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Media Tip Sheet – September 2021

September 14, 2021

Welcome to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s media tip sheet.  You are receiving this email because you’ve asked to be kept up to date on news items, or we have worked with you in news reporting capacity.  If you don’t want to receive these monthly news tips, please respond to this email with the words “opt out.”

Our goal is to provide an advance or detailed look at stories we believe are impactful or trending and offer WHOI experts if you’re interested in a deeper dive.

United Nations Climate Week, Sept. 20-Sept. 26, 2021

The recent  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report used its strongest language yet to describe the impacts of a warming planet and climate change. Climate Week, hosted annually by the international non-profit Climate Group in conjunction with the United Nations, is a global opportunity to come together to accelerate climate action. WHOI, a leader in ocean research and exploration, is committed to protecting our oceans and raising awareness through science. The ocean covers more than 70% of the earth’s surface, and WHOI’s scientists and administrators are working to better understand it’s connections to climate.

Tuesday, September 21, 7:30 – 8:15 pm:  In conjunction with Climate Week 2021, WHOI is hosting a live web event – Illuminating the Abyss; Inspiration, Exploration and Discovery in the Ocean Twilight Zone.  Featuring leading ocean explorers and advocates in a live conversation about pushing boundaries and seeking solutions to the Earth’s most press problems, including James Cameron, Ray Dalio, Peter de Menocal and Edith Widder.  Hosted by journalist and author Tatiana Schlossberg.  Additional information can be found here.

It’s Back to School Month; Keep it Weird!

It’s dark. It’s vast. And it’s the domain of countless creatures that are so weird, they seem to be from another world. Because they are.  Crazy-looking creatures like the anglerfish, strawberry squid and atolla jellyfish are labeled as “weird”, but they do a world of good and offer an important message about celebrating the weird in all of us.

Learn more here.

For kids – take the quiz and find out which weird ocean critter you are!

Did you know?

It’s a school of fish, a smack of jellyfish, and a consortium of crabs.

HOV Alvin to Return to the Deep Sea this September

In early September, the WHOI-operated, human-occupied submersible Alvin was moved from the Iselin Marine Facility in Woods Hole Village to its home base on the research vessel Atlantis. The move comes after an 18-month overhaul and upgrade and sets the stage for nearly two months of tests in the North Atlantic. The first expedition, its sea trials, will test Alvin’s engineering systems and culminate with a certification dive to its new maximum depth of 6,500 meters. The second in the series is the sub’s Science Verification Expedition (SVE), in which Alvin will complete several dives chosen by a team of scientists intended to confirm its ability to support deep-ocean research. After a successful completion of the SVE, it will be declared ready to resume research activities.  Learn more here.

Note to journalists:  assets and interviews are available.

WHOI Selected for New NSF Science & Technology Center

A new NSF-funded Science and Technology Center based at WHOI will conduct transformative research, along with education and outreach, to promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of the chemicals and chemical processes that underpin ocean ecosystems.  The Center for Chemical Currencies of a Microbial Planet (C-CoMP) is one of six centers that NSF announced on Thursday, Sept. 9 . NSF has made an initial commitment for five years of support with the possibility of continued support for five additional years. Learn more here.

Note to journalists:  assets and interviews are available.

Some Coral Reefs Are Keeping Pace With Ocean Warming

A variety of coral communities are becoming more heat tolerant as ocean temperatures rise, offering hope for corals in a changing climate. After a series of marine heatwaves hit the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) in the central Pacific Ocean, a recent WHOI-led study found that the impact of heat stress on certain coral communities lessened over time. The authors of the study, including WHOI marine scientist, Anne Cohen, suspect heat-tolerant offspring from the surviving corals are repopulating the reefs, allowing the community to keep pace with warming seas, at least for the time being. This research could help coral reef managers identify coral communities most likely to survive in our warming ocean, improving conservation and restoration outcomes.

Note to journalists:  assets and interviews are available.

Emperor penguins, Increasingly Under Siege by Climate Change, Proposed as Threatened Species under Endangered Species Act

Decades of studies by an international team of researchers, including Stephanie Jenouvrier, associate scientist, and seabird ecologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, were instrumental in establishing the need for protections and highlighting that urgent climate action is needed to protect the species.  Emperor penguins are indicator species whose population trends can illustrate the consequences of climate changes.  These iconic birds need reliable sea ice for breeding and raising their chicks and are being pushed toward extinction by the climate crisis melting the sea ice they need for survival and reproduction. Read more here.

Note to journalists:  assets and interviews are available.

Visual assets of the Month:

Seaweed Solutions: WHOI leads project to develop new kelp strains

ship dock

Woods Hole, MA (September 9, 2021) – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s human occupied submersible Alvin was loaded onto the research vessel Atlantis after an 18-month overhaul and upgrade – the first step in its ultimate goal of reaching 6,500 meters. The move sets the stage for nearly two months of tests in the North Atlantic, beginning in late September. (© Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


Media contacts:

Suzanne Pelisson
Associate Director, Public Relations

Kylee Denesha
Public Relations Specialist