Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research
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WHOI’s Paul Bouchard (left) and NOAA Teacher At Sea, Eric Heltzel, launch a drifter that had been adopted by the WHOI Information Office and Exhibit Center. NOAA has deployed over 1200 drifting buoys that move with ocean currents around the globe collecting data using GPS and satellite technology. (Photo by Sean Whelan, WHOI)
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» Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research

The Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research (CICOR) coordinates and fosters interaction between WHOI and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). CICOR administers NOAA-funded research, builds ties between researchers at WHOI and NOAA, and conducts education and outreach activities. The Institute is one of 13 national cooperative institutes.

CICOR’s research themes focus on climate, marine ecosystems, and coastal research. The center supported 31 projects in 2005, totaling more than $7.5 million in funding. Since its inception in 2001, CICOR has supported 88 research projects and outreach activities, bringing the five-year budget to more than $26 million.

One role of the NOAA Cooperative Institutes is to engage the academic and private research communities in working with NOAA to develop plans for research. Together with the Northeast Science Center of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, CICOR organized the Workshop on Planning Coordinated Research on Ecosystems, Climate, and Policy in the Northeast in January 2005. The workshop brought together individuals from over 30 institutions representing NOAA staff, fisheries and marine resource managers as well as scientists and oceanographers. Participants identified management needs for new research on harmful algal blooms, nutrients and contaminants, biodiversity, and fisheries.

In 2005, the Institute also sponsored a variety of lectures and outreach activities including an Indian Ocean Seminar Series cosponsored with WHOI’s Ocean and Climate Change Institute. The two-week seminar series brought to WHOI world-renowned experts on the Indian Ocean from China, Australia, Japan, and the U.S. to discuss research and observing systems that would be most effective for improving understanding and predictive capability of the ocean-atmosphere interaction in the Indian Ocean.

In June CICOR underwent an administrative and science review by an external science review team organized by NOAA. The executive summary of the Review report suggested that the successful national and international collaborations initiated by CICOR should serve as models for the NOAA Cooperative Institute community to enhance NOAA’s capacity building and education. Subsequent to the review CICOR is reorganizing its fellows to focus on key areas, such as coastal research, to promote further collaborations among NOAA partners.

Among CICOR’s diverse research programs, the National Office for Harmful Algal Blooms, directed by Don Anderson, facilitated the rapid community response to the historic algal bloom that hit the Northeast (see Science Highlights section).

Robert Weller and Al Plueddemann’s work with the high-quality Ocean Reference Sites (ORS) time series surface moorings continues to provide essential data for improving our understanding of atmosphere-ocean interactions and thus the efficiency of climate models.

CICOR welcomed Jeremiah Hackett as a postdoctoral scholar working with Don Anderson in the Biology Department. Jeremiah completed his Ph.D. degree in genetics at the University of Iowa and is now applying genomic data to the study of dinoflagellate harmful algal blooms and toxin production. Nancy Grumet, the CICOR-funded postdoctoral scholar in 2004 continues working with Konrad Hughen in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department. CICOR also supported three MIT/WHOI Joint Program students during 2005: Rob Jennings (Biology) defended his dissertation this year; J. Thomas Ferrar (Physical Oceanography) continues his analyses of air-sea interaction and upper ocean variability; and Carlos Moffat, who continues work with his thesis advisors Robert Beardsley and Breck Owens in Physical Oceanography on understanding the circulation of the coastal ocean of the shelf west of the Antarctic Peninsula.

—Robert Weller, Director

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