Ocean circulation and algal blooms

Oceanographers study how changes in ocean circulation affect populations of microscopic marine algae. Much of this work involves using satellites, autonomous underwater vehicles, and other state-of-the art tools. These new tools allow scientists to continously monitor ocean chemistry, biology, and currents, all of which vary dramatically over space and time.

satellite image shows temperature of the ocean in and around San Pedro Bay on April 2, 2014

ECOHAB Spring 2014—Preliminary Observations

/
It’s now late May and the spring 2014 ECOHAB field experiment is winding down. Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) are still conducting occasional surveys of the San Pedro Bay, but the rest of the instruments have been recovered.
These images show two views of data collected by an underwater glider during late March, 2014. The zig-zag line shows the path of the glider as it traveled across San Pedro Bay and over deeper water offshore (to the left); the vertical scale is enlarged in the lower image. The colors of the line represent different concentrations of chlorophyll. The deep-red patch near shore (upper right) indicates high chlorophyll concentrations associated with an algal bloom. Image: © 2014 MBARI

Study of harmful algal blooms builds on year-to-year experience

/
In late March 2014, like stealthy electronic sharks, two underwater gliders began cruising the ocean in and around San Pedro Bay, off Southern California. But instead of looking for a meal of fish or sea lions, these robotic vehicles were looking for signs of microscopic algae.
This map shows the locations of the two aquaculture facilities in the Pacific Northwest where Environmental Sample Processors are being deployed during the summer of 2013. Base map: Google Earth.

Environmental Sample Processors help prevent seafood poisoning

Washington state is one of the nation's most prolific areas for shellfish harvesting and aquaculture. Yet, as in many other areas, Washington's shellfish may cause seafood poisoning when certain types of harmful algae or bacteria become abundant in local waters.
This image shows a forecast of the temperature of surface waters (blue and yellow shading) and currents (black arrows) made by the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) computer model during the ECOHAB experiment. Similar models may eventually be able to forecast the locations of harmful algal blooms. Base image: Google Maps

The ECOHAB experiment—A first step toward predicting harmful algal blooms

Killing wildlife and occasionally sickening people, harmful algal blooms can be more than just a nuisance. But predicting these blooms is difficult—even more difficult than predicting the weather—because blooms result from a dynamic interaction between both physical and biological processes.

Science

Upper-ocean systems
Biological oceanography
Biological oceanography research
Publication—Global modes of sea surface temperature
Chemical sensors
Chemical data
Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory in Elkhorn Slough
Listing of floats
SOCCOM float visualization
Periodic table of elements in the ocean
Profiling float
Marine microbes
Population dynamics of phytoplankton
Microbial predators
Microbe-algae interactions
Targeted metagenomics
In the news
Upcoming events and lab news
Past talks and presentations
Join the lab
Resources
Molecular ecology
Molecular systematics
SIMZ Project
Bone-eating worms
Gene flow and dispersal
Molecular-ecology expeditions
Interdisciplinary field experiments
Genomic sensors
Ocean observing system
Midwater research
Midwater ecology
Deep-sea squids and octopuses
Food web dynamics
Midwater time series
Respiration studies
Zooplankton biodiversity
Seafloor processes
Biology and ecology
Effects of humans
Ocean acidification, warming, deoxygenation
Lost shipping container study
Effects of upwelling
Faunal patterns
Past research
Technology development
High-CO2 / low-pH ocean
Benthic respirometer system
Climate change in extreme environments
Monitoring instrumentation suite
Sargasso Sea research
Antarctic research
Long-term time series
Geological changes
Arctic Shelf Edge
Continental Margins and Canyon Dynamics
Coordinated Canyon Experiment
Monterey Canyon: Stunning deep-sea topography revealed
Ocean chemistry of greenhouse gases
Emerging science of a high CO2/low pH ocean
Submarine volcanoes
Mid-ocean ridges
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Hydrothermal systems
Back arc spreading ridges
Seamounts
Near-ridge seamounts
Continental margin seamounts
Non-hot-spot linear chains
Eclectic seamounts topics
Margin processes
Hydrates and seeps
California borderland
Hot spot research
Hot-spot plumes
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Landslides
Volcanic hazards
Hydrothermal systems
Flexural arch
Coral reefs
ReefGrow software
Biogeography
Eclectic topics
Submarine volcanism cruises
Volcanoes resources
Areas of study
Biology
Microscopic biology research
Open ocean biology research
Seafloor biology research
Chemistry
Automated chemical sensors
Methane in the seafloor
Geology
Volcanoes and seamounts
Hydrothermal vents
Methane in the seafloor
Submarine canyons
Earthquakes and landslides
Ocean acidification
Physical oceanography and climate change
Ocean circulation and algal blooms
Ocean cycles and climate change
Research publications