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UCSD wins grant to launch massive study of the oceans

The greatest leap in marine science since research vessels began exploring the seas in the 1870s will yield findings crucial for climate-change studies to earthquake assessments.

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california trucking pollution solutions The University of California San Diego has won a $29 million contract to help launch a high-tech project aimed at revolutionizing people's knowledge of the oceans.

Researcher Matthew Arrott is working with John Orcutt and other scientists at UCSD to create a computer infrastructure for the Ocean Observatories Initiative.

The university's efforts are part of a $350 million federal initiative that coordinators describe as the greatest leap in marine science since research vessels began exploring the seas in the 1870s.

Oceanographers, biologists and other experts plan to study the diverse ecosystems of the oceans by installing unmanned observation systems at various depths. Stations on the sea floor will have interactive instruments such as high-resolution cameras and remote-controlled robots that can drill into rocks to collect samples. Data-gathering buoys will be deployed on the surface and in the water column.

“This is the first step in gaining a fundamental understanding of the three-quarters of our planet that we know almost nothing about,” said Steve Bohlen, president of Joint Oceanographic Institutions in Washington, D.C. “It will transform how we understand the whole system – how the earth, land and air all operate together.”

Bohlen compared the undertaking, called the Ocean Observatories Initiative, to the global establishment of weather stations that provide continuous information about what's happening to Earth's atmosphere and surface.

Marine experts said the initiative eventually will yield findings crucial for everything from temperature readings for climate-change studies to geological readings for earthquake assessments.

Read the full story at the San Diego Union-Tribune

Edited by Carolyn Allen
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