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Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers Honors WHOI Scientist

Dana Yoerger is a senior scientist in the Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a pioneering researcher in robotics and underwater vehicles. Photo by Tom Kleindinst, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

December 29, 2020

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers  (IEEE) elected Dana Yoerger as a 2021 fellow for the development of autonomous underwater vehicles for deep-ocean exploration and science. Yoerger is a senior scientist in the Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and a pioneering researcher in robotics and underwater vehicles.

Yoerger is a long-time, key contributor to the remotely-operated vehicle Jason, the autonomous underwater vehicles ABE and Sentry, and the hybrid remotely operated vehicle Nereus, which reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench in 2009. His current research focuses on designing and developing robots to explore the midwater regions of the world's ocean. He leads a team that designed the new underwater robot called Mesobot,  which non-invasively tracks midwater animals that play an important role in the movement of carbon through the world’s oceans.

Yoerger has gone to sea on over 80 oceanographic expeditions exploring the Mid-Ocean Ridge, mapping underwater seamounts and volcanoes, surveying ancient and modern shipwrecks, and studying the environmental effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He also supervises the research and academic programs of graduate students studying oceanographic engineering in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program.

"It’s truly an honor to be chosen as an IEEE fellow," says Yoerger. "I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with very capable engineers and researchers at WHOI and from around the world who enabled me to make a difference."

A distinction as an IEEE Fellow is reserved for select members whose extraordinary accomplishments in any of the related fields of interest are deemed fitting of this prestigious grade elevation. The total number of members honored in any one year as a fellow can’t exceed one-tenth of one- percent of the total voting membership. IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement.

The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity. Through its 400,000 plus members in 160 countries, the association is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics.

Dedicated to the advancement of technology, the IEEE publishes 30 percent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, and has developed more than 1300 active industry standards.  The association also sponsors or co-sponsors nearly 1700 international technical conferences each year. To learn more about IEEE or the IEEE Fellow Program, please visit


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930, its mission is to understand the ocean and its interactions with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate an understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. WHOI’s pioneering discoveries stem from an ideal combination of science and engineering—one that has made it one of the most trusted and technically advanced leaders in fundamental and applied ocean research and exploration anywhere. WHOI is known for its multidisciplinary approach, superior ship operations, and unparalleled deep-sea robotics capabilities. We play a leading role in ocean observation, and operate the most extensive suite of ocean data-gathering platforms in the world. Top scientists, engineers, and students collaborate on more than 800 concurrent projects worldwide—both above and below the waves—pushing the boundaries of knowledge to inform people and policies for a healthier planet. For more information, please visit