WHOI Waypoints: Charting a New Course


Marine operations at WHOI set a new course July 1 under the leadership of Senior Scientist Robert Detrick, a marine geophysicist who assumed the position of Vice President for Marine Facilities and Operations.

One of Detrick’s first tasks was to lead a cross-disciplinary team in developing an “Access to the Sea” plan, which provides a long-range vision for the integration of ships, underwater vehicles, and ocean observing platforms for WHOI and the broader ocean community.

“Technology is changing the way we do ocean science,” Detrick said. “Ships will remain an important part of the mix, but other types of vehicles, fixed observatories, and ocean observing systems are enabling us to have a presence in the ocean 24/7, rather than just a snapshot view. It is an exciting time.”

Detrick joined the WHOI staff in 1991 as a Senior Scientist after 13 years as a professor and scientist at the University of Rhode Island. He received a bachelor’s degree in geology and physics from Lehigh University in 1971, and a master’s degree in marine geology from the University of California, San Diego, in 1974. He worked briefly as an exploration geophysicist for the Standard Oil Company of California and then obtained a doctorate in 1978 from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and Oceanographic Engineering.

Detrick recently chaired the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Implementation of an Ocean Observatory Network for Research. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, which organizes U.S. participation in the new International Ocean Drilling Program, and chair of the National Science Foundation’s Geosciences Advisory Committee. He has participated in 28 research cruises, 17 as chief scientist.