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Julie Huber

I grew up in the Midwest where there was no #ocean. But I'm also part of the Jacques Cousteau generation where everything I knew about the ocean was from his books and television shows.⁠

When I was 13, I read #TheSeaAroundUs, which #RachelCarson wrote here in #WoodsHole. It’s such a beautiful book. She talks about when the Earth formed, the deep ocean, these windows into deep time. And not just the geology, but also thinking about how long life has had to adapt and figure out how to live in these places. The drama of “The Sea Around Us” is perfect for a teenager! Her books really captured that angst and passion I was feeling. I enjoyed living in the Midwest, but I knew it wasn't where I belonged. I dreamed of living in a place like Woods Hole. And when I learned she had lived here and studied here and wrote books here, I was completely blown away.⁠

When Carson wrote “The Sea Around Us,” we didn't know about plate tectonics. We hadn't discovered hydrothermal vents. Yet she wrote a really compelling case for studying the deep ocean. She captured how vast it is and how much is unknown.⁠

When I left the Midwest and went to college, it seemed like everybody wanted to study dolphins and coral reefs–which made sense since they grew up on Cousteau, just like me. And I thought, “What about that other part of the ocean that people don't seem to talk about or know that much about?” By then it was the mid-90s. We knew about underwater volcanoes by then and we had better access to the deep sea through underwater vehicles. ⁠

Now I run a research lab that studies the smallest life forms in the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean, thinking a lot about the drama of underwater volcanoes. I love working at WHOI, where everybody shares the common goal of understanding the ocean, exploring it, helping it, and educating future generations about it. I think Carson would appreciate what WHOI does for the deep ocean, and I’m thrilled to be working where she wrote so many beautiful essays about the sea.⁠