Ocean sciences

  • Perspective |

    High-temperature, high-acidity and low-oxygen extremes may pose a particular threat to marine ecosystems, requiring a major effort to understand them and the ability of marine life to respond to them.

    • Nicolas Gruber
    • , Philip W. Boyd
    •  & Meike Vogt
  • Article |

    New proxy data for ocean pH and an ocean–atmosphere model show that a radically different ocean circulation led to decoupling of ocean productivity and upwelling in the equatorial Pacific Ocean 3–6 million years ago.

    • Madison G. Shankle
    • , Natalie J. Burls
    •  & Pincelli M. Hull
  • Article |

    Mercury deposition pathways from the atmosphere to the ocean remain uncertain, but mercury stable isotope measurements from the Atlantic and Mediterranean show that ocean uptake of gaseous elemental mercury is more important than previously thought.

    • Martin Jiskra
    • , Lars-Eric Heimbürger-Boavida
    •  & Jeroen E. Sonke
  • Article |

    Oceanic deposition of wildfire aerosols can enhance marine productivity, as supported here by satellite and in situ profiling floats data showing that emissions from the 2019–2020 Australian wildfires fuelled phytoplankton blooms in the Southern Ocean.

    • Weiyi Tang
    • , Joan Llort
    •  & Nicolas Cassar
  • Article |

    Using a globally coordinated strategic conservation framework to plan an increase in ocean protection through marine protected areas can yield benefits for biodiversity, food provisioning and carbon storage.

    • Enric Sala
    • , Juan Mayorga
    •  & Jane Lubchenco
  • Article |

    The capacity to create an equitable and sustainable ‘blue economy’ from ocean resources will be determined by addressing social conditions, governance and infrastructure, not just resource availability, as shown by a fuzzy logic model incorporating multidisciplinary criteria.

    • Andrés M. Cisneros-Montemayor
    • , Marcia Moreno-Báez
    •  & Yoshitaka Ota
  • Article |

    Unexpected intervals of low 230Th concentration in marine sediment cores are explained by considering that during at least two such periods, the Arctic Ocean and Nordic seas were composed entirely of fresh water and covered by a thick ice shelf.

    • Walter Geibert
    • , Jens Matthiessen
    •  & Ruediger Stein
  • Article |

    A tight coupling between metabolic rate, efficacy of oxygen supply and the temperature sensitivities of marine animals predicts a variety of geographical niches that better aligns with the distributions of species than models of either temperature or oxygen alone.

    • Curtis Deutsch
    • , Justin L. Penn
    •  & Brad Seibel
  • Article |

    Observed global-mean sea-level rise since 1900 is reconciled with estimates based on the contributing processes, revealing budget closure within uncertainties and showing ice-mass loss from glaciers as a dominant contributor.

    • Thomas Frederikse
    • , Felix Landerer
    •  & Yun-Hao Wu
  • Article |

    Ocean heatwaves displace surface isotherms by tens to thousands of kilometres—comparable to shifts associated with long-term warming trends—potentially driving rapid redistributions of marine species.

    • Michael G. Jacox
    • , Michael A. Alexander
    •  & James D. Scott
  • Article |

    Sea surface density observations in the Arctic Ocean reveal a relationship between the present-day surface water density and the anthropogenic carbon inventory and coincident acidification, suggesting that recent acidification projections are underestimates.

    • Jens Terhaar
    • , Lester Kwiatkowski
    •  & Laurent Bopp
  • Review Article |

    Analyses of the recovery of marine populations, habitats and ecosystems following past conservation interventions indicate that substantial recovery of the abundance, structure and function of marine life could be achieved by 2050 if major pressures, including climate change, are mitigated.

    • Carlos M. Duarte
    • , Susana Agusti
    •  & Boris Worm
  • Article |

    Analyses of microbial communities that live 10–750 m below the seafloor at Atlantis Bank, Indian Ocean, provide insights into how these microorganisms survive by coupling energy sources to organic and inorganic carbon resources.

    • Jiangtao Li
    • , Paraskevi Mara
    •  & Virginia P. Edgcomb
  • Article |

    Satellite-derived analysis of daily vertical migrations of ocean animals shows that the relative abundance and total biomass of these animals differ between different regions globally, depending on the availability of food and necessity to avoid predators.

    • Michael J. Behrenfeld
    • , Peter Gaube
    •  & Scott C. Doney
  • Article |

    Since the 1980s, rapid warming of the Indo-Pacific warm pool has altered global rainfall pattern by changing the residence time of the Madden–Julian Oscillation, decreasing it by 3–4 days over the Indian Ocean and increasing it over the Indo-Pacific by 5–6 days.

    • M. K. Roxy
    • , Panini Dasgupta
    •  & Daehyun Kim
  • Perspective |

    The authors discuss the potential for sex and gender analysis to foster scientific discovery, improve experimental efficiency and enable social equality.

    • Cara Tannenbaum
    • , Robert P. Ellis
    •  & Londa Schiebinger
  • Letter |

    Nutrient content analyses of marine finfish and current fisheries landings show that fish have the potential to substantially contribute to global food and nutrition security by alleviating micronutrient deficiencies in regions where they are prevalent.

    • Christina C. Hicks
    • , Philippa J. Cohen
    •  & M. Aaron MacNeil
  • Letter |

    A statistical forecast model using a deep-learning approach produces useful forecasts of El Niño/Southern Oscillation events with lead times of up to one and a half years.

    • Yoo-Geun Ham
    • , Jeong-Hwan Kim
    •  & Jing-Jia Luo
  • Letter |

    Using phreatic overgrowths on speleothems, sea level during the mid-Piacenzian Warm Period, which was about two to three degrees Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial period, is shown to have been about 16 metres higher than today.

    • Oana A. Dumitru
    • , Jacqueline Austermann
    •  & Bogdan P. Onac
  • Letter |

    Seafloor-derived planktonic foraminifera communities of pre-industrial age are compared with communities from sediment-trap time series and show that Anthropocene communities of a globally distributed zooplankton group differ from their unperturbed pre-industrial state.

    • Lukas Jonkers
    • , Helmut Hillebrand
    •  & Michal Kucera
  • Article |

    Convergent estimates of nitrogen fixation from an inverse biogeochemical and a prognostic ocean model show that biological carbon export in the ocean is higher than expected and that stabilizing nitrogen-cycle feedbacks are weaker than we thought.

    • Wei-Lei Wang
    • , J. Keith Moore
    •  & François W. Primeau
  • Letter |

    Vertical motions of Earth’s crust had the greatest effect on regional spatial differences in relative sea-level trends along the eastern coast of the USA during 1900–2017, explaining most of the large-scale spatial variance in regional rates of sea-level rise.

    • Christopher G. Piecuch
    • , Peter Huybers
    •  & Martin P. Tingley
  • Article |

    Accounting for meltwater from the Antarctic Ice Sheet in simulations of global climate leads to substantial changes in future climate projections and identifies a potential feedback mechanism that exacerbates melting.

    • Ben Bronselaer
    • , Michael Winton
    •  & Joellen L. Russell
  • Letter |

    A structurally unusual zwitterionic metabolite, dimethylsulfoxonium propionate (DMSOP), is synthesized by several dimethylsulfoniopropionate-producing microalgae and marine bacteria and is readily metabolized into dimethylsulfoxide by marine bacteria, expanding our knowledge of the marine organosulfur cycle.

    • Kathleen Thume
    • , Björn Gebser
    •  & Georg Pohnert
  • Letter |

    Satellite observations and Earth system model simulations reveal that marine heatwaves have increased in recent decades and will increase further in terms of frequency, intensity, duration and spatial extent.

    • Thomas L. Frölicher
    • , Erich M. Fischer
    •  & Nicolas Gruber
  • Review Article |

    Our current understanding of the spatio-temporal complexity of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation phenomenon is reviewed and a unifying framework that identifies the key factors for this complexity is proposed.

    • Axel Timmermann
    • , Soon-Il An
    •  & Xuebin Zhang
  • Article |

    Analyses of current coral reef growth rates in the tropical western Atlantic and Indian Ocean show that few reefs will have the capacity to track sea-level rise projections under Representative Concentration Pathway scenarios without sustained ecological recovery.

    • Chris T. Perry
    • , Lorenzo Alvarez-Filip
    •  & Chancey Macdonald