Robert Detrick

Senior Scientist

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Robert Detrick
Bob Detrick inspects WHOI's newest research vessel, the 60-foot coastal research vessel Tioga.

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Detrick talks with WHOI Trustee John Scully

Contact Information:
Work: 508 289-3335
Fax: 508 457-2185
Building: 38 Water St., Woods Hole Village

Mailing Address:
Mail Stop 37
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Research Interests
Crustal accretion processes at mid-ocean ridges; the seismic structure and evolution of oceanic crust; size, depth, and physical properties of ridge crest magma chambers; nature of mantle flow beneath mid-ocean ridges and relationship to ridge segmentation and axial topography; relationship between seismic structure of oceanic crust and geology of the crust.

Current Responsibilities
Vice President for Marine Facilities and Operations
  • Oversees the scheduling, operation and quality of the facilities (ships, vehicles, ocean observatories) that the Institution maintains to provide access to the sea for WHOI scientists and engineers and those from other research institutions.
  • Responsible for the preparation of annual proposals and budgets for the support of WHOI’s for research vessels, shipboard technical support staff and equipment, and the National Deep Submergence Facility.
  • Oversees for the collection, quality control, archiving and dissemination of scientific data collected by WHOI’s research vessels, vehicles and ocean observatories.
  • Responsible for longer-term planning for WHOI’s marine facilities (ships, vehicles, ocean observatories), including the acquisition of new ships, vehicles and observing systems, required to meet future scientific needs of WHOI scientists.
  • Responsible for the administration and distribution of income from the Institution’s Access to the Sea endowment and works with the Vice President for Board and Corporate Relations to raise funds for this endowment.
  • Serves as the primary contact at WHOI for matters related to the Institution’s marine facilities and access to the sea, and may serve on various national and international Boards or committees to represent the Institution in these forums.
  • Responsible for WHOI's Computer and Information Services group which provides network data management and e-mail services, communications, computer systems support and applications programming to the WHOI community.
Brief Biolography

Born and raised in Bethel Park, PA (a suburb of Pittsburgh), Detrick earned a B.S. in Geology and Physics in 1971 from Lehigh University.  While still an undergraduate at Lehigh, Bob spent the summer of 1970 at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as a Summer Student Fellow.  After graduation from Lehigh, he enrolled as a student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA, obtaining a M.S. degree in marine geology in 1974.  After a one-year stint as an exploration geophysicist with Chevron USA in San Francisco, he returned to graduate school in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program where he received his PhD in 1978.

Bob subsequently spent 12 years on the faculty at the
University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography before returning to WHOI as a Senior Scientist in 1991 in the Department of Geology and Geophysics.  At WHOI he held the J. Seward Johnson Chair from 1993 to 1999 and served as Educational Coordinator for the Geology and Geophysics Department.  In 1999 he was appointed Chair of the Geology and Geophysics Department, a post he held until 2004 when he was made Vice President for Marine Facilities and Operations at WHOI, a post he presently holds.

Bob lists more than 100 scientific publications on the seismic structure of mid-ocean ridges and oceanic crust, the size, depth, and properties of ridge crest magma chambers; and the nature of mantle flow beneath mid-ocean ridges and relationship to ridge segmentation and axial topography.  He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and won the A. G. Huntsman Medal in 1996.  He has supervised 15 graduate students and postdoctoral investigators and has participated in over 30 major oceanographic cruises, 18 as chief scientist or co-chief scientist. He is co-PI for WHOI's ocean bottom seismic instrumentation laboratory which builds and operates ocean bottom seismometers for the U.S. National Ocean Bottom Seismic Instrumentation Pool.  He is also senior PI on WHOI’s NSF-funded $21.5M project to construct a replacement for WHOI's DSRV Alvin.  Bob has served on and chaired committees and panels for various international and national organizations including the RIDGE Steering Committee (chair from 1992-1995), the JOIDES Executive Committee (chair from 1996-1998), the NSF Geosciences Advisory Committee (chair 2004-2005), and the ORION Executive Steering Committee (chair 2005-present).  He is currently a member of the Board of Governors of both Joint Oceanographic Institutions and IODP Management International, and past President of AGU's Tectonophysics Section.


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Last updated April 10, 2009
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