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Woods Hole Oceanographic Website Allows Users to Follow Research Expeditions - 2004-08-19


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, located in the northeastern coastal state of Massachusetts, is a private, non-profit research and educational facility. Their website, whoi.edu, has a tremendous amount of information for students and teachers, scientists, and anyone interested in the world's oceans.

Geothermal vents, ocean pollution, and marine policy are just a few of the subjects that researchers at Woods Hole are looking at. If you're interested in the latest ocean research, you can virtually join an expedition, in some cases seeing things at the same time scientists are seeing them.

The Woods Hole website offers a number of features for students at the high school level and below, including an annual expedition where scientists report back information that is more kid-friendly.

"So for example, this year they just finished a cruise in June, and they were out at the Juan de Fuca ridge where they were studying hydrothermal vents in the Pacific. And they were using the deep submersible Alvin to go down to study the hydrothermal vents, and we were broadcasting from that location to hundreds of schools across the country here," says Danielle Fino, web communications manager.

Ms. Fino adds that the site includes a new online magazine called Oceanus with recent articles including earthquake forecasting, oil pollution and offshore wind farms.

"There you can find a variety of information and articles on subjects such as coastal ocean, climate, things such as that," she says.

With much of the world's population living in coastal areas, it's not surprising that about 20 percent of the site's visitors come from outside the United States.

Ms. Fino says that Woods Hole is planning to reorganize the site to better reflect the subjects that users are interested in, rather than the internal organization of the institution.

"If someone's coming to look for climate change, they wouldn't think to go to our physical oceanography department to find information about climate change," she explains. "They just wouldn't even know that. So one of the things that we're going to be doing is we're going to be having all of our research organized by topic."

And that should make all this information a little easier to get to. Visit the Woods Whole Oceanographic Institution online at whoi.edu.

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