Director of Research

Ocean Institutes

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is determined to set and lead an ambitious agenda for future ocean research to benefit society. In 2000, we established four Ocean Institutes encompassing areas of significant concern to the public and policymakers.

The Ocean Institutes’ goals are to close gaps that hinder scientific discoveries, and to convey discoveries expeditiously into the public realm.

To build bridges between different scientific disciplines, the Ocean Institutes will bring together the best minds across the full spectrum of oceanographic and other relevant fields—to catalyze innovative thinking and collaboration that can open up wholly new scientific vistas.

The Ocean Institutes’ concurrent mission is to shorten the lag time between acquiring knowledge and making it accessible to decision-makers who can use it to save lives, stimulate economic growth, and enhance our quality of life.

And finally, the Ocean Institutes provide a necessary impetus of private resources, over and above traditional governmental support, to launch high-risk, high-reward research that would not otherwise get off the ground—or in the water.
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Coastal waters are the most vital—and vulnerable—regions on Earth. (©right;DigitalVision)

Coastal Ocean Institute

And Rinehart Coastal Research Center

The Coastal Ocean Institute and Rinehart Coastal Research Center promotes scientific inquiry into the phenomena that shape our coastal waters and ecosystems. Through grant programs, scientific gatherings, and state-of-the-art facilities, the Institute encourages innovative, interdisciplinary research and high-risk technology development to improve our understanding of the fundamental processes at work in the coastal ocean. COI strives to translate the results of this basic research for citizens and policymakers, while providing a solid information base for better resource management.

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The clues to understanding our planet's inner workings lie beneath the oceans.

Deep Ocean Exploration Institute

Investigating Earth's Dynamic Processes

The Deep Ocean Exploration Institute (DOEI) seeks to understand how Earth works. The Institute’s goal is to promote interdisciplinary investigations of planetary processes occurring in the deep oceans and within the planet’s interior. These processes help to regulate the chemistry of the oceans, determine the nature of magmatic activity observed on Earth’s surface, and impact microbiological, chemical, and geological processes that shape the Earth and affect its inhabitants. Development of technology that provides access to the seafloor for exploration of the dynamic regions below it is a key component of the Institute's activities. Through deep ocean exploration, the Institute seeks scientific discoveries that provide a fuller understanding of the planet for the benefit of humankind.

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The oceans and atmosphere are partners in creating Earth's climate.

Ocean and Climate Change Institute

The Ocean and Climate Change Institute:

• identifies the climatic effects of changing ocean circulation
• develops an ocean-monitoring network to forecast climate changes
• examines past records to expand understanding of ocean behavior
• studies ocean dynamics that may trigger large, abrupt climate shifts
•evaluates the ocean’s response to the buildup of greenhouse gases

The oceans store a thousand times more heat than the atmosphere. They circulate this heat around the planet in shifting patterns that dramatically affect world and regional climates—on time scales ranging from days (storms and hurricanes), to seasons (monsoons), to years (El Niños), to centuries (“little ice ages”).

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A DIVE TO SURVIVE—A North Atlantic right whale dives in search of food near Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy, Canada. (Photo by Michael Moore, WHOI)

Ocean Life Institute

The Ocean Life Institute is one of four ocean institutes WHOI established in 2000 that encompass areas of significant concern to the public and policymakers. The Institutes' goals are to close gaps that hinder scientific discoveries and to convey discoveries expeditiously into the public realm.

The Ocean Life Institute's mission is to launch high-risk, high-reward research that would not otherwise get off the ground—or in the water. The OLI builds bridges between different scientific disciplines to catalyze innovative thinking and collaboration that can open up wholly new scientific vistas.

A center of action and source of information about the ocean, the OLI focuses its activity on research themes. It convenes meetings of key scientists and leaders from academia, government, and industry to delve into oceanographic research issues that have significant bearing on society. These experts assess our current state of knowledge on the issues, identify what we need to know and how we can best attain that knowledge, explore the consequences of various plans of action, and inspire necessary and promising areas of further research.

Last updated: August 3, 2007