"Know your Ocean" Science Chats are an annual, summertime series of publicly accessible talks by scientists and engineers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. All talks take place on Tuesdays at 3:00 p.m. in WHOI's Ocean Science Discovery Center Auditorium, 15 School Street, Woods Hole.
July 10 - A Current of Change off Cape Hatteras
Glen Gawarkiewicz, Senior Scientist, Physical Oceanography Department
Off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, cool currents along the continental shelf interact with the warm waters of the mighty Gulf Stream, drawing colder waters eastward and away from the coast. But in January 2018, a team of physical oceanographers sailing on the research vessel Neil Armstrong found that the interaction of the continental shelf water and the Gulf Stream had changed, reversing the prevailing currents north of Cape Hatteras and warming the outer continental shelf. These changes could have major implications for fishing, and ocean-related activities along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
July 17 - Understanding the Majestic Blue Whales of Patagonia
Alex Bocconcelli, Research Specialist, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department
Learn about a collaboration between WHOI and scientists in Chile to better understand the blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) living off northern Patagonia. Researchers photographed the whales to identify individuals and used overhead drones to gather video and other information on the animals' body conditions. They also attached digital recording tags (DTAGs) to the whales via suction cups to collect information about the whales’ diving, feeding, and vocal behavior. This collaboration has great potential to provide information to policymakers on how to protect the unique habitats for highly endangered blue whales in this region.
July 24 - Oases in the Deep - Dark Life at Deep-Sea Vents
Stefan Sievert, Associate Scientist, BiologyThe deep sea is the largest contiguous biome on Earth and is home to a great number and high diversity of organisms. Yet is still only poorly explored. It was only about 40 years ago that scientists discovered hot springs in the deep sea that supported unique, highly productive ecosystems—oases in an otherwise barren landscape! Here, microorganisms live off inorganic chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide or hydrogen gas and off minerals dissolved in the hot hydrothermal vent fluids that bubble up from beneath the ocean floor. In turn, these microbes provide food for larger animals that live around vents. Learn how researchers reveal the inner workings of these fascinating ecosystems that exist in complete darkness, sustained by Earth’s energy.
July 31 - What's in Your Fish?
Jed Goldstone, Research Specialist, Biology Department
Fish are an important source of protein to 4.3 billion people, and Americans need to eat more fish to take advantage of the important heart and brain benefits of consuming better fats. At the same time, humans are increasingly polluting the global oceans. These pollutants - ranging from oil to microplastics - find their way into various marine life, including those eaten by people.