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Ocean Twilight Zone

Ocean Twilight Zone
Below the sunlit surface, there's a realm known as the ocean's "twilight zone." At 200 to 1000 meters below the surface, sunlight is barely a...


Ocean Exports is a large-scale NASA program with the goal of quantifying the export and fate of upper ocean net primary production using satellite observations...


GEOTRACES is an international collaborative project studying marine biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and their isotopes in the ocean. Trace elements, critical for marine life,...

Fukushima Contaminants

Beneath the Surface
October 27, 2017
Members of the lab run by WHOI chemist Matt Charette installed equipment near the city of Sendai during a trip to Northeast Japan to collect groundwater samples. Charette and WHOI colleague Ken Buesseler recently found a previously unsuspected place where radioactive material from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster has accumulatedin sands and brackish groundwater beneath beaches as much as 60 miles away. The sands took up and retained radioactive cesium originating from the disaster in 2011 and have been slowly releasing it back to the ocean.
Photo by Ken Buesseler © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Fukushima Contaminants On March 11, 2011 a 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a 15 m (45 ft) tsunami inundating the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP). This...

Lingering Radioactivity in the Marshall Islands

The second atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll on July 25, 1946. The Marshall Islands, where Bikini is located, is suing the U.S. for what it calls a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Lingering Radioactivity in the Marshall Islands The Marshall Islands, a series of remote atolls in the Southern Pacific Ocean were used as ground zero for...

Older Projects

Are all traps created equal?

Ken Buesseler (center) & Meg Estapa (right) ready to deploy an NBST
Are All Traps Created Equal? This collaborative project took sediment and particle trap equipment to sea on the North Atlantic...

Uranium in Seawater

NEUP Bottles
Uranium in Seawater Overview of Research This project active from 2014 to 2018 built upon the efforts within the DOE's...


Squids have not been very common in our net tows although this species was caught twice. Notice that it is clear; you can see right through its body and even its internal organs! This is another handy (non) color to be when trying to avoid predators in the inky darkness of the twilight zone. (Photo by Stephanie Wilson)
VERTIGO - Ocean Particle Fluxes VERtical Transport In the Global Ocean- aka VERTIGO- was one of our largest and most...

Twilight Zone EXplorer

WHOI NBST being deployed
TZEX - Twilight Zone EXplorer Project Summary This project sets out to develop improved particle flux collectors and use these...


An example from a short-term winter S-type dust plume above the eastern North Atlantic (SeaWiFS, February 2002, taken from Fisher et. al, 2007).
TENATSO - Cape Verde time-series Establishing Long-term Ocean-atmospheric Observations on Cape Verde Observation is fundamental to understanding global change. Atmospheric...

Southern Ocean Iron Experiment

Ocean iron fertilization.
Why Dump Iron into the Ocean? Overview In the late 1980's, the late John Martin advanced the idea that carbon...

EDDIES – Sargasso Sea

From Sweeney et al., 2003.
EDDIES - Sargasso Sea "EDdy Dynamics, mIxing, Export, and Species composition" is the title of a new project looking at...

Southern Ocean Carbon

Southern Ocean Carbon Cycle: Ocean Carbon Cycle Studies off Antarctica Overview The Southern Ocean is defined as those waters south...

Groundwater Plutonium

Field sampling at Hanford site.
Plutonium in Groundwater Overview Migration of plutonium and other radionuclides in groundwater is a major issue at several DOE sites....

Black Sea Studies

Black Sea Studies Overview Since the Chernobyl accident in June of 1986, the "Cafe Thorium" lab has been actively pursuing...