Multi-Function Node

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Workers from WHOI and Oregon State University deploy a Multi-Function Node (MFN) from the fantail of the R/V Wecoma near Newport, Oregon, in March 2011. (Photo by Craig Riesin, Oregon State University)

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WHOI's Role in OOI

Since August 2007, an academic partnership led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has been participating in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Coastal and Global Scale Nodes project.  The academic partners include WHOI, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and Oregon State University’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences.  Raytheon has provided project management and systems engineering support to WHOI as part of this project.  Work to date has been in preparation for the as yet unfunded Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction project awarded in 2007.  The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s John Adams Innovation Institute provided a matching investment to help WHOI secure the competitive award.

The OOI Network spans global, regional and coastal scales, linked by a system-wide cyberinfrastructure and education and public engagement effort. The award establishes WHOI and its partners from Scripps and OSU as the implementing organization for the Coastal and Global Scale Nodes (CGSN) of the OOI Network. Each partner will contribute scientific and engineering expertise to the development of innovative moored buoys, cabled nodes, and autonomous vehicles that will provide data in real-time or near-real-time, and allow users to remotely control their instruments and construct virtual observatories specifically tailored to their scientific needs.

Global components
The WHOI-led team will design and deploy global buoys to address planetary-scale problems in critical high latitude locations in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. A major goal of the global observatory is to better understand and predict the impact of climate change on the interlinked ocean-atmosphere system, and on marine ecosystems, biodiversity and community structure, especially in remote, poorly sampled parts of the world’s ocean.

Coastal components
Permanent and transportable arrays of buoys and autonomous vehicles will be deployed off the Pacific Northwest and Mid-Atlantic Bight to study coastal processes and to monitor changes in coastal systems. The aim of the coastal arrays is to understand complex coastal ecosystems and their critical role in the ecology and biogeochemistry of the world’s oceans, coastal hazards such as storms and harmful algal blooms, and the impact of climate change on the coastal ocean.