The Ocean Life Institute (OLI) supports groundbreaking basic research related to conservation science and biodiversity in marine ecosystems. We support WHOI scientists through OLI fellowships, postdoctoral and graduate student awards, and research grants. OLI-sponsored research during 2010 was aligned with targeted themes of biodiversity in the ocean, the health of marine ecosystems, and new tools for ocean biology.
Research initiated with OLI funding over the past year include the use of high throughput DNA sequencing techniques to examine biodiversity and phylogenetics of fungi from Delaware Bay, a new laser-based method for visualizing movements of microscopic zooplankton, the influence of the Gulf Stream on silver hake distributions, and the effect of unique temperature and salinity “staircases” on zooplankton distributions in the tropical northwest Atlantic Ocean. New research on marine mammals was also supported by OLI to examine acoustic prey recognition by toothed whales and to refine passive listening devices for remotely monitoring marine mammals.
Research fellows Marco Coolen and Mak Saito continued their cutting-edge research on ancient DNA in marine sediments and ocean carbon and nitrogen cycling, respectively. An OLI-sponsored WHOI postdoctoral fellow, Amy Apprill, identified unique microbial communities associated with the skin of healthy and stressed humpback whales. Finally, OLI support to MIT/WHOI Joint Program students Joanna Gyory and Maya Yamato assisted with studies of planktonic larvae of coastal invertebrates and the morphology of auditory systems in baleen whales.
In addition to supporting individual-based research, OLI has worked on two new initiatives:
—Simon Thorrold, Institute Director