Holding Your Breath: Surviving the Heart of Marine Darkness

As you swim through a coral reef, you see parrot fish, clams and other colorful aquatic creatures swimming elegantly and going about their lives. While you, with your snorkel, are confined to the surface of the water and the occasional dive for as long and as deep as you can hold your breath, the fish “breathe” easily with their gills (or lungs in the cases of some evolutionarily interesting fish). But do they breathe that easily? Living in and getting oxygen from a high-pressure aquatic environment is difficult and metabolically demanding, and some fish have found special ways to make it easier.

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Unleashing Pollutants: Environmental Fate of Antarctica In a Warmer World

Antarctica has been a depository for pollutants for decades. The brutal cold has kept them dormant and unable to inflict harmful effects on nature. As temperatures rise and ice melts, what is the fate of these pollutants in this unique landscape?

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The Sound of Silence: Consequences of Man-made Noise on Humpback Whale Songs

Male humpback whales sing loudly and for long durations during breeding season. A hundred years ago their voices did not have to compete with much man-made noise. These days they contend with underwater drilling, sonar, and the noise of thousands of cargo and passenger ships. This affects how and when they sing. The consequences of these changes are still largely unknown.

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Voyage to Iceberg Alley

A couple of days ago, right around sunrise, we sailed out of the Straits of Magellan and into the southern Atlantic Ocean, bound for the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic waters known as Iceberg Alley. Giant petrels soared against a clear blue sky, and gentle waves rocked the ship—although we didn’t expect that to last! I am aboard the JOIDES Resolution, a research vessel and drilling ship, and we are intentionally sailing into some of the planet’s wildest seas and the area of greatest iceberg concentration in the Antarctic.

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What gives glacier algae their wild colors?

When a British expedition reported seeing pink mountain snow in 1818, the London Times said: “Our credulity is put to an extreme test upon this occasion, but we cannot learn that there is any reason to doubt the fact as stated.” Two hundred years later, we now can confirm that pink snow (“watermelon snow”) is real and it is caused by certain types of algae. But why is it that snow algae take on such distinctive red and purple colors? And how does this connect to melting glaciers or global sea level rise?

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The Five Deeps Expedition: The first attempt to dive to the deepest point in five oceans

The Five Deeps Expedition is led by Victor Vescovo, an American attempting to visit the five deepest areas of the ocean in a manned submersible. In December of 2018, he became the first human to reach the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic Ocean. Read on to learn more about this expedition, and keep an eye out for the results of the remaining four dives in 2019!

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