2013 Talks

All talks are held on Tuesdays at 3:00 at the WHOI Ocean Science Exhibit Center Auditorium, 15 School Street, Woods Hole. (unless otherwise noted)
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August 27 - The Silver Lining in the Mushroom Cloud: Using bomb radiocarbon to determine shark age

Li Ling Hamady, Joint Program Student, Biology

Sharks are charismatic, ecologically important, and difficult to study by observation alone. However shark vertebrae grow in layers like tree rings and function like lifetime chemical “flight data recorders.” These chemical records are beginning to provide us with complementary information to the data collected by tagging & other observational studies. Learn how scientists are using the traces of radioactive particles from the atomic bomb testing era to determine shark ages and inform conservation and management practices.

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August 20 - SharkCam: Robots chase sharks where no else can go

Amy Kukulya, Senior Engineering Assistant, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering

NOTE: This lecture will be held in Redfield Auditorium
How do scientists get a close up view of great white sharks? They build their own SharkCam. Using an autonomous underwater robot outfitted with high-definition cameras, engineers at WHOI are able to track, follow and image the elusive great white shark off the coast of Cape Cod. Learn about how this new technology enables researchers to better understand these mysterious apex predators.

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August 13 - Ocean Currents: Tools used to record and monitor deep ocean currents

Scott Worrilow, Group Operations Leader, Physical Oceanography

Oceanographers have measured ocean currents for many years trying to better understand the motion of the ocean. Join us for an up-close look at some of the tools used to measure the physical properties of the oceans, or how the oceans move. Learn about older instruments still in use today and new instrumentation made possible by advancements in design and measuring techniques.

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August 6 - Plastics at SEA: The Effect of Plastic Pollution in Our Ocean

Emelia DeForce, Research Associate, Biology

Plastic is essential to our daily lives. Unfortunately, a portion of the plastic we use makes its way from our hands and into our ocean. On a global scale, we know little about how much plastic is in our ocean and even less about how this newly introduced plastic is effecting the ocean ecosystem, from microscopic organisms that grow on the plastic to fish that ingest the plastic mistaking it for food.  Learn about the research on plastic marine pollution in our ocean and the problems associated with it's presence in the marine environment.

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July 30 - Corals and their Bacterial Buddies

Amy Apprill, Assistant Scientist, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry

Scientists have long known that reef-building corals have a mutually beneficial relationship with photosynthetic algae living within them. The algae provide corals with the byproducts of photosynthesis, enabling them to survive in the nutrient-poor waters of coral reef ecosystems. But recent research suggests that corals also depend on bacteria for their survival.  Learn more about corals’ microscopic buddies and the research scientists are conducting on reefs in the United States, Red Sea and Micronesia to understand bacteria’s contribution to coral health. Scientists will also share some 3-D video that will take you on a virtual journey through some of the world’s most pristine and stunning reefs.


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July 23 - Lights, Camera, Action: When Zooplankton are the star of the show

Melissa Patrician, Research Assistant, Biology

Zooplankton are small floating or weakly swimming animals that drift with water currents and make up a significant part of the food supply on which fish, sea birds, and marine mammals ultimately depend. They are an important component of the marine ecosystem, yet they can be difficult to study because they exist in patches throughout the ocean and the patches are always moving and changing.  Now, with the help of an underwater video microscope or Video Plankton Recorder, ocean researchers can continuously record the location and density of zooplankton in the field, and ultimately gain a better understanding of ocean ecosystems.


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July 16 - Phytoplankton in a changing climate

Kate Mackey, Postdoctoral Fellow, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry

Using sunlight to grow, phytoplankton make half the oxygen we breathe and form the base of the marine food web. Global change presents challenges, like ocean acidification and sea temperature rise, that affect how phytoplankton grow and do photosynthesis. Come learn about some of the special photosynthetic strategies phytoplankton use, and consider how global change could affect their growth and distributions in the future.

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July 9 - Rapid climate change: Impacts from sea-ice to penguins

Scott Doney, Senior Scientist, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry

The Antarctic Peninsula is among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth. Over the past 50 years, the warm, moist maritime climate of the northern Peninsula has been migrating south, displacing the once dominant cold, dry continental Antarctic climate. Environmental responses to the regional warming include less sea-ice, declines in ice-dependent Adéle penguins, increases in ice-tolerant Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins, and changes in phytoplankton and zooplankton communities. Learn how scientists can use these research observations to monitor the ecosystem’s response to climate change.