Category Archives: Diversity and Biogeography

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Kīlauea Lava Fuels Phytoplankton Bloom off Hawaiʻi Island

A new study led by Samuel T. Wilson from the University of Hawai’i, co-authored with  Darwin Project researchers John Casey, Stephanie Dutkiewicz, Mick Follows, Christopher Hill, and Oliver Jahn, uses the Darwin ecosystem model embedded within an MITgcm (~2 km) resolution regional physical model of the North Pacific Ocean to study how the input of silicic acid, iron, nitrate, and phosphate along the southeast coast of Hawai‘i impacts nearby phytoplankton productivity. Continue reading

A swirling mass of Pacific jack mackerel, Trachurus symmetricus form a "bait ball" which draws feeding seabirds and marine mammals. (photo: Gulf of the Farallones NMS) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trachurus_symmetricus_baitball.jpg)

Artificial Intelligence Helps Manage Global Fisheries

Reporting by Helen Hill for the MIT Darwin Project

Fisheries provide a significant source of protein for over half of the world’s human population, yet the impacts of historical overfishing and climate change challenge the future productivity of the world’s oceans. Traditional fisheries management rests on the assumption that the future will look like the past, however, with advances in AI (artificial intelligence) and burgeoning data resources, scientists have new tools for exploring a greater range of future scenarios, including climate change.  Continue reading

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What you Can Do With a Really Rather Realistic Ocean Model

Helen Hill | Darwin Project

It’s been a decade since the inception of the MIT Darwin Project, an alliance between physical oceanographers, biogeochemists and marine microbiologists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The goal of Darwin remains to couple state of the art physical models of global ocean circulation with biogeochemistry and genome-informed models of microbial processes to understand the interplay between different elements of the marine ecosystem leading to observed balances between physiology and the marine environment. Continue reading

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Phytoplankton & Chips

Helen Hill | Darwin Project

Microbes mediate the global marine cycles of elements, modulating atmospheric CO2 and helping to maintain the oxygen we all breath yet there is much about them scientists still don’t understand. Now, an award from the Simons Foundation will give researchers from the Darwin Project access to bigger, better computing resources to model these communities and probe how they work. Continue reading

By Richard A. Ingebrigtsen, Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, University of Tromsø - Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12614179

Keeping Things the Same

The elemental composition of organic matter is remarkably constant throughout the world’s oceans, but phytoplankton are known to take up nutrients and carbon in quite variable ratios depending on light and nutrient conditions.

In a paper published online in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles last month, Darwin Project researchers David Talmy (MIT), Christopher Hill (MIT), Anna Hickman (Univ. of Southampton, England), and Mick Follows (MIT), in a collaboration with Adam Martiny (Univ. of California, Irvine), report on their work  seeking to understand what ecosystem factors could cause the elemental composition of organic matter to remain stable and relatively constant (homeostatic), even when the phytoplankton can have quite variable composition. Continue reading