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Jan Newton

Senior Principal Oceanographer

Affiliate Professor, Oceanography






Dr. Jan Newton is a Senior Principal Oceanographer with the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington and an affiliate professor 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. She is a Co-director of the Washington Ocean Acidification Center and the Co-chair of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network.

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.

Department Affiliation

Ocean Physics


B.S. Biology, Western Washington University, 1981

M.S. Oceanography, University of Washington - Seattle, 1984

Ph.D. Oceanography, University of Washington - Seattle, 1989


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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VOICES of NANOOS Celebrating 20 Years of Collaboration & Innovation

NANOOS has served the citizenry of the Pacific Northwest by integrating ocean observing assets, data management systems, and models to yield information products that diverse coastal communities use to ensure safety, to build economic resilience, and to increase understanding of the coastal ocean.

Reflecting on the history of NANOOS, we wanted to tell the story through all the people who make up NANOOS — partners and folks who use our products. Listen to their voices.

17 Aug 2023

Ocean Acidification: Co-designing data connections to underserved communities for equitable outcomes

A global collaborative team advances momentum around science-based innovative solutions related to global ocean action within the United Nation's sustainable development goals.

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27 Jul 2022

The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) program for Ocean Acidification Research and Sustainability (OARS) raises local voices, especially those of indigenous, small island, and developing states that depend on ocean-based economies for survival. Now over 900 scientists from 100 nations are co-designing activities for adaptation and response strategies on local scales to advance United Nations sustainability goals.
More: www.goa-on.org/oars/overview.php

Backyard Buoys: Equipping Underserved Communities with Ocean Intelligence Platforms

Backyard Buoys is a new community-led project funded by the National Science Foundation's Convergence Accelerator program. This critical initiative empowers Indigenous coastal communities to collect and use ocean data to bolster maritime activities, food security, and coastal hazard protection. Oceanographic buoys deployed in Alaska, the Pacific Islands, and along the Washington coast, will provide accessible and actionable ocean data that bridges to Indigenous knowledge via a web-based application. Post-deployment, a sustainable and Indigenous community-led stewardship program will oversee management of the buoys.

15 Jun 2022

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2000-present and while at APL-UW

Seasonality and response of ocean acidification and hypoxia to major environmental anomalies in the southern Salish Sea, North America (2014–2018)

Alin, S.R., J.A. Newton, R.A. Feely, S. Siedlecki, and D. Greeley, "Seasonality and response of ocean acidification and hypoxia to major environmental anomalies in the southern Salish Sea, North America (2014–2018)," Biogeosciences, 21, 1639-1673, doi:10.5194/bg-21-1639-2024, 2024.

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4 Apr 2024

Coastal and estuarine ecosystems fringing the North Pacific Ocean are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification, hypoxia, and intense marine heatwaves as a result of interactions among natural and anthropogenic processes. Here, we characterize variability during a seasonally resolved cruise time series (2014–2018) in the southern Salish Sea (Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca) and nearby coastal waters for select physical (temperature, T; salinity, S) and biogeochemical (oxygen, O2; carbon dioxide fugacity, fCO2; aragonite saturation state) parameters. Medians for some parameters peaked (T, aragonite) in surface waters in summer, whereas others (S, O2, fCO2) changed progressively across spring–fall, and all parameters changed monotonically or were relatively stable at depth. Ranges varied considerably for all parameters across basins within the study region, with stratified basins consistently the most variable. Strong environmental anomalies occurred during the time series, allowing us to also qualitatively assess how these anomalies affected seasonal patterns and interannual variability. The peak temperature anomaly associated with the 2013–2016 northeast Pacific marine heatwave–El Niño event was observed in boundary waters during the October 2014 cruise, but Puget Sound cruises revealed the largest temperature increases during the 2015–2016 timeframe. The most extreme hypoxia and acidification measurements to date were recorded in Hood Canal (which consistently had the most extreme conditions) during the same period; however, they were shifted earlier in the year relative to previous events. During autumn 2017, after the heat anomaly, a distinct carbonate system anomaly with unprecedentedly low aragonite values and high fCO2 values occurred in parts of the southern Salish Sea that are not normally so acidified. This novel "CO2 storm" appears to have been driven by anomalously high river discharge earlier in 2017, which resulted in enhanced stratification and inferred primary productivity anomalies, indicated by persistently and anomalously high O2, low fCO2, and high chlorophyll. Unusually, this CO2 anomaly was decoupled from O2 dynamics compared with past Salish Sea hypoxia and acidification events. The complex interplay of weather, hydrological, and circulation anomalies revealed distinct multi-stressor scenarios that will potentially affect regional ecosystems under a changing climate. Further, the frequencies at which Salish cruise observations crossed known or preliminary species' sensitivity thresholds illustrates the relative risk landscape of temperature, hypoxia, and acidification anomalies in the southern Salish Sea in the present day, with implications for how multiple stressors may combine to present potential migration, survival, or physiological challenges to key regional species.

Phenotypic plasticity and carryover effects in an ecologically important bivalve in response to changing environments

Alma, L., P. McElhany, R.N. Crim, J.A. Newton, M. Maher, J.B. Mickett, and J.L. Padilla-Gamino, "Phenotypic plasticity and carryover effects in an ecologically important bivalve in response to changing environments," Front. Mar. Sci., 11, doi:10.3389/fmars.2024.1178507, 2024.

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13 Mar 2024

Phenotypic plasticity can improve an organism’s fitness when exposed to novel environmental conditions or stress associated with climate change. Our study analyzed spatiotemporal differences in phenotypic plasticity and offspring performance in Olympia oysters Ostrea lurida. This species is an ecosystem engineer and is of great interest for commercial and restoration aquaculture. We used a multidisciplinary approach to examine acute and long-term physiological differences in O. lurida in response to in situ oceanographic conditions in a dynamic inland sea. We outplanted oysters to different areas in Puget Sound, Washington, affixing cages to anchor lines of oceanographic monitoring buoys. This allowed us to couple high-resolution oceanographic data with organism's phenotypic response. To assess spatiotemporal differences in oyster physiological performance, we collected oysters after six-months and one year of acclimatization at four field sites. During each collection period we evaluated changes in shell properties, diet, metabolism, and reproduction. Adult growth, δ13°C and δ15°N isotopic signatures, and gametogenesis were affected by both seasonal and environmental conditions. In the winter, oysters from all sites had higher respiration rates when exposed to acute thermal stress, and lower respiration response to acute pH stress. Lipid content, sex ratio and shell strength were unchanged across locations. Offspring growth rates between sites at experimental temperature 20°C closely reflected parental growth rate patterns. Offspring survival was not correlated with growth rates suggesting different energetic trade-offs in oyster offspring. The metabolic response (respiration) of larvae reached its highest point at 20°C but sharply decreased at 25°C. This indicates that larvae are more sensitive to temperature stress, as adults did not exhibit a reduction in metabolic response at 25°C. By deploying genetically similar oysters into distinct environments and employing a wide range of physiological methodologies to examine performance and fitness, our results indicate that Olympia oysters exhibit a high degree of phenotypic plasticity and show evidence of parental carryover.

A decade-long cruise time series (2008-2018) of physical and biogeochemical conditions in the southern Salish Sea, North America

Alin, S.R., J.A. Newton, R.A. Feely, D. Greeley, B. Curry, J. Herndon, and M. Warner, "A decade-long cruise time series (2008-2018) of physical and biogeochemical conditions in the southern Salish Sea, North America," Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 16, 837-865, doi:10.5194/essd-16-837-2024, 2024.

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8 Feb 2024

Coastal and estuarine waters of the northern California Current system and southern Salish Sea host an observational network capable of characterizing biogeochemical dynamics related to ocean acidification, hypoxia, and marine heatwaves. Here, we compiled data sets from a set of cruises conducted in estuarine waters of Puget Sound (southern Salish Sea) and its boundary waters (Strait of Juan de Fuca and Washington coast). This data product provides data from a decade of cruises with consistent formatting, extended data quality control, and multiple units for parameters such as oxygen with different end use needs and conventions. All cruises obtained high-quality temperature, salinity, inorganic carbon, nutrient, and oxygen observations to provide insight into the dynamic distribution of physical and biogeochemical conditions in this large urban estuary complex on the west coast of North America. At all sampling stations, conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) casts included sensors for measuring temperature, conductivity, pressure, and oxygen concentrations. Laboratory analyses of discrete water samples collected at all stations throughout the water column in Niskin bottles provided measurements of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), dissolved oxygen, nutrient (nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, phosphate, and silicate), and total alkalinity (TA) content. This data product includes observations from 35 research cruises, including 715 oceanographic profiles, with >7490 sensor measurements of temperature, salinity, and oxygen; 6070 measurements of discrete oxygen and nutrient samples; and 4462 measurements of inorganic carbon variables (i.e., DIC and TA). The observations comprising this cruise compilation collectively characterize the spatial and temporal variability in a region with large dynamic ranges of the physical and biogeochemical parameters central to understanding ocean acidification and hypoxia in this productive estuary system with numerous interacting human impacts on its ecosystems. All observations conform to the climate-quality observing guidelines of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Ocean Acidification Program, and ocean carbon community best practices. This ongoing cruise time series supports the estuarine and coastal monitoring and research objectives of the Washington Ocean Acidification Center and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean and Atmospheric Research programs, and it provides diverse end users with the information needed to frame biological impacts research, validate numerical models, inform state and tribal water quality and fisheries management, and support decision-makers.

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In The News

UW Experts Offer Hot Takes on El Niño, Weather and Ocean Temperatures

UW News

FIve UW researchers comment on the current El Niño, its effect on weather in the Pacific Northwest, as well as on regional and global ocean temperature trends.

25 Oct 2023

An ocean heat wave comes to Pacific Northwest shores

KUOW-FM (radio), John Ryan

Water temperatures in much of the world hit record highs this year but northwest coastal waters bucked that trend until the past few weeks. A heat wave that stayed far out in the Pacific Ocean has come ashore.

1 Aug 2023

Northwest waters buck global heating trend (for now)

KUOW, John Ryan

The seas of the world have been warming for decades as atmospheric pollution traps more heat both in the air and underwater. Much of the U.S. West Coast is bucking the global trend this spring, with sea water staying cooler than its 30-year average.

5 May 2023

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