2008 Talks

All talks are held on Tuesdays at 2:30 at the WHOI Ocean Science Exhibit Center Auditorium, 15 School Street, Woods Hole.
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July 8th - Dolphin Communication: Fact and Fiction

Laela Sayigh, Biology Department

How do dolphins communicate with each other? Although dolphins may not have a language like ours, they are unusual among mammals in that they learn to produce their sounds, like we do. Also, like us, they produce unique sounds that are like names. Learn about current research, facts and myths of these interesting whistling marine mammals.

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July 15 - Live from the Poles: The Greenland Ice Sheet

Dan Lizarralde, Geology and Geophysics Department

Greenland—the world’s largest island—is home to one of the world’s largest ice sheets (after Antarctica). If Greenland’s 2300-m-thick ice sheet melts completely, it would ultimately raise global sea level by 23 feet (7 meters), drowning significant portions of coastal regions under water. Learn how researchers are trying to understand these massive ice sheets, and participate in a live Q&A with researchers working thousands of miles away on Greenland glaciers.
» Read dispatches from the expedition

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July 22 - The Ocean Crust, or Just “What’s Under all that Water?”

Henry Dick, Geology & Geophysics Department

New discoveries have profoundly changed how scientists view the ocean crust. They previously thought that the ocean’s crust formed in a similar way along all the ocean ridges where the Earth’s tectonic plates are pulled apart. Now, geologists think ocean crust is created in many ways, differing dramatically from one ocean basin to the next. Learn how understanding ocean crust formation reveals how heat, mass and gases are transferred from the interior of the planet to the crust, oceans and atmosphere.
» More about Henry Dick

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July 29 - Sound in the Ocean - Some Demystification

Ken Foote, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department

Sound travels five times faster in water than in air. Did you know that sound in water can be used to measure temperature, salinity, depth and even to identify what lives in the oceans? Come and hear how scientists use sound, or acoustics, to learn more about the ocean and its inhabitants.
» More about Ken Foote

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August 5 - Ocean Acidification: Will the Clam Chowder Run Out?

Sarah Cooley, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry Department

Many people already know that burning fossil fuels is increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, but most don’t know that it’s also completely changing ocean chemistry by acidifying our oceans. In the next 50 years, survival will become increasingly hard for shellfish and corals. Learn about the connection between today’s traffic jams and tomorrow’s seafood supply, and hear how food shortages and economic losses worldwide may be prevented.
» More about Sarah Cooley

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August 12 - Shellfish Science: Measuring Habitat Value

Bill Walton, Woods Hole Sea Grant

Oysters, clams, and other shellfish are essential parts of our coastal ecosystem, as well as the basis of commercial and recreational fisheries. With increasing shoreline development, understanding and measuring the value of marine habitats to shellfish has become increasingly important. Learn about current research here on Cape Cod assessing shellfish habitat.
» More about Bill Walton

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August 19 - Causes and Impacts of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning

Mindy Richlen, Biology Department

Ciguatera is a serious form of food poisoning caused by eating tropical reef fishes that have accumulated naturally occurring toxins. These toxins are produced by microscopic algae that inhabit coral reefs. Ciguatera is the most common human illness associated with harmful algal blooms (HABs) and the one with the greatest public health and economic impact. Although ciguatera is a significant human health hazard, an important component of the food web of coral reefs, and a major obstacle to tropical fisheries, very little is known about why outbreaks occur. Learn more about ciguatera and how scientists are trying to understand the causes of this mysterious illness.
» More about Mindy Richlen

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August 26 - Right Whale Auto Detection Buoy Network

John Kemp, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department

Ship strikes are a major cause of death for the endangered right whale. Learn about the development of a passive acoustic mooring-based detection system in Cape Cod Bay to monitor marine mammal activity. The system detects sounds of right whales and other species, posting them with aerial survey sightings to the NOAA Right Whale Sighting Advisory System web site. This system allows ship captains to slow their speed when notified that a right whale is present in the area.
» More about John Kemp