Director of Research


What is Informatics?

Informatics is more than computer science or information technology. Informatics can be described as the science and technology that transforms data into information and knowledge. It refers to the structures, behavior and interactions of systems that store, process, and communicate information contained within the physical and other sciences. Example informatics areas of research include Bioinformatics, Biodiversity informatics, Cheminformatics, Ecoinformatics, Geoinformatics, and Social informatics.

The science and technology of Ocean informatics is now emerging. Since oceanography is by definition inter-disciplinary, several existing informatics technology areas will be incorporated into ocean informatics. Thus, the development of ocean informatics has the potential to identify commonalities and integrate technologies, tools, and concepts that exist in other fields of informatics.

Ocean Informatics at WHOI

Phase 2 of Ocean Informatics at WHOI began in 2013 with the "Coping with Your Data Workshop" (see Events page). The Ocean Informatics Advisory Group is focusing on the data-handling needs of WHOI scientists. The Advisory Group currently consists of Stace Beaulieu (coordinator of the group, in Biology Dept.), Cyndy Chandler (MCG), Joe Futrelle (AOPE), and Lisa Raymond (Co-Director MBLWHOI Library). Please feel free to contact any member of the group with questions about accessing, handling, and sharing data. You may also email or join the data-mongers email list ( or the bioinformatics email list ( Also, please contact us if you are interested in joining the Advisory Group.

Phase 1 was active from 2009-2013, led by a 4-person team, the Ocean Informatics Working Group. This Working Group recommended a strategy and an action plan to build a robust data informatics infrastructure at WHOI. Thanks to a modest budget provided by the WHOI directorate alongside synergistic staff resources provided by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the group achieved its initial core mission of initiating and expanding a basic Ocean Informatics infrastructure at WHOI. The group and partners brought in external support, established new collaborations, and produced a suite of software tools along with other accomplishments detailed in a final report (see Phase 1 page).

Last updated: March 19, 2014