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MSC Research
Over the last 50 years, our researchers in Nahant have conducted groundbreaking work in the fields of marine and environmental science and coastal sustainability. This important work continues to have positive impacts on coastal regions around the world.
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Queen Angelfish

Northeastern divers combed Cozumel's coral reef for exotic species. Here's what they found, and why it matters

A massive Nassau grouper, four species of black corals, and a spotted drum fish were among the aquatic treasures Northeastern divers found on their expedition to Cozumel, Mexico. The trip laid the groundwork for Northeastern students and researchers to plan future expeditions to Cozumel.

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Ocean Genome Legacy

Northeastern University collection preserves thousands of ocean species that may go extinct

Northeastern’s Ocean Genome Legacy maintains a collection of marine DNA and tissue samples that is unlike anything else in the world.

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Samuel Munoz studies a core sample.

Mississippi River keeps flooding and humans are to blame, data show

After billions of dollars spent on navigation and flood mitigation infrastructure over the past 150 years, humans have transformed the Mississippi River. But it still floods, and in fact, human activity has dramatically increased the risk of a 100-year flood, according to new research by Northeastern geoscientist Samuel Munoz and his colleagues.

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Aron Stubbins

The coldest rivers on Earth may hold clues about a warming globe

New faculty member Aron Stubbins studies how carbon moves off the land into rivers, where it eventually gets converted into carbon dioxide-a greenhouse gas that's causing global warming.

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Intertidal

Researchers use ‘robomussels’ to monitor climate change

For ecological forecasters like Northeastern’s Brian Helmuth, mussels act as a barometer of climate change. That’s why Helmuth created “robomussels”—tiny robots that look like mussels but are outfitted with sensors to track temperature conditions.

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6 pack ring

Three ways the Northeastern community is addressing ocean plastics pollution

A big emphasis of World Oceans Day this year is bringing awareness to the problem of marine plastic pollution. Members of the Northeastern community are already focused on this challenge by building sustainable skateboards, visualizing ocean plastics data, and building sensors to identify microplastics in the sea.

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A love affair with the ocean

Pursing a career in marine science requires a deep affection for aquatic environments. So we asked faculty and staff at Northeastern’s Marine Science Center what they find so fascinating about the ocean.

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Jennifer Bowen

The ecosystems ecologist, a wonderer at heart

Associate professor Jennifer Bowen, a new faculty member at Northeastern’s Marine Science Center, studies the interconnectedness between human activity and some of the world’s tiniest inhabitants—microbes—nestled in marine environments.

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Sea acorn colony on a stone

Underwater crustaceans could solve missing plane mystery

As authorities continue to debate the topic, marine science expert Brian Helmuth explains how barnacles on a recently discovered fragment of an airplane wing could help investigators determine if the debris came from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

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Conch

Carnivorous conchs to blame for oyster decline

David Kimbro, a marine and environmental science professor at Northeastern University, has solved the mystery of why reefs in Florida inlets were experiencing large numbers of oyster loss. Drought and subsequent high salt levels in water led to a population spike in one of the oysters’ main predators: conchs.

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Squat Lobster

Marine biologists develop portable kit to preserve coral DNA at sea

Coral DNA could improve ocean conservation and reveal secrets about our own evolutionary history. Researchers at Northeastern’s Marine Science Center have made it easy to extract coral tissue aboard a ship and preserve the DNA for analysis.

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Kathleen Lotterhaus

Marine scientist uses genetics to inform conservation

New assistant professor Kathleen Lotterhos of Northeastern’s Marine Science Center uncovers clues to environmental sustainability by using genetic analyses to study species from pine trees to Pacific rockfish.

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Dan Distel

Researchers discover new digestive strategy in shipworms

An international research team led by Dan Distel, director of the Ocean Genome Legacy at Northeastern University, has discovered a novel digestive strategy in a wood-boring clam. The breakthrough, the researchers say, may also be a game-changer for the industrial production of clean biofuels.

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Deep Blue

Rare biorepository finds new home at Marine Science Center

A collection of DNA samples featuring some of the world’s most rare, strange, and remarkable ocean creatures will move to Northeastern’s world-class coastal research facility later this year

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Marine Science Center works to protect oceans’ ‘vital role in sustaining life on earth’

In honor of World Oceans Day, we spoke with Marine Science Center director Geoff Trussell about ocean conservation and what the MSC is doing to help protect our marine ecosystem.

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Professor to speak at UN General Assembly on climate change, sustainable development

Climate change biologist Brian Helmuth will speak today at a high-level meeting at the United Nations headquarters, where he will highlight his research and participate in a discussion on efforts worldwide to address climate change and meet global sustainable development goals.

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Giant Shipworm

‘Unicorn’ shipworm could reveal clues about human medicine and bacterial infections

Northeastern professor Daniel Distel and his colleagues have discovered a dark slithering creature four feet long that dwells in the foul mud of a remote lagoon in the Philippines. They say studying the giant shipworm could add to our understanding of how bacteria cause infections and, in turn, how we might adapt to tolerate—and even benefit from—them.

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