Department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Science

FSU Research: Strong storms often generate earthquake-like seismic activity

A Florida State University researcher has uncovered a new geophysical phenomenon where a hurricane or other strong storm can spark seismic events in the nearby ocean as strong as a 3.5 magnitude earthquake. “We’re calling them ‘stormquakes,’” said lead author Wenyuan Fan, an assistant professor of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science. “This involves coupling of […]

Research provides new insight into the critical roles of plankton in marine carbon storage

The sea is Earth’s most formidable carbon dioxide-storage machine, but mysteries still abound about the interlocking processes of that storage and the myriad organisms involved. Now, thanks to a series of papers published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, researchers at Florida State University are inching toward a clearer understanding of the ocean’s carbon […]

FSU researcher awarded early career fellowship

A Florida State University faculty member has been awarded a prestigious national fellowship, recognizing early career researchers who demonstrate exceptional leadership and promise for contributions to the fields of offshore energy system safety, community health or environmental stewardship. Mariana Fuentes, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, recently received the Gulf […]

Kīlauea lava fuels phytoplankton bloom off Hawai‘i Island

When Kīlauea Volcano erupted in 2018, it injected millions of cubic feet of molten lava into the nutrient-poor waters off the Big Island of Hawai‘i. The lava-impacted seawater contained high concentrations of nutrients that stimulated phytoplankton growth, resulting in an extensive plume of microbes that was detectable by satellite. A Florida State University researcher was […]

Deepwater Horizon oil buried in Gulf Coast beaches could take more than 30 years to biodegrade

Golf ball-size clods of weathered crude oil originating from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe could remain buried in sandy Gulf Coast beaches for decades, according to a new study by ecologists at Florida State University. In a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, FSU Professor of Oceanography Markus Huettel and graduate student Ioana Bociu […]

Climate change could bring short-term gain, long-term pain for loggerhead turtles

An overwhelming scientific consensus affirms that for thousands of species across the globe, climate change is an immediate and existential threat. For the loggerhead turtle, whose vast range extends from the chilly shores of Newfoundland to the blistering beaches of Australia, the story isn’t so cut and dried. New research from conservation biologists at Florida […]

Oxygen depletion in ancient oceans caused major mass extinction

Late in the prehistoric Silurian Period, around 420 million years ago, a devastating mass extinction event wiped 23 percent of all marine animals from the face of the planet. For years, scientists struggled to connect a mechanism to this mass extinction, one of the 10 most dramatic ever recorded in Earth’s history. Now, researchers from […]

Ice sheets underpin core elements of the Earth’s carbon cycle

Scientists once believed that the ice sheets covering about 10 percent of Earth’s land surface were frozen wastelands, devoid of life and with supressed chemical weathering — irrelevant parts of the Earth’s carbon cycle. Now, a world-leading international team including researchers from Florida State University and the University of Bristol have pulled together a wealth […]

Innovative modeling strategies give researchers improved look at Florida’s climate future

Experts agree that rising atmospheric temperatures and shifts in the global ocean make Florida’s future climate evolution uncertain and potentially precarious. But conventional, poorly resolved climate models have made it difficult to credibly project what may actually be in store for the Sunshine State. While nobody can predict the future with perfect accuracy, meteorology researchers […]

NASA awards researchers $1.7M grant to develop tools to help Florida water utilities allocate resources

Researchers from Florida State University, in partnership with a network of scientists and stakeholders from throughout the state, have been awarded a $1.7 million grant from NASA to develop cutting-edge climate prediction tools that could benefit Florida water supply utilities. Florida State climate experts and their collaborators will use NASA Earth Science satellite and modeling […]

In ancient oceans that resembled our own, oxygen loss triggered mass extinction

Roughly 430 million years ago, during the Earth’s Silurian Period, global oceans were experiencing changes that would seem eerily familiar today. Melting polar ice sheets meant sea levels were steadily rising, and ocean oxygen was falling fast around the world. At around the same time, a global die-off known among scientists as the Ireviken extinction […]

Massive earthquakes provide new insight into deep Earth

In the waning months of 2018, two of the mightiest deep earthquakes ever recorded in human history rattled the Tonga-Fiji region of the South Pacific. In the first-ever study of these deep earthquakes — generally defined as any earthquake occurring 350 kilometers or more below the Earth’s surface — a Florida State University-led research team […]