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How can I get involved?

As we come to the end of the MOOC, perhaps you are wondering how you can help to protect our seas and get involved with ocean science. First and foremost, take a few simple steps to minimise the effect YOU have on the oceans – there’s a great list of simple things you can do (and avoid doing!) here: http://www.wildlifetrusts. Continue reading →

Estuaries: Gateways to the sea

Until I moved to Southampton for my PhD, I had no idea how interesting estuaries are. Here, I want to give you a better idea of the chemistry going on in these fascinating gateways to the sea. Estuaries deliver sediments from rivers into the ocean, but they actually receive even more sediment back from the ocean. This means that all estuaries are slowly being filled in with sediment. Continue reading →

My Research, Part 2

Hi everyone! My name is Heather and I’m studying chromium isotopes in seawater for my PhD. There is only a tiny amount of chromium in seawater, but its isotopes behave in an interesting way when exposed to different levels of oxygen. This behaviour might be useful as an indirect measure of oxygen levels in the oceans or atmosphere, so it is hoped that chromium stored in sediments can be used to find out more about past climates. You can find a more detailed introduction to my research here. Continue reading →

Heather Goring-Harford: What do the oceans mean to me?

I was born and raised in London. I didn’t live near the coast and I certainly never knew anybody - sailor, scientist or otherwise - who had much to do with the oceans. So I have often reflected that it is strange that I’ve been so strongly drawn to the seas from a young age. Nowadays I live and breathe them, seven days a week! Why am I so intrigued by the oceans and what do they mean to me? One answer is complexity. Continue reading →

Ocean acidification: An experiment to try at home

Ocean acidification: An experiment to try at home You are probably already aware of the concerns surrounding global warming, caused by the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels. Rising temperatures threaten to cause changes in sea level, ocean circulation and even dissolved oxygen levels. But how do CO2 emissions affect the chemistry of our oceans? It is thought that the oceans have absorbed up to half of the CO2 emitted by burning fossil fuels. Continue reading →

Our colourful oceans

You might have wondered why the sea is blue. Or if you spend a lot of time at British coastlines, you might have wondered (longingly) why it isn’t! Both questions are interesting because the answers draw from our knowledge of physics, chemistry and biology. On the most basic level, water is blue because of the way it interacts with light. When light hits the surface of the ocean, three things can happen to it: 1. Absorption. Continue reading →

My Research: Heather Goring-Harford

I am a chemistry graduate who has moved into the ocean and earth sciences for my PhD. As a chemist, I have some specialist skills and knowledge which are particularly useful for investigating how chemical elements behave in the oceans. For my PhD project I am studying how chromium stored in ancient rocks can be used as a tool to measure oxygen levels in past oceans. Chromium is weathered from rocks, transported by rivers into the sea and deposited in ocean sediments. Continue reading →