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As climate change begins to impact human societies with a fury, and access to fresh water becomes ever more limited, the importance of understanding the ocean and its role in sustaining life on Earth is more important than ever. We live on a water planet, and understanding Earth systems without understanding the one ocean that covers over 70% of its surface is impossible. Throughout the global ocean there is one interconnected circulation system that distributes water, nutrients, organisms and pollutants worldwide.
The ocean makes Earth habitable and is a major influence on weather and climate. Over half the phyla of living things on Earth occur only in the ocean. And yet, the ocean is the last and largest unexplored place on Earth--less than 5% of it has been explored. Hundreds of scientists and science educators around the country have come to consensus about the urgency of research about the ocean and of promoting an ocean literate society. Ocean Literacy is an understanding of the ocean's influence on you, and your influence on the ocean. An ocean literate person: understands the Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts about the functioning of the ocean; can communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way; and is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources. The scientists and educators here at Cal hope you enjoy the resources we have provided to help you join the Ocean Literacy Campaign!
On Planet Earth there is only one ocean. Let's take care of it. Below is are articles relating to the ocean sciences.
On December 18, our talk was given by Dr. Terry Hazen, and is entitled "Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – How Resilient is Mother Nature?".
The biological effects and expected fate of the vast amount of oil in the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon blowout are unknown due to the extreme depth and magnitude of this event, but also the unprecedented quantity of oil dispersant released and injected directly at the wellhead (1,544 m). We found that the dispersed hydrocarbon plume stimulated deep-sea indigenous bacteria that are closely related to known petroleum-degraders. Hydrocarbon-degrading genes coincided with the concentration of various oil contaminants. Changes in hydrocarbon composition with distance from the source, environmental isolates, and microcosms demonstrate faster then expected hydrocarbon biodegradation rates even at 5°C. Intrinsic bioremediation of the oil plume in the deep-water column without substantial oxygen drawdown occurred after only 2-3 weeks of capping the Macondo well.
Our May 15 talk was given by Prof. Richard Saykally, a UC Berkeley chemist, and was entitled "What Makes Water Wet? The Latest Word on the Most Important Molecule in the Universe".
Water is the third most abundant molecule in the Universe, and the basis for life as we know it. Despite this profound importance, apparent chemical simplicity, and decades of intense study, the nature of water remains incompletely understood. Current debates include the proposed existence of 17 forms of ice and two forms of the liquid, and the nature of water in confined environments, like cells and carbon nanotubes. We have accumulated a wealth of new data characterizing the nature of water via the study of water clusters in the range of dimer through hexamer, using Terahertz Laser Vibration-Rotation-Tunneling spectroscopy, which directly probes the bends and stretches of the hydrogen bonds. These data provide a good start towards “a universal first principles” model for water, that can explain all of its unusual properties.
Why do these Cal scientists study the ocean and water? How does their research relate to our everyday lives? Read on!
These in-depth articles look at the work done by three ocean scientists at Cal:
"Field Notes from Joey Pakes." Find out why this cave-diving graduate student is utterly obsessed with an obscure little crustacean called the remipede.
Join a scientific team and help give the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish a species name! This new name will become the official scientific name and appear in several scientific publications. Don’t delay — the deadline for submissions is June 14th. Learn more... (Image Credit: Marijke Wilhelmus)
Mrs. Jepsen's 4th grade class sent me on a second visit to the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. I learned many new things!
I’m so lucky! Two classes sent me to the University of Hawai’i, Manoa! Mr. Morrow’s 4th grade class sent me on this adventure.
The world's climate is changing and California is now being affected in both dramatic and subtle ways. Watch the KQED QUEST episode here.
We all rely on the water cycle, but how does it actually work? Scientists at UC Berkeley are embarking on a new project to understand how global warming is affecting our fresh water supply. And they're doing it by tracking individual raindrops in Mendocino and north of Lake Tahoe. Find out more by watching this episode of KQED QUEST.