Department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Science

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 […]

Red tide rolling: Harmful algae found to flourish in both high-, low-CO2 environments

The algae responsible for Florida’s toxic red tides may be more resilient to shifting ocean chemistry than scientists previously realized, according to research from Florida State University oceanographers. A new study has revealed that the red tide-causing species that has menaced Florida’s coastal environments and tourism-based economies is able to efficiently utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) […]

Ancient rocks provide clues about Earth’s early history

Earth’s vast oceans started becoming oxygenated on large scales and great depths long before scientists previously recognized, according to new research from Arizona State University, Florida State University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and The University of Waterloo. Oxygen in the form of the oxygen molecule (O2), produced by plants and vital for animals, is thankfully […]

Seasons change: FSU researchers provide new definition for major Indian monsoon

Toward the end of every year, the Northeast Indian Monsoon (NEM) batters southern India with torrents of driving rain, but climatologists have never precisely defined when the monsoon begins and ends. Now, Florida State University Professor of Meteorology Vasu Misra has used detailed surface temperature analyses to identify the start and end dates of the […]

FSU oceanography professor receives prestigious early career award

Florida State University Associate Professor of Oceanography Robert Spencer has received the Yentsch-Schindler Early Career Award from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography for his significant contributions to our understanding of global biogeochemical processes. The annual award, initiated by ASLO in 2012, honors early career aquatic scientists who have made outstanding contributions […]

Research reveals ‘fundamental finding’ about Earth’s outer core

The Earth’s core is an exceptionally difficult place to study. Its depths descend a staggering 2,900 kilometers — about the distance from New York City to Denver — and its extreme, otherworldly conditions are extraordinarily challenging to simulate in the lab. For scientists like Florida State University Assistant Professor Mainak Mookherjee and his postdoctoral scholar […]

For these critically endangered marine turtles, climate change could be a knockout blow

Hawksbill turtles aren’t the only marine turtles threatened by the destabilizing effects of climate change, but a new study from researchers at Florida State University shows that this critically endangered species could be at particular risk. In a study published in the journal PLOS One, researchers from FSU’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science […]

FSU researchers: Most fires in Florida go undetected

A new study from Florida State University researchers indicates that common satellite imaging technologies have vastly underestimated the number of fires in Florida. Their report, published in collaboration with researchers from the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, challenges well-established beliefs about the nature and frequency of fire in the Sunshine State. While there […]

FSU researcher rooting out the errors in storm simulation models

On the eve of every hurricane season, climatologists around the world offer their studied prognostications: Will we see high activity? Low activity? How will ocean temperature affect storm development? What are the chances of a powerful storm making landfall? Scientists have leveraged improved climate models to simulate tropical cyclone behavior with an ever-increasing degree of […]

Recreational fisheries pose threat to skittish sea turtles

Every summer, thousands of amateur scallopers flock to the warm coastal waters of Florida’s Crystal River region, anchor their boats and reap the delicious bounty of the state’s largest recreational bay scallop fishery. For these seasonal anglers, the toothsome morsels are well worth the two- or three-meter dive. But new research from scientists at Florida […]

In the ocean’s twilight zone, tiny organisms may have giant effect on Earth’s carbon cycle

Deep in the ocean’s twilight zone, swarms of ravenous single-celled organisms may be altering Earth’s carbon cycle in ways scientists never expected, according to a new study from Florida State University researchers. In the area 100 to 1,000 meters below the ocean’s surface — dubbed the twilight zone because of its largely impenetrable darkness — […]