Edith Widder

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Edith "Edie" A. Widder
Edie thumb 33 ft.jpg
Dr. Widder at 33' depth in the Johnson Sea Link submersible
Born 1951
Residence Florida[1]
Citizenship American
Alma mater UCSB
Known for Bioluminescence Research

Edith Widder (born 1951) is an American oceanographer, marine biologist, and the Co-founder, CEO and Senior Scientist at the Ocean Research & Conservation Association.[2][3][4]

She graduated from Tufts University magna cum laude with a B.S. in Biology, from University of California, Santa Barbara with an M.S. in Biochemistry, and from University of California, Santa Barbara with a PhD in Neurobiology, in 1982.[5] She was a senior scientist and director of the Bioluminescence Department at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution from 1989 to 2005.[6] Certified as a Scientific Research Pilot for Atmospheric Diving Systems in 1984, she holds certifications that qualify her to dive the deep diving suit WASP[3] as well as the single-person untethered submersibles DEEP ROVER and DEEP WORKER[7] and she has made over 250 dives in the JOHNSON SEA LINK submersibles.[8] Her research involving submersibles has been featured in BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel and National Geographic television productions.[9][10][11]

A specialist in bioluminescence she has been a leader in helping to design and invent new instrumentation and techniques that enable scientists to see the ocean in new ways. These include HIDEX, a bathyphotometer, which is the U.S. Navy standard for measuring bioluminescence in the ocean,[12] and a remotely operated camera system, known as Eye in the Sea (EITS), an unobtrusive deep-sea observatory.[13][14][15]

In 2005, Widder co- founded the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA), a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of aquatic ecosystems and the species they sustain through development of innovative technologies and science-based conservation action. While translating complex scientific issues into engineerable solutions, Widder is fostering greater understanding of ocean life as a means to better, more informed ocean stewardship. In September 2006 she was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation[16] and in 2010 she participated in the TED Mission Blue Voyage in the Galapagos.[17]

In 2012, a team of scientists comprising Edith Widder, marine biologist Steve O'Shea and zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera successfully filmed a live giant squid (Architeuthis dux) in its natural habitat.[18]



  • Widder, E. A.; Latz, M. I.; Herring, P. J.; Case, J. F. (1984). "Far Red Bioluminescence from Two Deep-Sea Fishes". Science 225 (4661): 512–514. doi:10.1126/science.225.4661.512. PMID 17750854.  edit
  • Widder, E. A.; Bernstein, S. A.; Bracher, D. F.; Case, J. F.; Reisenbichler, K. R.; Torres, J. J.; Robison, B. H. (1989). "Bioluminescence in the Monterey Submarine Canyon: Image analysis of video recordings from a midwater submersible". Marine Biology 100 (4): 541–551. doi:10.1007/BF00394831.  edit
  • Widder, E. A. (2009). "Mixed light imaging system for recording bioluminescence behaviours". Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 72: 131. doi:10.1017/S0025315400048839.  edit
  • Widder, E. A.; Greene, C. H.; Youngbluth, M. J. (1992). "Bioluminescence of sound-scattering layers in the Gulf of Maine". Journal of Plankton Research 14 (11): 1607–1624. doi:10.1093/plankt/14.11.1607.  edit
  • Widder, E.; Case, J.; Bernstein, S.; MacIntyre, S.; Lowenstine, M.; Bowlby, M.; Cook, D. (1993). "A new large volume bioluminescence bathyphotometer with defined turbulence excitation". Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 40 (3): 607–627. doi:10.1016/0967-0637(93)90148-V.  edit
  • Widder, E.A. (1997) Bioluminescence – Shedding some light on plankton distribution patterns. Sea Technology March 1997:33–39.
  • Widder, E. A. (1998). Environmental Biology of Fishes 53 (3): 267–273. doi:10.1023/A:1007498915860.  edit
  • Widder, E.A. (1999) Bioluminescence. In: “Adaptive Mechanisms in the Ecology of Vision.” Edited by: S.N. Archer, M.B.A. Djamgoz, E. Loew, J.C. Partridge & S. Vallerga. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands. pp 555–581.
  • Johnsen, S., E.J. Balser and E.A. Widder. (1999) Modified suckers as light organs in a deep-sea octopod. Nature 398:113–114.
  • Widder, E. A.; Johnsen, S.; Bernstein, S. A.; Case, J. F.; Neilson, D. J. (1999). "Thin layers of bioluminescent copepods found at density discontinuities in the water column". Marine Biology 134 (3): 429–437. doi:10.1007/s002270050559.  edit
  • Johnsen, S. and E.A. Widder. (1999) The physical basis of transparency in biological tissue: Ultrastructure and the minimization of light scattering. J. Theor. Biol. 199: 181–198
  • Widder, E.A and S. Johnsen (2000) 3D spatial point patterns of bioluminescent plankton: A map of the “minefield” J. Plank. Res. 22(3): 409–420.
  • Widder, E.A. (2000) Bioluminescence in octopods. Yearbook of Science and Technology. McGraw-Hill 2001: 52–55.
  • Herring, P.J. and E.A. Widder (2001) Bioluminescence in plankton and nekton. In; Steele, J.H., Thorpe, S.A. and Turekian, K.K. editors, Encyclopedia of Ocean Science, Vol. 1, 308–317. Academic Press, San Diego.
  • Widder, E. A.; Frank, T. M. (2001). "The speed of an isolume: A shrimp's eye view". Marine Biology 138 (4): 669–677. doi:10.1007/s002270000504.  edit
  • Widder, E.A. (2001) Bioluminescence. Bioscience Explained http://www.bioscience-explained.org/EN1.1/features.html Invited review.
  • Widder, E. (2002). "Bioluminescence and the Pelagic Visual Environment". Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 35: 1–26. doi:10.1080/10236240290025581.  edit
  • Widder, E. A. (2002). SPLAT CAM: Mapping plankton distributions with bioluminescent road-kill. pp. 1711–1715. doi:10.1109/OCEANS.2002.1191891.  edit
  • Widder, Edith (2002). The Bioluminescence Coloring Book. Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. ISBN 978-0-9659686-6-9. 
  • Widder, E.A., C.L. Frey and L.J. Borne (2003) HIDEX Generation II: A New and Improved Instrument for Measuring Marine Bioluminescence. Marine Technology Society of the IEEE, Oceans 4:2214–2221
  • Widder, E.A., C.L. Frey and J.R. Bowers (2005) Improved bioluminescence measurement instrument. Sea Technology 46(2): 10–16
  • Widder, E.; Robison, B.; Reisenbichler, K.; Haddock, S. (2005). "Using red light for in situ observations of deep-sea fishes". Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 52 (11): 2077–2085. doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2005.06.007.  edit
  • Widder, E.A. (2006) A look back at quantifying oceanic bioluminescence: Seeing the light, flashes of insight and other bad puns. Mar Tech Soc J. 40(2):136–137.
  • Widder, E.A. (2007) Sly eye for the shy guy: Peering into the depths with new sensors Oceanography. 20(4): 46–51 (invited review)
  • Widder, E. A. (2010). "Bioluminescence in the Ocean: Origins of Biological, Chemical, and Ecological Diversity". Science 328 (5979): 704–708. doi:10.1126/science.1174269. PMID 20448176.  edit

Further reading[edit]

  • Collard, Sneed B. (2006). In the Deep Sea. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark. ISBN 978-0-7614-1952-5. 


  1. ^ http://undergrad.osu.edu/buckeyes_blog/?p=1701
  2. ^ ORCA – Ocean Research & Conservation Association. Teamorca.org (September 13, 2011). Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  3. ^ a b NOAA Ocean Explorer: OceanAGE Careers. Oceanexplorer.noaa.gov (August 5, 2010). Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  4. ^ ORCA – Ocean Research and Conservation Association – Team & Staff. Oceanrecon.org. Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  5. ^ Microsoft Word – Widder cv _3_.doc. (PDF). Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  6. ^ Researcher Bios. At-sea.org. Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ NOAA Ocean Explorer: Dr. Edie Widder Video Profile. Oceanexplorer.noaa.gov (August 1, 2006). Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  9. ^ NOVA | Profile: Edith Widder. Pbs.org (July 23, 2008). Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  10. ^ Access Video On Demand – Midwater Mysteries. Avod.films.com. Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  11. ^ National Geographic's Ocean Drifters [VHS]: Movies & TV. Amazon.com. Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  12. ^ Widder, E.; Case, J.; Bernstein, S.; MacIntyre, S.; Lowenstine, M.; Bowlby, M.; Cook, D. (1993). "A new large volume bioluminescence bathyphotometer with defined turbulence excitation". Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 40 (3): 607–627. doi:10.1016/0967-0637(93)90148-V.  edit
  13. ^ "Eye in the Sea camera reveals mysterious life on the ocean floor", Palm Beach Post, KIM MILLER, March 8, 2009
  14. ^ Schrope, M. (2007). "Marine biology: Lights in the deep". Nature 450 (7169): 472–474. doi:10.1038/450472a. PMID 18033270.  edit
  15. ^ The Beauty of Ugly – Interview: Dr. Edith Widder – Eye in the Sea | Nature. PBS. Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  16. ^ Edith Widder – MacArthur Foundation. Macfound.org. Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  17. ^ Edith Widder: Glowing life in an underwater world | Video on. Ted.com. Retrieved on October 21, 2011.
  18. ^ TED Talk 2013 - Edith Widder: How we found the giant squid

External links[edit]