National Science Foundation News

Walter Munk, 2017 (Photo: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego)

Walter Munk: 1917-2019

Los Angeles, with which Scripps was affiliated at the time, in 1947.In the 1950s, Munk explored topics such as the wobble of Earth and wind-driven ocean gyres as oceanography transitioned from a wartime emphasis on defense to a focus on basic science questions supported by entities such as the National Science Foundation. He took part in iconic seagoing expeditions including the Capricorn Expedition in 1952 and 1953. For this expedition, Munk, Revelle and dozens of other scientists were dispatched to the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean in the prelude to the testing of a nuclear bomb at Bikini Atoll

Photo: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Waters West of Europe Drive Ocean Overturning

part of an ambitious large-scale observing system that would allow scientists for the first time to continuously measure the strength and pathways of ocean currents through the entire subpolar North Atlantic.OSNAP, which is proposed to continue for 10 years and is funded in large part by the National Science Foundation, also includes the release of over 100 deep-drifting buoys to trace the pathways of the cold dense waters traveling southward near the sea floor. Much of the at-sea work required to put the observing system in place was carried out from the WHOI-operated research vessels Knorr (now retired)

Study: Sunflower Sea Star Population in Peril

in water temperature by up to 4 degrees Celsius that started in 2014.NOAA scientists surveyed sunflower sea stars in thousands of deep trawls from Mexico to the Canadian border and recorded 100 percent decline in all states in deep water down to 1,000 meters.The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, NOAA and the Department of Commerce

Photo: Oregon State University

Construction Starts on OSU's Research Ship

of a new Oregon State University (OSU) bound research ship that will advance the science of coastal environments, and support research on topics such as ocean acidification, hypoxia, and sea level rise, officially began today at Gulf Island Shipyards in Louisiana.Officials from OSU the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Gulf Island Shipyards LLC gathered at the shipyard in Houma, La. for the keel-laying ceremony, marking the start of fabrication of the state-of-the art ship. The ship will be the first in a class of Regional Class Research Vessels funded by the NSF.During the ceremony, John Byrne

(Photo courtesy MATE II)

Voices: Jill Zande, MATE II

facing marine technical education. The focus was on technician education; providing students with practical, hands-on learning. I realized that was what was missing from my education – the hands-on, applied piece.He also said that MATE was just getting started with funding from the National Science Foundation and was looking to hire people. I had always wanted to head to Monterey – who wouldn’t, with MBARI, the Aquarium, and the host of so many other marine-related institutions and organizations around the bay. I applied for the outreach program coordinator position and was hired

The research vessel Neil Armstrong arrived to recover a surface mooring that is part of the OOI Global Array in the Irminger Sea south of Greenland in 2016. (Photo by James Kuo, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

NSF Awards Contract to Continue Ocean Observatories Initiative

A state-of-the-art marine facility delivering data and new insight to the ocean science community, policy-makers and the public worldwide has received additional support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).The NSF awarded a coalition of academic and oceanographic research organizations a five-year, $220 million contract to operate and maintain the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). The coalition, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), with direction from the NSF and guidance from the OOI Facilities Board, will include the University of Washington (UW), Oregon State University

The rotating head of the overview sonar, with the Sonic 2022 on it. (Photo taken with ROV Jason. Credits: UW/NSF-OOI/WHOI/MARUM, V18)

MultiBeam EchoSounder Enables First-of-its-kind Research

with ocean warming and volume of methane release in the ocean.The Sonic 2022 deployed in June 2018 is mounted on a tripod that lays on the seafloor, and is connected to the Regional Cabled Array of the Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI), an underwater cabled observatory funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which provides power supply and two-way communication to the instrument.  The Sonic 2022 rotates 360° to survey the ocean for methane emissions in all directions.  

Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

Studying Aliens of the Deep

of Bioengineering at SEAS.Phillips is currently an Assistant Professor of Ocean Engineering at the University of Rhode Island. Additional authors of the paper include Kaitlyn Becker, Griffin Whittredge, and James Weaver, Ph.D. from the Wyss Institute and SEAS.This research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences

Researchers converted their three-finger soft manipulator to a two-finger version, seen here performing a pinch grasp on an extremely delicate sea cucumber. (Credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute)

A Soft Solution to a Hard Underwater Problem

of Rhode Island, Randi Rotjan, Ph.D. from Boston University, Timothy Shank, Ph.D. from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Erik Cordes, Ph.D. from Temple University.The research was supported by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association, the Schmidt Ocean Institute, the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the PIPA Conservation Trust, the PIPA Scientific Committee, and the Wyss Institute at Harvard University

TCarta will deploy machine learning and computer vision techniques to enhance satellite derived bathymetry in the littoral zone. (Image source: Copernicus Sentinel data 2018)

NSF Grant to Enhance Satellite-derived Bathymetry Technology

Marine geospatial products provider TCarta Marine has been awarded a research and development grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to enhance and automate multiple techniques for deriving seafloor depth measurements from optical satellite imagery. The ‘Project Trident’ research seeks to transform existing satellite derived bathymetry (SDB) techniques by leveraging machine learning and computer vision technology to enable accurate depth retrieval in variable water conditions.If successful, TCarta said, these enhanced bathymetric techniques will have positive impacts on operations

Photo: OSIL

OSIL Supply US Antarctic Program with Multi Corer

Global seabed sampling experts Ocean Scientific International Ltd delivered a 12-station Multiple Corer to Colorado-based ASC, the support contractor to the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), for use in Antarctic waters.The corer will be deployed by upcoming projects in the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, a joint project of the U.K.’s Natural Environment Research Council and NSF’s Office of Polar Programs, which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program.The corer will be used to investigate the role of the Southern Ocean biological pump in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide

Following days of heavy rain from Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, rivers and bays around the Houston metropolitan area and the Texas coast were full of flood water, which brought muddy, sediment-laden waters inland into the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo: NASA Earth Observatory)

How Does River Outflow Impact Coastal Sea Level?

granular data, so they can understand how individual events, like a hurricane or massive rainfall, might affect ocean levels.“Many processes can affect sea level, making predictions of regional sea level change a challenging endeavor,” says Larry Peterson, a program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Division of Ocean Sciences, which funded the research.  “These scientists show that discharge from rivers can play a significant but overlooked role in the interpretation of sea level from downstream tide gauges. The work has important implications for climate

RV Thomas G. Thompson (Photo: University of Washington)

US Navy-owned Research Vessel Back in Action

vessel has been operated and maintained University of Washington since 1991, under a charter lease agreement with the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-which manages the ship on behalf of the service.The $52 million refit, which was sponsored by ONR, the University of Washington and the National Science Foundation, extended the Thompson's life by another 15-20 years. By comparison, it would cost around $200 million to build a new research vessel."The refit of the R/V Thompson provides a continued global capability of support to Navy and national oceanographic research objectives,"

Photo: Power Dynamics Innovations LLC

PDI to Supply Centerboard for OSU's New Research Vessel

Vessel (RCRV).Gulf Island Shipyards is building the vessel under a contract from OSU, with an option for two additional vessels. OSU has engaged with naval architecture and engineering firm Glosten to lead the design contract of the next class of oceangoing research vessels for the National Science Foundation (NSF).These state-of-the-art 193-foot ships will be highly flexible, multimission platforms that maximize energy efficient design concepts. The first vessel will be built in Houma, La., and will be delivered to OSU in the fourth quarter of 2020. This vessel will be ABS Ice-Class C0 and

Fig.3. Located at 200 m depth, two ADCPs (150 kHz, 5-beam 600 kHz) are installed on the fixed platform of an SPM. (Credit: NSF-OOI/UW/ISS; Dive R1832, VISIONS ‘15 expedition)

ADCPs: Action in OOI's Cabled Observatory

seabed environments in strategic locations for extended periods. Some supply continuous real-time data via a cable connection to shore.   A prime example is the Cabled Array in the NE Pacific Ocean. This observatory is part of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF). Engineered by the Applied Physics Laboratory / University of Washington (APL / UW), the Cabled Array uses dedicated telecoms cables. They provide a high voltage supply and high-speed communication links to nodes as far as 500 km from shore.   Besides its high-tech infrastructure

A stretch hose being deployed at sea (Photo: EOM Offshore)

WHOI Spins Off Tech Start-up EOM Offshore

or environmental monitoring equipment that are movement and noise sensitive   Varying EOM Offshore mooring applications used in conjunction with gliders and AUVs are being used in the NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), a major oceanographic community project funded by National Science Foundation to establish long-term oceanographic platforms equipped with sensors that monitor ocean conditions 24/7 for decades. In addition, EOM Offshore mooring systems are currently being used to listen for endangered Right whale calls and transmit those signals to shore in order to warn ships

Electron microscope images of marine bacteria infected with the non-tailed viruses studied in this research. The bacterial cell walls are seen as long double lines, and the viruses are the small round objects with dark centers. (Courtesy of researchers)

New Virus Found in the Ocean

are not detected by standard tests.   The newly identified viruses have long been missed by previous studies due several unusual properties including a lack of “tail” found on most catalogued and sequenced bacterial viruses.   This research, supported by the National Science Foundation and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Ocean Ventures Fund, “opens new avenues for furthering our understanding of the roles of viruses in the ocean,” said Jed Fuhrman, the McCulloch-Crosby Chair of Marine Biology at the University of Southern California, who

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