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News Releases


Duke, Woods Hole Geologists Discover ‘Clockwork’ Motion by Ocean Floor Microplates

CONTACTS Monte Basgall (919) 681-8057 monte.basgall@duke.edu Shelley Dawicki (508) 289-2270 sdawicki@whoi.edu DURHAM, N.C. — A team of geologists from Duke University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has discovered a grinding, coordinated ballet of crustal “microplates” unfolding below the equatorial east Pacific Ocean within a construction zone for new seafloor. The scientists deduced that relatively small…

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Major Caribbean Earthquakes and Tsunamis a Real Risk

A dozen major earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have occurred in the Caribbean near Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the island of Hispaniola, shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, in the past 500 years, and several have generated tsunamis. The most recent major earthquake, a magnitude 8.1 in 1946, resulted in…

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WHOI Scientist to Receive American Meteorological Society Award

A physical oceanographer known for his theories of wind driven ocean circulation and the fluid dynamics of the oceans will receive the 2005 Sverdrup Gold Medal from the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the nation’s leading professional society for scientists in the atmospheric and related sciences, in ceremonies January 12 at the AMS annual meeting in…

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Center for Ocean, Seafloor and Marine Observing Systems Established at WHOI

With decades of experience designing, building and operating marine observing systems of many types around the world, the Institution has established a Center for Ocean, Seafloor and Marine Observing Systems (COSMOS) to provide administrative, management and systems engineering oversight of large observatory and observing systems projects underway at WHOI. COSMOS will serve as a central…

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Tsunami Warning Buoy Deployed off Chile

Scientists from the Chilean Navy Hydrographic and Oceanographic Office (SHOA), in cooperation with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), deployed a SHOA tsunami warning buoy off Northern Chile in the Pacific in December 2004 just prior to the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. The mooring is part of a Chilean national plan for a comprehensive ocean…

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WHOI Celebrates 75th Anniversary with Science Symposium, Open House

The Institution will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2005 with a series of activities ranging from an Anything-But-a-Boat Regatta in August to a public open house and science symposium in September. Speakers from 15 institutions and agencies will address six themes at the symposium: Air-Sea Exchange, Climate Change, Life in the Ocean, Mid-Ocean Ridges, Observing…

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Cumulative Sperm Whale Bone Damage and the Bends

Woods Hole, MA–In a study published in the December 24, 2004 issue of the journal Science, Michael Moore and Greg Early at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have documented bone lesions in the rib and chevron bones of sperm whales, most likely caused by tissue damage from nitrogen bubbles that form when the animals…

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New Director Named for WHOI Ocean and Climate Change Institute

A Gulf Stream and ocean circulation expert has been named second director of the Ocean and Climate Change Institute at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Physical Oceanographer Terrence Joyce will assume his new position on January 1, 2005. He succeeds William Curry, who has held the position since 2001. Curry is a senior scientist in…

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Catastrophic Flooding from Ancient Lake May Have Triggered Cold Period

Imagine a lake three times the size of the present-day Lake Ontario breaking through a dam and flooding down the Hudson River Valley past New York City and into the North Atlantic. The results would be catastrophic if it happened today, but it did happen some 13,400 years ago during the retreat of glaciers over…

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WHOI Director Appointed to U.S. Commission to UNESCO

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) President and Director Robert Gagosian has been appointed to the U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The National Commission, re-established by the U.S. Department of State on October 20, 2004 to support the U.S. re-entry into UNESCO, will serve as a federal advisory…

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Five WHOI Researchers Recognized for Contributions to Science and Education

Five researchers have been recognized by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) for their contributions to ocean sciences research and education. All will receive funding provided by the endowed awards to support their research over periods of three to five years. The awards are effective January 1, 2005. Four of the researchers have been named…

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WHOI Researcher Honored for Contributions to Education

Mullineaux

A Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist has been honored for her contributions to graduate education with the Institution’s first Arnold B. Arons Award for Excellence in Teaching, Advising and Mentoring. Dr. Lauren Mullineaux, a senior scientist in the Biology Department, was recognized by students, alumni/ae and colleagues for her sustained excellence in the Institution’s…

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Clues from Past Hurricanes Help Assess Future Storm Risks

Reconstructing the history and intensity of hurricanes is useful when assessing future risks of these extreme events in coastal regions. Previous studies of North Atlantic hurricane activity have identified many of the environmental factors that presently influence tropical cyclone activity. However, study data is restricted to a relatively short 100-150 year historic record, making it…

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Novel Instrument Sheds Light on Plankton Populations in Coastal Waters

Cabled ocean observatories, like the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO), and new sensors like the Flow Cytobot are enabling scientists to study plankton community structure and processes with unprecedented detail. MVCO is connected to shore by a fiber optic cable that provides unlimited power and data transmission capabilities 24/7 and allows scientists to plug in…

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New Hydrothermal Vents in the Pacific Located and Mapped with Robotic Vehicle

Three new deep-sea hydrothermal vent fields were discovered in September 2004 in the Lau Basin in the western Pacific between Tonga, Fiji and Samoa and were geologically and biologically mapped by the Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE), one of WHOI’s autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). Digital images and mosaic maps made using ABE were then used to…

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Underwater Robot Makes History Crossing the Gulf Stream

Like the sailing vessel used by Captain Joshua Slocum to sail solo around the world 100 years ago, another ocean-going vehicle is making history. A small ocean glider named Spray is the first autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, to cross the Gulf Stream underwater, proving the viability of self-propelled gliders for long-distance scientific missions and…

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Jellies in Antarctica

Salps, members of a large group of free-swimming, gelatinous organisms collectively known as jellies, are more common than previously thought in the waters around Antarctica. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists are studying the role of these fragile creatures in the Southern Ocean food chain, long thought to be based on krill. Salps may have…

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Finding Nemo, and All His Relatives?

Institution researchers will spend the next three months in Papua, New Guinea tracking clownfish, the same species made popular in the animated film “Finding Nemo,” as part of population studies. The team will tag all the embryos produced by approximately 150 pairs of adult clownfish living in the reefs of Kimbe Bay, New Britian, track…

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Monitoring Undersea Earthquakes, Deep Sea Tides and Magnetic Fields

One of the largest known mineral deposits in the deep sea, the Tag hydrothermal site on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) in the North Atlantic Ocean, was the subject of a recent month-long cruise aboard the WHOI research vessel Knorr. Institution scientists and engineers used the remotely operated or tethered vehicle Jason for the first time…

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Phoning Home from the Ocean Floor – by Computer

Oceanographers will soon be able to sit in their labs ashore and communicate with instruments in the water at ocean observatories around the world, enabling researchers to direct instruments to respond to recent events like hurricanes and earthquakes in that area. Underwater sensors of all types, from biological and chemical samplers to current meters and…

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A Milestone for JASON

The Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) JASON completed its 100th dive August 1 in Adak Canyon in the Aleutian Island chain as part of the Aleutian Coral Research Expedition (ACRE), funded by the NOAA’s West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center. JASON collected rock, coral and biological samples in the steep-walled canyon between Adak and…

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Sea Otters and a Sense of Smell

Contrary to popular belief that marine mammals have a poor sense of smell, sea otters may have a nose that can actually help them distinguish between contaminated and safe abalone and clams, some of their favorite foods. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers are studying olfaction – the ability to smell – in sea otters…

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