UMass Dartmouth
Print Click to Print      Back Back to Main Article

Understanding Inner Space: The Realm of the Deep Ocean

Lecture series to be presented by UMass Dartmouth School of Marine Science and Technology, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Mass Marine Fisheries Institute

Throughout history, the poets wondered about the majesty and mystery of the sea. Lord Byron wrote, "Roll on, deep and dark blue ocean, roll. Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain." Wordsworth wished that he could "hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn."

The mysteries of the ocean, perceived by the poets, began to unfold as the New Bedford whaling fleet began to explore the seven seas. At that time, the lives and habits of the great whales were scarcely known; there was virtually no understanding of the food chain that sustains life in the ocean, and the harvest of fish was thought to be unlimited. But now in the last century, the understanding of inner space, the realm of the deep ocean, its circulation and living organisms is becoming clearer.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum, the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute (MFI) are joining together to invite the public to an exciting series of free lectures on the scientific work currently taking place to deepen our understanding of inner space. The lectures start at 5:30 p.m. at the Whaling Museum Theatre and are open to the public.

Starting on Friday, March 23rd, Professor Ray Hilborn, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, speaks about the influence of fishing on the cod fisheries of the North Atlantic. Professor Hilborn is well known for his work on fish population dynamics.

On Wednesday, April 4th, Professor Bradley Stevens, School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, describes the discovery of the oldest known shipwreck in Alaska, the Russian Barque Kad'yak, which sunk in March 1860 on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

On Tuesday, April 10th, Professor Carl Wunsch, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discusses the changing ocean circulation. Professor Wunsch was a key contributor to the development of the world ocean circulation experiment (WOCE), the earliest initiative in satellite oceanography. The circulation of the ocean is closely coupled with changes in climate and of great contemporary interest.

On Tuesday, May 1st, Professor Glenn Flierl, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discusses "grouping behavior, in tidal flows, whale searching and feeding." Professor Flierl is well known for his analyses linking biology and ocean physics.

On Thursday, May 17th, Dr. Kenneth Sherman, Director of the Narragansett Laboratory of the National Marine Fisheries Service, will tell us about the global study of large marine ecosystems. The concept of large marine ecosystems was originated by Dr. Sherman. Large marine ecosystems now form a structure for the Global Environmental Funds (GEF) $100 million investigation of the ecosystems of the world ocean.

May 29 -- Professor Ricardo Serrao Santos, Director of the Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, and Vice Rector at the University of the Azores, will describe the fascinating study of the deep-sea vents associated with the Middle Atlantic Ridge. These vents are inhabited by animals that live in superheated water and have acquired specialized lifestyles to accommodate their ecology.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum, the world's most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of whales and whaling, is the cornerstone of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill, the Museum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month, admission is free for members and children under the age of 6, $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (59+) and students with a valid ID, and $6 for children ages 6-14. For a complete calendar of events, visit the Museum online at

The Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute (MFI) is an innovative partnership between the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA), the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) and the Department of Fisheries Oceanography at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST). The focus of the MFI is to investigate real world solutions through cooperative research with the fishing industry of New England and the interdisciplinary sciences which study the interactions between marine organisms and marine environments. The MFI administers and supports research projects involving UMass Dartmouth faculty, professional researchers, technical staff, graduate students and undergraduate students.

The School for Marine Science and Technology is the marine campus of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Scientists at the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) have expertise in ocean modeling and monitoring, fisheries science and management, coastal systems science, ocean acoustics, biogeochemistry, remote sensing, and ocean engineering.

Author:  "John Hoey"
Date:  20-Mar-2007
Department:   SMAST

You can find this article at: