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Jonathan Sanderman’s work on soils using RPO

May 6, 2020

Jon Sanderman visited the lab in 2019 to use the RPO on a series of soil profiles sampled decadally since the 1960’s. Did you know that the RPO was originally called the dirt burner? His paper is now out: Ramped thermal analysis for isolating biologically meaningful soil organic matter fractions with distinct residence times


New publications from two former NOSAMS guest students

May 1, 2020

Jessie Pearl started as a MIT/WHOI joint program student under Jeff Donnelly and Kevin Anchukaitis.  Jessie worked with NOSAMS to do help develop reconnaissance radiocarbon dating- a method to get quick radiocarbon results at a lower cost and at a reduced precision- for organic carbon samples.  She finished her PhD at the University of Arizona and her work on the Atlantic white cedar, A late Holocene subfossil Atlantic white cedar tree-ring chronology from the northeastern United States, is now published.  Jessie is now a post doc with the USGS at their Seattle Office.

Reference: Jessie K. Pearl, Kevin J. Anchukaitis, Jeffrey P. Donnelly, Charlotte Pearson, Neil Pederson, Mary C. Lardie Gaylord, Ann P. McNichol, Edward R. Cook, George L. Zimmermann, A late Holocene subfossil Atlantic white cedar tree-ring chronology from the northeastern United States, Quaternary Science Reviews, Volume 228, 2020, 106104, ISSN 0277-3791


Beverly Barnett, a graduate student at the University of Florida, came to NOSAMS as a graduate student intern.  She analyzed radiocarbon in chronological layers of fish otoliths and eye lenses to develop natural, permanent biogeochemical markers of petrocarbon in the northern Gulf of Mexico food web following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Her most recent work was published earlier this year: Life history of northern Gulf of Mexico Warsaw grouper Hyporthodus nigritus inferred from otolith radiocarbon analysis.

Reference: Barnett BK, Chanton JP, Ahrens R, Thornton L, Patterson WF III (2020) Life history of northern Gulf of Mexico Warsaw grouper Hyporthodus nigritus inferred from otolith radiocarbon analysis. PLOS ONE 15(1): e0228254.

COVID-19 Update

April 13, 2020
NOSAMS is open and operating with minimal staff while respecting conservative social distancing as outlined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and WHOI policies. We are accepting and processing samples and do not expect an increase in turnaround times as a result of COVID-19. We welcome questions or comments at

The Atlantic highlights NOSAMS in an article about nuclear weapons testing

March 5, 2020

The Atlantic writer Carl Zimmer writes about the events that lead to the radiocarbon “bomb spike”, the lasting mark it has left in this world, and how scientists are studying it.  The article features work from Researcher Mary Lardie Gaylord et al. and their work on radiocarbon dating tree rings on a European beech tree in Woods Hole.

Nuclear Tests Marked Life on Earth With a Radioactive Spike , By Carl Zimmer

“Even as it disappears, the “bomb spike” is revealing the ways humans have reshaped the planet.”

Understanding the age structure and population dynamics of harvested fish is crucial for sustainability, especially in fisheries.

October 15, 2019

Alec Lackmann et al. report on the oldest freshwater teleosts:

Bigmouth Buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus sets freshwater teleost record as improved age analysis reveals centenarian longevity

Hurricane Clues from a Caribbean Blue Hole

July 23, 2019

Scientists look to sediment cores from Caicos Island to gain insights about a monster, modern-day hurricane.  Read More…

NOSAMS staff tag along WHOI’s Geodynamics Program

June 24, 2019

Research Assistants Lily Sanborn and Mary Lardie Gaylord joined the Geodynamics program to Newfoundland, Canada to learn more about North Atlantic Climate & Civilization.  They and other students explored how changes in North Atlantic ocean circulation, considered by many as the major driver of global climate, had influenced human exploration and colonization.  The study tour to Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, (June 6 -14) taught them how the glacial geology of the landscape was shaped by melting ice sheets at the end of last ice age.  The group also explored the only North American Viking settlement, a 15th century Basque Whaling site, hiked in Gros Morne National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and saw icebergs first-hand!

Why did an entire civilization vanish?

June 14, 2019

Four thousand years ago, the Harappan civilization thrived in what is now modern-day Pakistan. By 1800 BC their cities were abandoned. Now a team of scientists think they have discovered where they went.

This video highlights the work of WHOI scientist Liviu Giosan and some members of NOSAMS (where his samples were analyzed).

Video>> Why did an entire civilization die?

Who is WHOI?

October 2, 2018

Who is WHOI?  is a short video highlighting different scientists and answering  what it means to work for WHOI.  Look for NOSAMS staff throughout the film: 00:56 Kalina Gospodinova, 00:59 Josh Burton and Brett Longworth, 01:07 Josh Burton, 03:27 Josh Burton, 04:05 Anne Cruz.

NOSAMS is on Twitter

June 20, 2018

Please follow the latest news and updates from our lab on Twitter: @NOSAMSLab