have a negative impact on calcifying organisms, however, our understanding of the acclimation potential of corals in their natural habit is currently limited. Here, the authors find that scleractinian corals living in high pCO2 conditions cannot fully adapt the chemistry of their internal calcifying fluid compared to corals growing in ambient conditions.

    • M. Wall
    • , J. Fietzke
    • , E. D. Crook
    •  & A. Paytan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Low manganese availability could be a major control of phytoplankton growth in the Southern Ocean. Here the authors identify proteomic signatures of low manganese and iron availability in phytoplankton cultures and detect those signatures in Antarctic field samples.

    • Miao Wu
    • , J. Scott P. McCain
    • , Elden Rowland
    • , Rob Middag
    • , Mats Sandgren
    • , Andrew E. Allen
    •  & Erin M. Bertrand
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Subseafloor microbial activities are central to global biogeochemical cycles, affecting Earth’s surface oxidation, ocean chemistry, and climate. Here the authors review present understanding of subseafloor microbes and their activities, identify research gaps, and recommend approaches to fill those gaps.

    • Steven D’Hondt
    • , Robert Pockalny
    • , Victoria M. Fulfer
    •  & Arthur J. Spivack
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Climate change is increasing the flow of freshwater to the ocean, yet study of salinity shifts is hampered by a lack of data. Here the authors show that the flux of salt through the ocean rivals that of freshwater inputs and leads to a layered structure of global salinity changes over the past twenty years.

    • Chao Liu
    • , Xinfeng Liang
    • , Rui M. Ponte
    • , Nadya Vinogradova
    •  & Ou Wang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    El Niño warms the tropical Atlantic, which in turn induces an anomalous Rossby wave train, triggering Arctic sea-ice growth and Eurasian warming in the El Niño decay year. This teleconnection via the tropical Atlantic and the Arctic in La Niña decay year contributes to Eurasian cold winter extremes.

    • Shinji Matsumura
    •  & Yu Kosaka
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Prior to the expansion of life on to land, abiotic weathering may have resulted in different boundary conditions affecting the composition of the biosphere. Here the authors studied clay minerals from a Precambrian rock record to reveal the weathering processes and find difference in weathering produced minerals preserved in the Mesoproterozoic Velkerri Formation.

    • Mehrnoush Rafiei
    •  & Martin Kennedy
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Observation systems are not sufficient to determine the relationship between mélange strength and calving frequency. Here the authors used the derivation of digital elevation models from radar interferometry data to study Jakobshavn Isbræ and show an inverse correlation between mélange thickness and calving rate.

    • Surui Xie
    • , Timothy H. Dixon
    • , David M. Holland
    • , Denis Voytenko
    •  & Irena Vaňková
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Coral fossils can record climatic history, but teasing apart environmental signals remains a challenge. Here the authors show that crystallographic changes in coral skeletons grown under high CO2 conditions could be used as a sensitive pH proxy, enabling measurement of ocean acidification back in time.

    • Ismael Coronado
    • , Maoz Fine
    • , Francesca R. Bosellini
    •  & Jarosław Stolarski
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The ocean’s swirling eddies are known to influence primary productivity, yet understanding of these processes has been hampered by a lack of resolution. Here the authors combine in-situ drifter, altimeter-based feature tracking, and satellite chlorophyll data to quantify how phytoplankton respond to surface mesoscale phenomena across the globe.

    • Zhengguang Zhang
    • , Bo Qiu
    • , Patrice Klein
    •  & Seth Travis
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Impacts from marine heatwaves can be devastating, but understanding their causes is largely based on case studies. Here the authors carry out a global assessment of literature and sea surface temperatures to identify important local processes, climate modes and teleconnections that drive marine heatwaves regionally.

    • Neil J. Holbrook
    • , Hillary A. Scannell
    • , Alexander Sen Gupta
    • , Jessica A. Benthuysen
    • , Ming Feng
    • , Eric C. J. Oliver
    • , Lisa V. Alexander
    • , Michael T. Burrows
    • , Markus G. Donat
    • , Alistair J. Hobday
    • , Pippa J. Moore
    • , Sarah E. Perkins-Kirkpatrick
    • , Dan A. Smale
    • , Sandra C. Straub
    •  & Thomas Wernberg
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The relative importance of crustal vs. anthropogenic dust deposition for iron cycling in the surface ocean is unclear. Based on analysis of iron isotope data from North Atlantic aerosol samples, the authors can reveal the relative importance of anthropogenic iron emissions and its impact on marine biogeochemistry.

    • Tim M. Conway
    • , Douglas S. Hamilton
    • , Rachel U. Shelley
    • , Ana M. Aguilar-Islas
    • , William M. Landing
    • , Natalie M. Mahowald
    •  & Seth G. John
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Hydrothermal activity is recognized to be significant in regulating the dynamics of trace elements in the ocean. Here the authors report the first observational evidence of upwelled hydrothermally influenced deep waters stimulating massive phytoplankton blooms in the Southern Ocean.

    • Mathieu Ardyna
    • , Léo Lacour
    • , Sara Sergi
    • , Francesco d’Ovidio
    • , Jean-Baptiste Sallée
    • , Mathieu Rembauville
    • , Stéphane Blain
    • , Alessandro Tagliabue
    • , Reiner Schlitzer
    • , Catherine Jeandel
    • , Kevin Robert Arrigo
    •  & Hervé Claustre
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Artisanal fish fences are used for fishing along many tropical coastlines. Here, Exton et al. examine the impact footprint of artisanal fish fences, showing that they are highly non-selective, cause direct harm across the tropical seascape, disrupt ecological connectivity and create social conflict.

    • Dan A. Exton
    • , Gabby N. Ahmadia
    • , Leanne C. Cullen-Unsworth
    • , Jamaluddin Jompa
    • , Duncan May
    • , Joel Rice
    • , Paul W. Simonin
    • , Richard K. F. Unsworth
    •  & David J. Smith
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The geography of deep-ocean mixing driven by internal tides is poorly constrained in ocean models. Here the authors unveil the global variability of energetic small-scale internal tides, combining an analytical model with satellite and in situ observations, paving the way to future parameterisations.

    • Clément Vic
    • , Alberto C. Naveira Garabato
    • , J. A. Mattias Green
    • , Amy F. Waterhouse
    • , Zhongxiang Zhao
    • , Angélique Melet
    • , Casimir de Lavergne
    • , Maarten C. Buijsman
    •  & Gordon R. Stephenson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The freshwater surface layer from the south China seas weakens the Indonesian throughflow during boreal winter, but the impact of the monsoon water cycle of the maritime continent on this freshwater plug is unknown. Here the authors use satellite observations to show a direct link between the regional water cycle in the maritime continent and the freshwater plug.

    • Tong Lee
    • , Séverine Fournier
    • , Arnold L. Gordon
    •  & Janet Sprintall
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Rising anthropogenic CO2 levels in the atmosphere are resulting in ocean acidification which may impact coral growth rates. Here, the authors quantify the relationship between water depth and δ13C compositions of South Pacific corals from the pre-industrial era, and their results should lead to improvements in the precision of sea level reconstructions using fossil corals.

    • Braddock K. Linsley
    • , Robert B. Dunbar
    • , Emilie P. Dassié
    • , Neil Tangri
    • , Henry C. Wu
    • , Logan D. Brenner
    •  & Gerard M. Wellington
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Large uncertainty exists in projecting future 20-year global warming trends due to intrinsic tropical Pacific climate variability. Here the authors show that knowledge of the state of the Pacific Ocean can significantly reduce this uncertainty via the use of initialized decadal climate forecasts.

    • Mohammad Hadi Bordbar
    • , Matthew H. England
    • , Alex Sen Gupta
    • , Agus Santoso
    • , Andréa S. Taschetto
    • , Thomas Martin
    • , Wonsun Park
    •  & Mojib Latif
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The biological pump is the key ecological component that links carbon and energy flow from oceanic surface waters to the abyss. Here the authors show that the elemental composition and energy content of sinking particulate matter can be used to develop a more comprehensive understanding of energy flow networks in the sea.

    • Eric Grabowski
    • , Ricardo M. Letelier
    • , Edward A. Laws
    •  & David M. Karl
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Microbes structure biogeochemical cycles and food webs in the marine environment. Here, the authors sample coral reef-associated microbes across a 24-hour period, showing clear day–night patterns of microbial populations and thus calling for more studies to consider temporal variation in microbiomes at this scale.

    • Linda Wegley Kelly
    • , Craig E. Nelson
    • , Andreas F. Haas
    • , Douglas S. Naliboff
    • , Sandi Calhoun
    • , Craig A. Carlson
    • , Robert A. Edwards
    • , Michael D. Fox
    • , Mark Hatay
    • , Maggie D. Johnson
    • , Emily L. A. Kelly
    • , Yan Wei Lim
    • , Saichetana Macherla
    • , Zachary A. Quinlan
    • , Genivaldo Gueiros Z. Silva
    • , Mark J. A. Vermeij
    • , Brian Zgliczynski
    • , Stuart A. Sandin
    • , Jennifer E. Smith
    •  & Forest Rohwer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    While several studies have documented early warning signals of population collapse, the use of such signals as indicators of population recovery has not been investigated. Here the authors use models and empirical fisheries data to show that there are statistical indicators preceding recovery of cod populations.

    • Christopher F. Clements
    • , Michael A. McCarthy
    •  & Julia L. Blanchard
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A better understanding of typhoon–ocean interactions is critical for improving typhoon forecasts. Here the authors use data from two buoys that captured Super Typhoon Nepartak and combine it with numerical simulations to reveal the role of enhanced velocity shear in rapid upper-ocean cooling.

    • Yiing Jang Yang
    • , Ming-Huei Chang
    • , Chia-Ying Hsieh
    • , Hung-I Chang
    • , Sen Jan
    •  & Ching-Ling Wei
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here the authors holistically examine prokaryote communities associated with diverse coral reef hosts, including sponges, nudibranchs, sea cucumbers, and corals. The results show that sponges have a relatively low diversity of prokaryotes, most of which are shared across a wide range of host taxa rather than being sponge-specific.

    • Daniel F. R. Cleary
    • , Thomas Swierts
    • , Francisco J. R. C. Coelho
    • , Ana R. M. Polónia
    • , Yusheng M. Huang
    • , Marina R. S. Ferreira
    • , Sumaitt Putchakarn
    • , Luis Carvalheiro
    • , Esther van der Ent
    • , Jinn-Pyng Ueng
    • , Newton C. M. Gomes
    •  & Nicole J. de Voogd
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There has been much interest recently in the transport mechanisms of metals from hydrothermal vents. Here the authors found that nanoparticulate pyrite is not removed from the plume and can account for over 50% of filtered iron one metre from the vent mouth.

    • Alyssa J. Findlay
    • , Emily R. Estes
    • , Amy Gartman
    • , Mustafa Yücel
    • , Alexey Kamyshny Jr.
    •  & George W. Luther III
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Findings regarding the impacts of ocean acidification (OA) on the growth and N2 fixation of Trichodesmium are conflicted. Here, the authors find that Trichodesmium growth rates decrease under OA primarily due to reduced nitrogenase efficiency and OA under RCP 8.5 could reduce the N2 fixation potential of Trichodesmium by 27%.

    • Ya-Wei Luo
    • , Dalin Shi
    • , Sven A. Kranz
    • , Brian M. Hopkinson
    • , Haizheng Hong
    • , Rong Shen
    •  & Futing Zhang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The current paradigm of material transport across the ocean-floor by gravity currents, is of turbulent flows with mixing processes analogous to rivers. However, uniquely high-resolution field data demonstrate that this paradigm is flawed and that gravity currents are analogous to self-organised atmospheric jets.

    • R. M. Dorrell
    • , J. Peakall
    • , S. E. Darby
    • , D. R. Parsons
    • , J. Johnson
    • , E. J. Sumner
    • , R. B. Wynn
    • , E. Özsoy
    •  & D. Tezcan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Coral bleaching is generally linked to higher sea temperatures, but there may be geographic variation in this effect. Here, in a synthesis of global coral bleaching data, the authors show that bleaching probability is highest at mid-latitude sites despite equivalent thermal stress at equatorial sites.

    • S. Sully
    • , D. E. Burkepile
    • , M. K. Donovan
    • , G. Hodgson
    •  & R. van Woesik