Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution logo.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI, acronym pronounced /ˈhi/ HOO-ee) is a private, nonprofit research and higher education facility dedicated to the study of all aspects of marine science and engineering and to the education of marine researchers. Established in 1930, it is the largest independent oceanographic research institution in the U.S., with staff and students numbering about 1,000. The Institution is organized into six departments,[1] four ocean institutes—ocean life, coastal ocean, ocean and climate change, deep ocean exploration[2]—the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research, and a marine policy center. Its shore-based facilities are located in the village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts, United States and a mile and a half away on the Quissett Campus. The bulk of the Institution's funding comes from grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation and other government agencies, augmented by foundations and private donations.

WHOI scientists, engineers, and students collaborate to develop theories, test ideas, build seagoing instruments, and collect data in diverse marine environments. Working in all the world’s oceans, their research agenda includes: geological activity deep within the earth; plant, animal, and microbial populations and their interactions in the ocean; coastal erosion; ocean circulation; ocean pollution; and global climate change.

Ships operated by WHOI carry research scientists throughout the world’s oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels (Atlantis, Knorr), the coastal craft Tioga, small research craft such as the dive-operation work boat Echo, the deep-diving human-occupied submersible Alvin, the tethered, remotely operated vehicle Jason/Medea, and autonomous underwater vehicles such as the REMUS and SeaBED. A new ship, Neil Armstrong is under construction and is scheduled to be completed in 2014. The RV Neil Armstrong will also replace the R/V Knorr, which has been used by WHOI since 1970.

WHOI offers graduate and post-graduate studies in marine science. There are several fellowship and trainee-ship programs, and graduate degrees are awarded through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or by the Institution itself.[3] WHOI also offers other outreach programs and informal public education through its Exhibit Center and summer tours. The Institution has a volunteer program and a membership program, WHOI Associates.

Mission[edit]

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to research and education to advance understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the Earth system, and to communicating this understanding for the benefit of society.

History[edit]

R/V Atlantis, the first research vessel operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

In 1927, a National Academy of Sciences committee concluded that it was time to "consider the share of the United States of America in a worldwide program of oceanographic research." The committee's recommendation for establishing a permanent independent research laboratory on the East Coast to "prosecute oceanography in all its branches" led to the founding in 1930 of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.[4]

A $2.5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation supported the summer work of a dozen scientists, construction of a laboratory building and commissioning of a research vessel, the 142-foot (43 m) ketch Atlantis, whose profile still forms the Institution's logo.[4]

WHOI grew substantially to support significant defense-related research during World War II, and later began a steady growth in staff, research fleet, and scientific stature. Over the years, WHOI scientists have made seminal discoveries about the ocean that have contributed to improving US commerce, health, national security, and quality of life.

In 1977 the institute appointed the influential oceanographer John Steele as director, and he served until his retirement in 1989.[5]

On 1 September 1985, a joint French-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution identified the location of the wreck of the RMS Titanic which sank off the coast of Newfoundland 15 April 1912.

In February 2008, Dr. Susan K. Avery became the new president and director of the institution. Avery, an atmospheric physicist, is the ninth director in WHOI's 77-year history, and the first woman to hold the position.

On 3 April 2011, within a week of resuming of the search operation for Air France Flight 447, a team led by WHOI, operating full ocean depth autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) owned by the Waitt Institute discovered, by means of sidescan sonar, a large portion of debris field from flight AF447.[6]

Research vessels[edit]

WHOI operates several research vessels, owned by the United States Navy, the National Science Foundation, or the Institution:

Small boat fleet[edit]

WHOI also operates many small boats, used in inland harbors, ponds, rivers, and coastal bays. All are owned by the Institution itself.

  • Motorboat Echo - 29 feet long (mainly used as a work boat to support dive operations, also the newest small research craft at WHOI)
  • Motorboat Mytilus - 24 feet long (mainly used in water too shallow for larger craft and is a versatile coastal research boat)
  • Motorboat Calanus - 21 feet long (mainly used in local water bodies such as Great Harbor, Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Bay)
  • Motorboat Limulus - 13 feet long (mainly used to shuttle equipment to larger craft and as a work platform for near-shore research tasks)
  • Rowboat Orzrus - 12 feet long (mainly used in harbors and ponds where motor craft are not permitted)

Underwater vehicles[edit]

WHOI also has developed numerous underwater autonomous and remotely operated vehicles for research:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Departments, Centers, and Labs". whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "Ocean Institutes". whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Ensuring the future of ocean science". whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "History and Legacy". whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "John Steele - obituary". The Telegraph. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  6. ^ In search of Air France Flight 447 Lawrence D. Stone Institute of Operations Research and the Management Sciences 2011
  7. ^ "James Cameron Partners With WHOI". National Geographic. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Robotic Deep-sea Vehicle Lost on Dive to 6-Mile Depth". WHOI. May 10, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°31′28.26″N 70°40′15.50″W / 41.5245167°N 70.6709722°W / 41.5245167; -70.6709722