July 8th - Dolphin Communication: Fact and FictionLaela Sayigh, Biology Department
How do dolphins communicate with each other? Although dolphins may not have a language like ours, they are unusual among mammals in that they learn to produce their sounds, like we do. Also, like us, they produce unique sounds that are like names. Learn about current research, facts and myths of these interesting whistling marine mammals.
July 15 - Live from the Poles: The Greenland Ice SheetDan Lizarralde, Geology and Geophysics Department
Greenland—the world’s largest island—is home to one of the world’s largest ice
sheets (after Antarctica). If Greenland’s 2300-m-thick ice sheet melts completely,
it would ultimately raise global sea level by 23 feet (7 meters), drowning
significant portions of coastal regions under water. Learn how researchers are
trying to understand these massive ice sheets, and participate in a live Q&A with
researchers working thousands of miles away on Greenland glaciers.
» Read dispatches from the expedition
July 22 - The Ocean Crust, or Just “What’s Under all that Water?”Henry Dick, Geology & Geophysics Department
New discoveries have profoundly changed how scientists view the ocean crust.
They previously thought that the ocean’s crust formed in a similar way along
all the ocean ridges where the Earth’s tectonic plates are pulled apart. Now,
geologists think ocean crust is created in many ways, differing dramatically from
one ocean basin to the next. Learn how understanding ocean crust formation
reveals how heat, mass and gases are transferred from the interior of the planet to
the crust, oceans and atmosphere.
» More about Henry Dick
July 29 - Sound in the Ocean - Some DemystificationKen Foote, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department
Sound travels five times faster in water than in air. Did you know that sound in
water can be used to measure temperature, salinity, depth and even to identify
what lives in the oceans? Come and hear how scientists use sound, or acoustics, to
learn more about the ocean and its inhabitants.
» More about Ken Foote
August 5 - Ocean Acidification: Will the Clam Chowder Run Out?
Sarah Cooley, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry Department
Many people already know that burning fossil fuels is increasing atmospheric
carbon dioxide levels, but most don’t know that it’s also completely changing
ocean chemistry by acidifying our oceans. In the next 50 years, survival will
become increasingly hard for shellfish and corals. Learn about the connection
between today’s traffic jams and tomorrow’s seafood supply, and hear how food
shortages and economic losses worldwide may be prevented.
» More about Sarah Cooley
August 12 - Shellfish Science: Measuring Habitat Value
Bill Walton, Woods Hole Sea Grant
Oysters, clams, and other shellfish are essential parts of our coastal ecosystem,
as well as the basis of commercial and recreational fisheries. With increasing
shoreline development, understanding and measuring the value of marine habitats
to shellfish has become increasingly important. Learn about current research here
on Cape Cod assessing shellfish habitat.
» More about Bill Walton
August 19 - Causes and Impacts of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning
Mindy Richlen, Biology Department
Ciguatera is a serious form of food poisoning caused by eating tropical reef fishes
that have accumulated naturally occurring toxins. These toxins are produced by
microscopic algae that inhabit coral reefs. Ciguatera is the most common human
illness associated with harmful algal blooms (HABs) and the one with the greatest
public health and economic impact. Although ciguatera is a significant human
health hazard, an important component of the food web of coral reefs, and a
major obstacle to tropical fisheries, very little is known about why outbreaks
occur. Learn more about ciguatera and how scientists are trying to understand the
causes of this mysterious illness.
» More about Mindy Richlen
August 26 - Right Whale Auto Detection Buoy Network
John Kemp, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department
Ship strikes are a major cause of death for the endangered right whale. Learn
about the development of a passive acoustic mooring-based detection system in
Cape Cod Bay to monitor marine mammal activity. The system detects sounds
of right whales and other species, posting them with aerial survey sightings to the
NOAA Right Whale Sighting Advisory System web site. This system allows ship
captains to slow their speed when notified that a right whale is present in the area.
» More about John Kemp
Last updated: July 28, 2008