The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) participated in the 2012 Commercial Marine Expo to meet with representatives of the fishing community and provide information on the Pioneer Array component of the program that will operate off the New England Coast.
The Marine Expo, held June 13-14 in New Bedford, MA, provided an opportunity for the program team to share OOI progress and information to fishermen, marine educators, marine industry sales representatives and other members of the local community.
The OOI team was represented by scientists involved with the program from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Glen Gawarkiewicz, a WHOI Senior Scientist of Physical Oceanography, said during the event the team was able to display some interesting early science results from recent at-sea mooring tests and also demonstrate OOI’s commitment to conducting outreach with all stakeholders in the community. The event, attended by thousands of participants and visitors, also gave the community the opportunity to provide OOI with feedback on the program from their perspective.
Gawarkiewicz noted that several members of the fishing community are interested in the data the OOI will provide. The OOI will put real-time ocean observing data in the hands of a vast user community including oceanographers, scientists, educators, fishermen and the public. Anyone with an Internet connection will be able to access OOI data.
Recently at the suggestion of some fishermen who are members of the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation, Gawarkiewicz and some other scientists from WHOI initiated a study to investigate some unusual currents and warm temperatures at the edge of the continental shelf south of New England.
Information provided by fishing contacts enabled Gawarkiewicz and the other scientists to examine the conditions that might have led to those circumstances. A small brochure detailing the results of that study was made available at the Marine Expo. The OOI Pioneer Array will help scientists study the changing conditions over the continental shelf and slope and to learn more about the impacts of unusual weather patterns and the Gulf Stream.
“The Marine Expo was a great opportunity to talk to people in the marine industry and let people know about OOI capabilities and the science that can be addressed with the observatories,” Gawarkiewicz said. “I was happy with the number of people who stopped by and asked good, thought-provoking questions about the observatories and what they can accomplish.”
The Pioneer Array will provide a more detailed, three-dimensional view of key biophysical interactions at the shelf break using a flexible, multiplatform array combining moored and mobile assets with high spatial and temporal resolution. With its initial location south of Cape Cod, the Pioneer Array will be embedded within an established regional observing system that will provide additional benefits and opportunities for coordination.
The OOI’s involvement in the Marine Expo is one of many outreach activities the program conducts on a regular basis. Click here to see more coverage and photos of OOI Outreach Events.