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Marine chemist Chris Reddy recently joined a research cruise off the West Coast virtually via the new telepresence equipment installed in the Coleman and Susan Burke Ocean Observing Operations Room at WHOI. The system permits scientists on shore to watch a real-time video feed from an underwater vehicle and to join voice and text discussions with other researchers on shore or at sea. During the cruise, which was carried out on R/V Atlantis, Reddy watched live HD video from the remotely operated vehicle Jasonas it explored natural oil seeps off the coast of California.

Named Spaces Help Advance Innovation

The 27,000-square foot Laboratory for Ocean Sensors and Observing Systems (LOSOS), dedicated in 2012, houses the Ocean Observatories Initiative, a multimillion-dollar effort funded by the National Science Foundation to build and operate an underwater network of buoys, sensors and autonomous underwater vehicles that will provide real-time, 24/7 data to researchers working in a variety of ocean science fields. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified facility also houses several other WHOI research programs and special donor-supported spaces to ensure that the good science done there is ready to move to the next level.

The Coleman and Susan Burke Ocean Observing Operations Room is the command center of the enterprise, and the Burkes’ gift outfits the room. The operations room is lined with monitors displaying oceanographic and meteorological conditions at field sites to support planning and operations at sea and streaming real-time data from instruments and observing stations both under test on land and deployed at sea. The technology featured in the room is key to ensuring the successful conduct of operations at sea and to the vigilant monitoring of the health and status of observing systems in the field.

“The Burkes recognize the value and promise of LOSOS as well as the science and exploration it will enable,” said Larry Madin, Director of Research. “These spaces have already begun to define the future of how we observe and learn about the ocean.”