Woods Hole, MA, United States

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

www.whoi.edu/
Woods Hole, MA, United States

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, nonprofit research and higher education facility dedicated to the study of all aspects of marine science and engineering and to the education of marine researchers. Established in 1930, it is the largest independent oceanographic research institution in the U.S., with staff and students numbering about 1,000. The Institution is organized into six departments, four ocean institutes—ocean life, coastal ocean, ocean and climate change, deep ocean exploration—the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research, and a marine policy center. Its shore-based facilities are located in the village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts, United States and a mile and a half away on the Quissett Campus. The bulk of the Institution's funding comes from grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation and other government agencies, augmented by foundations and private donations.WHOI scientists, engineers, and students collaborate to develop theories, test ideas, build seagoing instruments, and collect data in diverse marine environments. Working in all the world’s oceans, their research agenda includes: geological activity deep within the earth; plant, animal, and microbial populations and their interactions in the ocean; coastal erosion; ocean circulation; ocean pollution; and global climate change.Ships operated by WHOI carry research scientists throughout the world’s oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels , the coastal craft Tioga, small research craft such as the dive-operation work boat Echo, the deep-diving human-occupied submersible Alvin, the tethered, remotely operated vehicle JasonV Knorr, which has been used by WHOI since 1970.WHOI offers graduate and post-graduate studies in marine science. There are several fellowship and trainee-ship programs, and graduate degrees are awarded through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or by the Institution itself. WHOI also offers other outreach programs and informal public education through its Exhibit Center and summer tours. The Institution has a volunteer program and a membership program, WHOI Associates. Wikipedia.

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Patent
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | Date: 2016-08-03

In an in situ interrogation system for multiple wavelength interferometers a fringe spectrum that includes non-quadrature-spaced radiation-intensity samples is analyzed to obtain a high resolution relative phase measurement of the optical path length difference associated with the fringe spectrum. The fringe spectrum can be analyzed to obtain a fringe number and a quadrant as well, which can be combined with the relative phase measurement to obtain a high precision measurement of the absolute optical path length difference. An environmental condition corresponding to the absolute optical path length difference can be measured using the measurement of the absolute optical path length difference including salinity, pressure, density, and refractive index of a medium.


Patent
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | Date: 2015-04-20

A monitoring assembly and method to measure selected properties of water or other amorphous medium, including a carrier suitable for immersion in the medium and a sorbent module, held by the carrier and capable of being exposed to medium of interest, having at least one sorbent material capable of capturing at least a first, target item and a second, reference item from the medium during a sampling period. Preferably, a sensor module measures at least one parameter that is associated with the sampling period for the sorbent module.


Patent
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | Date: 2015-06-24

A submersible thruster, and methods of optimizing and using same, including selecting a motor with an efficiency of greater than 75 percent when operated at 250 rpm immersed in a pressure-resistant fluid, the motor having a drive shaft with a rotor and a stator matched to the rotor, the rotor and the stator being immersed in the pressure-resistant fluid and being separated by a gap less than or equal to 1 mm. The motor is disposed in a housing to isolate the motor components from a liquid environment. A rear portion of the drive shaft extends through a low-friction shaft seal beyond the housing to drive at least one propeller within the liquid environment. Movement of the drive shaft is constrained to a radial and axial play each of less than 0.75 mm. The method further includes operating the motor at less than 50 percent of peak power, wherein said thruster operates at greater than 30 percent end-to-end thrust efficiency within the liquid environment.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-09-2016 | Award Amount: 15.49M | Year: 2016

The overall objective of INTAROS is to develop an integrated Arctic Observation System (iAOS) by extending, improving and unifying existing systems in the different regions of the Arctic. INTAROS will have a strong multidisciplinary focus, with tools for integration of data from atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and terrestrial sciences, provided by institutions in Europe, North America and Asia. Satellite earth observation data plays an increasingly important role in such observing systems, because the amount of EO data for observing the global climate and environment grows year by year. In situ observing systems are much more limited due to logistical constraints and cost limitations. The sparseness of in situ data is therefore the largest gap in the overall observing system. INTAROS will assess strengths and weaknesses of existing observing systems and contribute with innovative solutions to fill some of the critical gaps in the in situ observing network. INTAROS will develop a platform, iAOS, to search for and access data from distributed databases. The evolution into a sustainable Arctic observing system requires coordination, mobilization and cooperation between the existing European and international infrastructures (in-situ and remote including space-based), the modeling communities and relevant stakeholder groups. INTAROS will include development of community-based observing systems, where local knowledge is merged with scientific data. An integrated Arctic Observation System will enable better-informed decisions and better-documented processes within key sectors (e.g. local communities, shipping, tourism, fisheries), in order to strengthen the societal and economic role of the Arctic region and support the EU strategy for the Arctic and related maritime and environmental policies.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-10-2016 | Award Amount: 8.10M | Year: 2016

Blue-Action will provide fundamental and empirically-grounded, executable science that quantifies and explains the role of a changing Arctic in increasing predictive capability of weather and climate of the Northern Hemisphere.To achieve this Blue-Action will take a transdisciplinary approach, bridging scientific understanding within Arctic climate, weather and risk management research, with key stakeholder knowledge of the impacts of climatic weather extremes and hazardous events; leading to the co-design of better services.This bridge will build on innovative statistical and dynamical approaches to predict weather and climate extremes. In dialogue with users, Blue-Arctic will take stock in existing knowledge about cross-sectoral impacts and vulnerabilities with respect to the occurrence of these events when associated to weather and climate predictions. Modeling and prediction capabilities will be enhanced by targeting firstly, lower latitude oceanic and atmospheric drivers of regional Arctic changes and secondly, Arctic impacts on Northern Hemisphere climate and weather extremes. Coordinated multi-model experiments will be key to test new higher resolution model configurations, innovative methods to reduce forecast error, and advanced methods to improve uptake of new Earth observations assets are planned. Blue-Action thereby demonstrates how such an uptake may assist in creating better optimized observation system for various modelling applications. The improved robust and reliable forecasting can help meteorological and climate services to better deliver tailored predictions and advice, including sub-seasonal to seasonal time scales, will take Arctic climate prediction beyond seasons and to teleconnections over the Northern Hemisphere. Blue-Action will through its concerted efforts therefore contribute to the improvement of climate models to represent Arctic warming realistically and address its impact on regional and global atmospheric and oceanic circulation.


Kujawinski E.B.,Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Annual Review of Marine Science | Year: 2011

Microbes mediate global biogeochemical cycles through their metabolism, and all metabolic processes begin with the interaction between the microbial cell wall or membrane and the external environment. For all heterotrophs and many autotrophs, critical growth substrates and factors are present within the dilute and heterogeneous mixture of compounds that constitutes dissolved organic matter (DOM). In short, the microbemolecule interaction is one of the fundamental reactions within the global carbon cycle. Here, I summarize recent findings from studies that examine DOMmicrobe interactions from either the DOM perspective (organic geochemistry) or the microbe perspective (microbial ecology). Gaps in our knowledge are highlighted and future integrative research directions are proposed. Copyright © 2011 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 541.67K | Year: 2017

The lower ocean crust has remained largely unexplored and represents one of the last frontiers for biological exploration on Earth. Preliminary data indicate an active subsurface biosphere in samples of the lower oceanic crust collected from Atlantis Bank in the SW Indian Ocean as deep as 790 m below the seafloor. Even if life exists in only a fraction of the habitable volume where temperatures permit and fluid flow can deliver carbon and energy sources, an active lower oceanic crust biosphere would have implications for deep carbon budgets and yield insights into microbiota that may have existed on early Earth. This is all of great interest to other research disciplines, educators, and students alike. A K-12 education program will capitalize on groundwork laid by outreach collaborator, A. Martinez, a 7th grade teacher in Eagle Pass, TX, who sailed as outreach expert on Drilling Expedition 360. Martinez works at a Title 1 school with ~98% Hispanic and ~2% Native American students and a high number of English Language Learners and migrants. Annual school visits occur during which the project investigators present hands on-activities introducing students to microbiology, and talks on marine microbiology, the project, and how to pursue science related careers. In addition, monthly Skype meetings with students and PIs update them on project progress. Students travel to the University of Texas Marine Science Institute annually, where they get a campus tour and a 3-hour cruise on the R/V Katy, during which they learn about and help with different oceanographic sampling approaches. The project partially supports two graduate students, a Woods Hole undergraduate summer student, the participation of multiple Texas A+M undergraduate students, and 3 principal investigators at two institutions, including one early career researcher who has not previously received NSF support of his own.

Given the dearth of knowledge of the lower oceanic crust, this project is poised to transform our understanding of life in this vast environment. The project assesses metabolic functions within all three domains of life in this crustal biosphere, with a focus on nutrient cycling and evaluation of connections to other deep marine microbial habitats. The lower ocean crust represents a potentially vast biosphere whose microbial constituents and the biogeochemical cycles they mediate are likely linked to deep ocean processes through faulting and subsurface fluid flow. Atlantis Bank represents a tectonic window that exposes lower oceanic crust directly at the seafloor. This enables seafloor drilling and research on an environment that can transform our understanding of connections between the deep subseafloor biosphere and the rest of the ocean. Preliminary analysis of recovered rocks from Expedition 360 suggests the interaction of seawater with the lower oceanic crust creates varied geochemical conditions capable of supporting diverse microbial life by providing nutrients and chemical energy. This project is the first interdisciplinary investigation of the microbiology of all 3 domains of life in basement samples that combines diversity and meta-omics analyses, analysis of nutrient addition experiments, high-throughput culturing and physiological analyses of isolates, including evaluation of their ability to utilize specific carbon sources, Raman spectroscopy, and lipid biomarker analyses. Comparative genomics are used to compare genes and pathways relevant to carbon cycling in these samples to data from published studies of other deep-sea environments. The collected samples present a rare and time-sensitive opportunity to gain detailed insights into microbial life, available carbon and energy sources for this life, and of dispersal of microbiota and connections in biogeochemical processes between the lower oceanic crust and the overlying aphotic water column.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Cooperative Agreement | Program: | Phase: SHIP OPERATIONS | Award Amount: 9.24M | Year: 2016

This award provides funds to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)/ Deep Submergence Facility, which operates the Human Occupied Vehicle (HOV) Alvin, the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Jason II, and the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Sentry as a National Facility (NDSF). The award is for operational funds for the deep submergence science vehicles, listed above, in support of NSF-sponsored research for calendar years 2016-2020. The National Facility, of which the Alvin and Jason are the major vehicles, is supported primarily by NSF, but also by awards from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other federal and non-federal sources. All users of the facility contribute equally to annual operations through a consistent, vehicle-specific, day rate. NSF is the cognizant agency with respect to developing NDSF vehicle day rates.

The vehicles plan a combined 434 operating days in 2016: Alvin 154; Jason 144; and, Sentry 136. NSF plans to support 352 of these days: Alvin 120; Jason, 129; and, Sentry 103.


Doney S.C.,Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Science | Year: 2010

Climate change, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, excess nutrient inputs, and pollution in its many forms are fundamentally altering the chemistry of the ocean, often on a global scale and, in some cases, at rates greatly exceeding those in the historical and recent geological record. Major observed trends include a shift in the acid-base chemistry of seawater, reduced subsurface oxygen both in nearshore coastal water and in the open ocean, rising coastal nitrogen levels, and widespread increase in mercury and persistent organic pollutants. Most of these perturbations, tied either directly or indirectly to human fossil fuel combustion, fertilizer use, and industrial activity, are projected to grow in coming decades, resulting in increasing negative impacts on ocean biota and marine resources. Copyright Science 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.


Coe M.T.,Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences | Year: 2013

A mosaic of protected areas, including indigenous lands, sustainable-use production forests and reserves and strictly protected forests is the cornerstone of conservation in the Amazon, with almost 50 per cent of the region now protected. However, recent research indicates that isolation from direct deforestation or degradation may not be sufficient to maintain the ecological integrity of Amazon forests over the next several decades. Large-scale changes in fire and drought regimes occurring as a result of deforestation and greenhouse gas increases may result in forest degradation, regardless of protected status. How severe or widespread these feedbacks will be is uncertain, but the arc of deforestation in south-southeastern Amazonia appears to be particularly vulnerable owing to high current deforestation rates and ecological sensitivity to climate change. Maintaining forest ecosystem integrity may require significant strengthening of forest conservation on private property, which can in part be accomplished by leveraging existing policy mechanisms.

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