World Oceans Day

Credit: Brian Zgliczynski

Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.” It’s the theme of World Oceans Day 2016. And the theme of National Science Foundation-supported research on oceans from the poles to the tropics. Scientists are learning that what makes us healthy also keeps coral reefs in-the-pink, that the sea’s salt affects the clouds above, and that jellyfish may show us the way to a new generation of submersibles for exploring the oceans. But all is not well in the depths: the oceans are threatened by low oxygen levels and warming waters that have led to the collapse of fisheries such as cod.

NSF-funded research into the oceans:

Bring the seas into your home

The Ocean Observatories Initiative is making the seas accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week to anyone with an Internet connection. Join scientists in a new way of exploring the depths of the seas!


Human health and coral health share links

Humans are made up of millions of microbes, collectively called our microbiomes. These microbial “ecosystems” contribute to keeping us healthy. It’s the same for corals and other species, scientists are finding. Corals’ microbiomes play an important role in reef health.

Credit: Joseph Pollock

Polluting the air and the seas with carbon

Humans are responsible for carbon release 10 times faster than any event since the age of dinosaurs.


Changing ocean chemistry may threaten Antarctic food chain

NSF-funded researchers have collected evidence that links rising levels of carbon and changes in ocean chemistry in Antarctic waters with the inability of tiny animals, such as sea snails, to build the protective shells they need to survive.

Deltas protect our coastlines, nourish our fisheries and crops

Deltas — places where sediment from rivers meets the sea — act as bulwarks against storms, nurseries for fisheries, and farms for nations around the globe.

Credit: NASA

Sea spray leads to cloud formation

Beyond the poetry of crashing ocean waves, this salt- and carbon-rich spray also has a dramatic effect on cloud formation and duration.

Credit: NOAA

Where are all our ocean fish?

New research reveals that fluctuating food supplies and competition in the seas can alter the survival of adult fish — at least for Pacific coral reef species — and be a major cause of changes in their populations.

Credit: Clint Nelson

Oceans, climate and mountains all interact

Erosion caused by glaciation can wear down mountains faster than plate tectonics can form them.

Credit: IODP

Famed New England cod fishery “boiled” by a warming ocean

New report shows that warming complicates fisheries management plans.

Credit: NOAA

Take a ride in a jellyfish-like submersible

Siphonophores, they’re called: Marine animals that navigate inner space like undersea mini-versions of the Starship Enterprise.

The truth about sharks

With sharks swimming ever closer to shore this summer — or seeming to — and crossing paths with surfers and bathers, what’s going on? NSF talked with two shark biologists, read the Q&A.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

King crabs on-the-loose in the sea off Antarctica

New study predicts that crabs could repopulate shallows of continental shelf.

Credit: Richard B. Aronson, Florida Institute of Technology

More NSF-funded ocean science news: