Ocean ecosystems constitute more than 70% of the Earth’s surface area, and these massive watery habitats are home to some of the smallest organisms on the planet.  These abundant microscopic organisms influence climate through the production and consumption of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide ( CO2).
Since 1988, the Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) program has studied the open ocean waters of the subtropical North Pacific Ocean, one of Earth’s largest ecosystems. More than 25 years of monthly HOT program observations have yielded numerous discoveries on the importance of microorganisms in sustaining Earth’s habitability, including the role these organisms play in the production of oxygen and consumption of  CO2 through photosynthesis. HOT measurements also highlight steady increases in ocean CO2 concentrations and seawater acidity in response to human-derived atmospheric  CO2. Such time series observations are necessary for helping to build understanding of how changes in Earth’s climate are influencing marine life.




The BIOTECH Project has been successful in raising students’ interest and awareness of molecular genetics by partnering with teachers to engage their students in a hands-on approach to understanding biotechnology. Learn more.

Mangrove Lesson

NOAA  Data Resources!

The paths and influences of water through Earth’s ecosystems are extremely complex and not completely understood. NOAA is striving to expand understanding of the water cycle at global to local scales to improve our ability to forecast weather, climate, water resources, and ecosystem health. Learn More.