Nick Woods (a graduate student in Physical Oceanography) is conducting research in the Great South Channel east of Cape Cod, where basking sharks, cod, haddock, and baleen whales feed on dense aggregations of copepods; however, little is known about the physical and biological processes that form and maintain these aggregations. Past studies have suggested that ocean physics play a key role. Using novel instrumentation including autonomous underwater gliders and variable-buoyancy floats, Nick is investigating the physical environment of the Great South Channel and identifying the specific processes that may contribute to zooplankton aggregation. The general problem of prey aggregation is globally relevant, and impacts several important subjects, including marine protected areas, fisheries management, and ecosystem dynamics.
Last updated: April 9, 2012