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Alvin hangs from the stern A-frame of R/V Atlantis, as it is brought back on to the ship following a dive in the Pacific Ocean. (Christopher Knight, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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Launch of a mooring for the study of air-sea interactions. (Photo by Roger Archibald)

Related Files

» Access to the Sea Brochure (pdf)

Related Links

» Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Research Vessels

» National Deep Submergence Facility Vehicles

» What is an Ocean Observatory?

» Center for Ocean, Seafloor and Marine Observing Systems (COSMOS)

» OceanSITES

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution provides unparalleled access to the sea through its ships, vehicles, and its development of new ocean observing technology. By rising to this challenge, we can expect the pace of discovery to accelerate, which will significantly improve our understanding of the world’s oceans and enhance the opportunity for their wise use and stewardship. The endowment to support the Access to the Sea program is funded through the generosity of WHOI Members of the Corporation, Gratia (Topsy) Rinehart Montgomery and Townsend Hornor.

Changing Paradigms

Advances in technology in the last decade are causing a quiet but radical reinvention of oceanography.

Maintaining our excellence in ocean science will depend on our staying at the forefront of new technologies for exploring the world’s oceans. We can imagine great opportunities on the horizon:

  • Powerful, custom-designed genomic chips that will help map the distribution of harmful algae or discover new species of microbes;
  • Networks of sensors linked by fiber-optic cable running for thousands of kilometers across the seafloor, carrying immense volumes of data to shore-side laboratories from even the most remote parts of the world’s oceans;
  • Fleets of autonomous, self-propelled vehicles that exchange data acoustically and automatically adjust their tracks to find, survey, and sample hydrothermal vents or water masses in the deep sea;
  • Advances in materials science and nanotechnology that shatter current limits of power usage and miniaturization of deep-diving, robotic vehicles, allowing them to carry out missions of many months to a year or more;
  • High-definition digital imagery, chemical-, tactile-, and audio-sensors with fiber optics to provide at-depth ocean observational experience to scientific investigators aboard a research vessel or in their laboratories.

“WHOI is educating the world about its oceans, and I salute the Institution’s scientists, students, and sea-going research activities. I’ve had a swell time over the past 35 years sharing my good fortune as a catalyst of sorts. I love kick-starting a project - like the Rinehart Initiative for Access to the Sea - and watching it take off. There’s an old Irish saying: ‘There are no pockets in shrouds,’ and I’ve pretty much lived by that. I challenge you to join me in supporting this important new venture for WHOI. It’s very exciting.”

~~~ Gratia Rinehart Montgomery, Trustee


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Last updated June 19, 2012
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