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Research > Ocean Institutes > Coastal Ocean Institute

Coastal Ocean Institute

Ken Brink and Heidi Sosik
Institute Director Ken Brink (left) with new COI Fellow Heidi Sosik, who is studying how physical processes of the ocean affect the productivity of marine organisms. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst)
The Coastal Ocean Institute (COI) carries on the tradition of the Rinehart Coastal Research Center by fostering interdisciplinary coastal ocean research and education and by communicating findings to the world beyond Woods Hole. The coastal ocean—which stretches from the inner reaches of bays and rivers to the edge of the continental shelf—is an incredibly diverse environment. Natural processes in this region affect, and are deeply affected by, human activity. The Coastal Ocean Institute has narrowed its focus to two themes of societal importance: the causes and consequences of our shifting coastlines, and understanding why the coastal ocean is so biologically productive.

In addition to sponsoring six new research projects and several guest lecturers in 2003, COI joined the Marine Policy Center in sponsoring a symposium on offshore wind power (see Marine Policy Center). Eighteen specialists from six countries were invited to Woods Hole to share knowledge and define the lines of research required to make intelligent decisions about this resource. The symposium attracted more than 50 scientists and decision-makers who are already translating what they learned into policy.

In November 2003, COI presented the 13th Bostwick H. “Buck” Ketchum Award, which recognizes scientists for excellence in coastal research and in bridging the gap between scientists and society. Ketchum served WHOI for more than 40 years, starting as a graduate student and finishing as Associate Director of the Institution, while making a name for himself in coastal biology along the way. This year’s medal was awarded to John Farrington, WHOI Vice President for Academic Programs and Dean, for a lifetime of work on the effects of oil spills on the coastal ocean. The presentation marked the first time the award has been given to an Institution scientist.

Two new COI Fellows were chosen in 2003: John Trowbridge, a senior scientist in the Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department, and Heidi Sosik, an associate scientist in the Biology Department (joint fellowship with the Ocean Life Institute). Trowbridge and Sosik will work together to understand the physical processes that drive changes in biological activity, as observed from the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory.

—Ken Brink (kbrink@whoi.edu)
Coastal Ocean Institute Director

Related Web Sites
Coastal Ocean Institute (COI)