Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

WHOI Sea Grant Program
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Woods Hole Sea Grant extension agent Bill Walton (center), talks with Cape Cod Americorps members and staff from Bourne’s Natural Resources Department. He is discussing pros and cons of using nets to protect hard shell clam seed planted in Little Bay, Bourne, as part of a town shellfish enhancement project. Providing advice to communities in southeastern Massachusetts is one of the many ways Sea Grant stays connected to its constituents. (Photo by Diane Murphy, Barnstable County Cooperative Extension)
Related Links

» WHOI Sea Grant Program

» Coastal Training Program

» WHOI Sea Grant www.marinecareers.net

» Academic Programs

» New England Centers of Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (NE-COSEE)


The Woods Hole Sea Grant Program is part of NOAA’s national Sea Grant network of 32 programs; collectively, Sea Grant promotes cooperation among government, academia, industry, scientists, and the private sector.

Woods Hole Sea Grant’s annual budget of approximately $1 million supports research projects in environmental technology, estuarine and coastal processes, and fisheries and aquaculture. In addition, Sea Grant funds smaller, “new initiative” grants to encourage Sea Grant research addressing local and regional needs, and many projects have national or even global implications. Projects in 2004 included:

  • Lobster and squid population structures, comparing offshore and near-shore populations, and potential fisheries management impacts;
  • Environmental contaminants and their effects on marine invertebrates, mammals, and fish;
  • Application of fiber-optic technology as a way to detect and count harmful algal cells in the marine environment;
  • Atmospheric deposition as a source of nitrogen pollution, measuring vehicle emissions around Cape Cod embayments;
  • Development of an autonomous, multi-scale digital imaging system to identify and map distributional patterns of aquatic plankton, micronekton, and nekton;
  • Effects of long-term bioaccumulation of oil—from the 1969 grounding of a barge carrying No. 2 fuel oil—on salt marsh biota;
  • Groundwater as a transport mechanism for nutrients and contaminants flowing into estuarine systems;
  • Metal accumulation in sediments as a result of Boston Harbor sewage discharge;
  • Larval dispersal in pelagic fish, using fish otoliths (ear bones) as natural tags to reconstruct temperature histories and seawater chemistry;
  • Screening sediments, water, algae, and invertebrates to determine the environmental source of QPX (a parasite afflicting hard clams);
  • Development of a pattern recognition system to classify benthic habitats and identify flora and fauna.
In addition to research, Woods Hole Sea Grant supports a marine extension program and an outreach/education program. Through those efforts, research is transmitted to a variety of audiences through publications, Web sites, workshops, and lectures. Many Sea Grant outreach programs involve partnerships, such as with the Barnstable County Cooperative Extension Service, to provide technical expertise and demonstration projects on shellfish aquaculture and coastal processes.

A partnership with the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Program provides research-based training to coastal policymakers (www.coastaltraining. org). In the ocean science education field, Woods Hole Sea Grant has partnered with colleagues at New Hampshire Sea Grant to provide marine career information to students (www.marinecareers.net), and with WHOI Academic Programs and the Exhibit Center to provide teacher workshops featuring the latest WHOI research, technology, and instrumentation developments. Woods Hole Sea Grant is also participating in a WHOI effort to promote effective research-outreach partnerships.

—Judith E. McDowell (jmcdowell@whoi.edu)

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Mail: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Road, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA.
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