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Jan Newton

Senior Principal Oceanographer

Affiliate Assistant Professor, Oceanography






Dr. Jan Newton is a Principal Oceanographer with the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington and affiliate faculty with the UW School of Oceanography and the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, both in the UW College of the Environment. She is the Executive Director of the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS), the US IOOS Regional Association for the Pacific Northwest.

Jan is a biological oceanographer who has studied the physical, chemical, and biological dynamics of Puget Sound and coastal Washington, including understanding effects from climate and humans on water properties. Currently she has been working with colleagues at UW and NOAA to assess the status of ocean acidification in our local waters.


Washington Real-time Coastal Moorings (NEMO)

The Northwest Enhanced Moored Observatory (NEMO), which consists of a heavily-instrumented real-time surface mooring (Cha Ba), a real-time subsurface profiling mooring (NEMO-Subsurface) and a Seaglider to collect spatial information, aims to improve our understanding of complex physical, chemical and biological processes on the largely unsampled Washington shelf.

27 Sep 2011

NVS: NANOOS Visualization System

The NANOOS Visualization System (NVS) is your tool for easy access to data. NVS gathers data across a wide range of assets such as buoys, shore stations, and coastal land-based stations. Never before available downloads and visualizations are provided in a consistent format. You can access plots and data for almost all in-situ assets for the previous 30-day period.

2 Nov 2009

NANOOS: Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems

This Pacific Northwest regional association is a partnership of information producers and users allied to manage coastal ocean observing systems for the benefit of stakeholders and the public. NANOOS is creating customized information and tools for Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.

1 Jan 2004

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Environmental Sample Processor: A Sentry for Toxic Algal Blooms off the Washington Coast

An undersea robot that measures harmful algal species has been deployed by APL, UW, and NOAA researchers off the Washington coast near La Push. Algal bloom toxicity data are relayed to shore in near-real time and displayed through the NANOOS visualization system. The Environmental Sample Processor, or ESP, is taking measurements near the Juan de Fuca eddy, which is a known incubation site for toxic blooms that often travel toward coastal beaches, threatening fisheries and human health.

22 Jun 2016

ORCA Tracks the 'Blob'

A 'blob' of very warm surface water developed in the northeastern Pacific Ocean in 2014–2015 and its influence extended to the inland waters of Puget Sound throughout the summer of 2015. The unprecedented conditions were tracked by the ORCA (Oceanic Remote Chemical Analyzer) buoy network — an array of six heavily instrumented moored buoys in the Sound. ORCA data provided constant monitoring of evolving conditions and allowed scientists to warn of possible fish kill events in the oxygen-starved waters of Hood Canal well in advance.

The ORCA network is maintained by a partnership among APL-UW, the UW College of the Environment, and the UW School of Oceanography.

3 Nov 2015

NEMO Deployment off the Washington Coast 2015

NEMO is the Northwest Enhanced Moored Observatory. The two advanced moorings located in water about 100 m deep off the Washington coast and a repeating Seaglider transect over the continental shelf have been collecting atmospheric and oceanographic data for over five years.

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15 Jul 2015

In 2015 pH/CO2 sensors were placed on the moorning line. NOAA and other research teams have been measuring pCO2 and pH at the sea surface, but this is the first placement of sensors at depth in the region. These new data streams will increase the perspective of real time monitoring and inform ongoing research on ocean acidification.

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2000-present and while at APL-UW

New ocean, new needs: Application of pteropod shell dissolution as a biological indicator for marine resource management

Bednaršek, N., and 7 others including J. Newton, "New ocean, new needs: Application of pteropod shell dissolution as a biological indicator for marine resource management," Ecol. Indic., 76, 240-244, doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.01.025, 2017.

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1 May 2017

Pteropods, planktonic marine snails with a cosmopolitan distribution, are highly sensitive to changing ocean chemistry. Graphical abstract shows pteropod responses to be related to aragonite saturation state, with progressing decrease in Ωar causing deteriorating biological conditions. Under high saturation state (Ωar > 1.1; zone 0), pteropods are healthy with no presence of stress or shell dissolution. With decreasing Ωar (zone 1), pteropod stress is demonstrated through increased dissolution and reduced calcification. At Ωar < 0.8 (zones 2 and 3), severe dissolution and absence of calcification prevail; the impairment is followed by significant damages. Pteropods responses to OA are closely correlated to shell dissolution that is characterized by clearly delineated thresholds. Yet the practical utility of these species as indicators of the status of marine ecosystem integrity has been overlooked. Here, we set out the scientific and policy rationales for the use of pteropods as a biological indicator appropriate for low-cost assessment of the effect of anthropogenic ocean acidification (OA) on marine ecosystems. While no single species or group of species can adequately capture all aspects of ecosystem change, pteropods are sensitive, specific, quantifiable indicators of OA’s effects on marine biota. In an indicator screening methodology, shell dissolution scored highly compared to other indicators of marine ecological integrity. As the socio-economic challenges of changing ocean chemistry continue to grow in coming decades, the availability of such straightforward and sensitive metrics of impact will become indispensable. Pteropods can be a valuable addition to suites of indicators intended to support OA water quality assessment, ecosystem-based management, policy development, and regulatory applications.

Estimating total alkalinity in the Washington State coastal zone: Complexities and surprising utility for ocean acidification research

Fassbender, A.J., S.R. Alin, R.A. Feely, A.J. Sutton, J.A. Newton, and R.H. Byrne, "Estimating total alkalinity in the Washington State coastal zone: Complexities and surprising utility for ocean acidification research," Estuar. Coast., 40, 404–418, doi:10.1007/s12237-016-0168-z, 2017.

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1 Mar 2017

Evidence of ocean acidification (OA) throughout the global ocean has galvanized some coastal communities to evaluate carbonate chemistry variations closer to home. An impediment to doing this effectively is that, often, only one carbonate system parameter is measured at a time, while two are required to fully constrain the inorganic carbon chemistry of seawater. In order to leverage the abundant single-carbonate-parameter datasets in Washington State for more rigorous OA research, we have characterized an empirical relationship between total alkalinity (TA) and salinity for regional surface waters that is robust in the salinity range from 20 to 35 for all seasons. The relationship was evaluated using 5 years of 3-h contemporaneous observations of salinity, carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2), and pH from a surface mooring on the outer coast of Washington. In situ pCO2 observations and salinity-based estimates of TA were used to calculate pH for comparison with in situ pH measurements. On average, the calculated pH values were 0.02 units lower than the measured pH values across multiple pH sensor deployments and showed extremely high fidelity in tracking the measured high-frequency pH variations. Our results indicate that the TA-salinity relationship will be a useful tool for expanding single-carbonate-parameter datasets in Washington State and quality controlling dual pCO2-pH time series.

The carbonate chemistry of the 'Fattening Line', Willapa Bay, 2011-2014

Hales, B., A. Suhrbier, G.G. Waldbusser, R.A. Feely, and J.A. Newton, "The carbonate chemistry of the 'Fattening Line', Willapa Bay, 2011-2014," Estuar. Coast., 40, 173-186, doi:10.1007/s12237-016-0136-7, 2017.

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1 Jan 2017

Willapa Bay has received a great deal of attention in the context of rising atmospheric CO2 and the concomitant effects of changes in bay carbonate chemistry, referred to as ocean acidification, and the potential effects on the bay’s naturalized Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) population and iconic oyster farming industry. Competing environmental stressors, historical variability in the oyster settlement record, and the absence of adequate historical observations of bay-water carbonate chemistry all conspire to cast confusion regarding ocean acidification as the culprit for recent failures in oyster larval settlement. We present the first measurements of the aqueous CO2 partial pressure (PCO2) and the total dissolved carbonic acid (TCO2) at the "fattening line," a location in the bay that has been previously identified as optimal for both larval oyster retention and growth, and collocated with a long historical time series of larval settlement. Samples were collected from early 2011 through late 2014. These measurements allow the first rigorous characterization of Willapa Bay aragonite mineral saturation state (Ωar), which has been shown to be of leading importance in determining the initial shell formation and growth of larval Crassostrea gigas. Observations show that the bay is usually below Ωar levels that have been associated with poor oyster hatchery production and with chronic effects noted in experimental work. Bay water only briefly rises to favorable Ωar levels and does so out of phase with optimal thermal conditions for spawning. Thermal and carbonate conditions are thus coincidentally favorable for early larval development for only a few weeks at a time each year. The limited concurrent exceedance of thermal and Ωar thresholds suggests the likelihood of high variability in settlement success, as seen in the historical record; however, estimates of the impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 suggest that pre-industrial Ωar conditions were more persistently favorable for larval development and more broadly coincident with thermal optima.

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In The News

Partnering with indigenous communities to anticipate and adapt to ocean change

UW News, Samantha Larson

Ocean acidification is changing the chemistry of Washington coastal waters, putting many species — and the human communities that depend upon them — under threat. "The goal of this project is to marry two currently disparate data sets; ocean chemistry and biological data collected by natural scientists, and social science data that includes how people use the resources that may be impacted," said Jan Newton.

21 Mar 2018

Charting Changes: NOAA’s plans for the future of charts (Poll)

Three Sheets Northwest, Stuart Scadron-Wattles

Have you ever wondered why your depth sounder and chart do not agree on the suitability of a planned anchorage, or why all of the charts you have onboard show four mooring balls in that remote island cove you’ve chosen for the night and there are only two—both of them occupied? If so, you might be interested in the plans that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (or NOAA’s) Office of Coast Survey has for the future of coastal navigation. As it turns out, they are interested in hearing what you think as well.

4 May 2017

Phytoplankton bloom turns Washington state fjord milky

United Press International, Brooks Hays

Prime phytoplankton conditions have coalesced in a slim finger of the Puget Sound, encouraging an explosion of microorganisms that's turned the water a milky turquoise.

29 Jul 2016

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