October 14, 2010
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has launched a video campaign on the world’s biggest stage to highlight the importance of the planet’s largest life-sustaining feature—the ocean.
The three-month ocean awareness campaign features 15-second video spots that air every hour on the CBS Superscreen above 42nd St. in Times Square, which hosts more than 26 million visitors each year.
“The ocean functions as a single, interconnected system—one that affects everyone, no matter where they live,” said Susan Avery, president and director of WHOI, the nation’s largest independent non-profit institution dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education.
The world’s ocean is under more stress than ever before from overfishing, pollution, changing chemistry (known as ocean acidification) and climate change. Human activity is having a demonstrable impact on the ocean, driving the need to better understand, manage and protect this vast resource that surrounds and sustains us, Avery noted.
The Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico drew the world’s attention to the ocean and the fragility of the ecosystems within and around it, as never before. The first video, which began in airing in July, called attention to the questions that remain regarding the short- and long-term effects of the oil spill. WHOI researchers, who have more than four decades of experience studying the science of oil spills, are continuing to lend their expertise and technology to help provide some of the best possible answers in the Gulf.
Despite harsh conditions such as crushing pressure, perpetual darkness, corrosive chemicals, and extreme temperatures, the world’s ocean is teeming with life. The second video in the series, called “Alien,” features one of the amazing creatures that have been discovered in the sea. More than 6,000 new species were discovered during the past 10 years, according to the Census of Marine Life project.
The current video airing in Times Square highlights WHOI’s commitment to insure that the ocean bottom remains within reach of the scientific community. For more than 45 years, the Institution has operated the nation’s deepest-diving submersible Alvin for scientists who study the unique geology, physics, chemistry, and biology of the ocean floor. The hardworking sub has made more than 4,600 dives and given scientists from around the world a front-row seat on the forces that shape our planet and that contribute to life on Earth.
“Our fate has always rested in one way or another with the ocean,” Avery said. “It is crucial to our survival on the planet to further our understanding of how the ocean works and how it interacts with the atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and humanity.”
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization in Falmouth, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the oceans’ role in the changing global environment.