WHOI Waypoints: Institute Fellows Cut Across Disciplines


The four WHOI Ocean Institutes were established in 2001 to build bridges between scientific disciplines, to catalyze innovative thinking, and to shorten the time between acquiring knowledge and making it accessible to decision makers. In that spirit, each Institute has established fellowships to help scientists focus on broader, interdisciplinary issues and to launch high-risk, high-reward research that would not otherwise receive funding from traditional sources. The fellows are awarded two to three months of salary support per year for a three-year term.

Coastal Ocean Institute & Rinehart Coastal Research Center

Heidi Sosik (Biology, BIO) combines satellite observations with in situ measurements to develop new models of how the physics of the coastal ocean affects the growth of microscopic plants. Her fellowship is jointly held with the Ocean Life Institute.

John Trowbridge (Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, AOPE) focuses on the physical processes—such as turbulence and sediment transport—that drive changes in biological activity.

Matt Charette (Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, MCG) uses naturally occurring radioisotopes and trace metals to investigate the flow of groundwater into the sea.

Wade McGillis (AOPE) studies the interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, particularly the exchange of carbon dioxide.

Deep Ocean Exploration Institute

Gregory Hirth (Geology and Geophysics, G&G) uses his understanding of the physical properties of rocks to study cracking in the oceanic crust and how it might influence where microbes live.

Wolfgang Bach (MCG) investigates mineral-microbe interactions in the crustal and mantle rocks of seafloor hydrothermal systems.

Meg Tivey (MCG) leads a cross-departmental, interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers with a common interest in building underwater observatories in diverse marine environments.

Jean Whelan (MCG) studies natural gas seeps along the U.S. continental margins, and is building an in situ methane sensor to explore for new seep areas and measure the gas being vented.

Dana Yoerger (AOPE) is developing remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles that provide access to the deep ocean, including seafloor observatories.

Ocean Life Institute

Cabell Davis (BIO) works with engineers at WHOI, MIT, and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to combine high-resolution digital holography, in situ DNA analysis, and autonomous underwater vehicle technology for identifying and mapping plankton species.

Ken Buesseler (MCG) uses radionuclides to study how fast materials are transferred from the ocean’s surface to deep water, and how differing ecosystems control the efficiency of this “biological pump.”

Darlene Ketten (BIO) applies computed tomography (CT) scanning,
X-ray imaging, and visualization to the study of marine mammal hearing and behavior.

Simon Thorrold (BIO) conducts geochemical analysis of fish otoliths (ear bones) and carbonate structures (shells, statoliths, etc.) to discover migration pathways and to track larval dispersal of marine fishes and invertebrates.

Ocean & Climate Change

Scott Doney (MCG) constructs models and develops observational strategies to improve our understanding of how the ocean carbon cycle responds to climate change.

Konrad Hughen (MCG) develops high-resolution reconstructions of past climates, ocean circulation, and atmospheric chemistry.

Lloyd Keigwin (G&G) reconstructs and analyzes the recent geologic history of ocean circulation and climate change.

Ray Schmitt(Physical Oceanography, PO) studies the global water cycle and how changes to it may affect ocean circulation and climate variability.

John Toole (PO) leads an effort to establish Station W, a long-term observing system for the Deep Western Boundary Current region of the North Atlantic