Deep Ocean Exploration Institute
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dan fornari and tim shank
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Dan Fornari, left, with molecular ecologist Tim Shank and Timís new sampling equipment on Alvin. The new equipment will allow Tim and his co-investigator, paleoecologist Joan Bernhard, to capture and preserve deep-sea organisms at full ocean pressure for studies of enzyme function. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, WHOI)
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» Dive and Discover™ Web site

The Deep Ocean Exploration Institute (DOEI) supports research in a diversity of oceanographic, geological, and technology fields all aimed at better understanding the dynamic planetary processes occurring in the deep ocean and within Earth’s interior. These intertwined processes are the pulse of planet Earth. They help regulate where and how magmatism and earthquakes occur, and the evolution of ocean chemistry. They also profoundly influence biological, microbiological, and biogeochemical processes in the deep ocean and within Earth’s interior. The development and implementation of innovative technologies that seek to image, sense, and sample remote areas of the deep ocean and Earth’s interior are also essential elements of DOEI’s mission.

To support these pursuits, in 2005 we funded six new research projects that encompass all of the Institute’s research areas involving seafloor observatory science, fluid flow in geologic systems, and Earth’s deep biosphere (see map). Additional DOEI discretionary funding was provided to other researchers and students to help facilitate opportunities for science and engineering. In addition, DOEI currently supports two research fellows (Stan Hart and Greg Hirth, both G&G), one post-doctoral fellow and a graduate student in its efforts to expand the research options available to scientists and engineers in all departments at WHOI.

DOEI-sponsored activities have also included outreach in various forms. In 2005 Dan Fornari met with delegations in the U.S. Congress to discuss the importance of basic research and oceanographic research, and to support increased funding for the National Science Foundation. Dan also presented a keynote address, “Oceanography in the 21st Century,” to senior management in the oil and gas industry in Houston as part of an international conference. Public and educational outreach is also a focus of DOEI activity through the Dive and Discover™ Web site. Dive and Discover continues to be an important part of the WHOI outreach program for K-12 students and the general public, and in 2005 received more than 46,000 visits per month. In 2005, Dive and Discover hosted Expedition 9, a revisit to the Galapágos Rift, which included Alvin diving and deep-sea camera exploration for hydrothermal vents. More than 26,000 online visitors followed the two-week expedition in May 2005.

—Dan Fornari, Institute Director

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