Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Announces Long Term Research Project of the Atlantic Ocean’s Northeast Shelf

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, an NEC member, recently announced that scientists from the institution will lead a long-term research project to study the ecosystem of the Northeast Shelf of the Atlantic Ocean.

The study will focus on studying plankton in the waters south of Martha’s Vineyard in order to record how environmental changes are affecting the plankton population, which serves as the backbone for the entire ecosystem. By identifying changes year to year, the scientists can determine how the aquatic food chain may be changing over time and how healthy the ecosystem is. To collect data, the scientists will use two ocean observatory sites, deploy “sophisticated sensors,” and carry out field research via boat trips to the area.  The National Science Foundation awarded $6 million for five years of the study, with the possibility of extending funding when the research team present their results to the National Science Foundation at the end of the five years.

Heidi Sosik, project leader and senior scientist at the Institute, explained that the study results could hold meaning for the region’s fishing industry because the health of the region’s plankton population can impact fishery production.  “The environment is changing. I know it, and the fishermen know it,” explained Sosik. “But by keeping the lines of communication open, we can preserve the environment while still not disrupting business.”

The New England Council congratulates Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on the grant for this latest study focusing on the health of New England’s aquatic ecosystem. Read more in The Boston Globe and Cape Cod Times

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