Fair Winds and Following Seas – and Opportunities to Trim the Sails
It’s with a heavy heart that I report the passing of Dr. Walter Munk, who has been called the world’s greatest living oceanographer and the “Einstein of the Oceans.” Walter was 101, and his incredible lifetime of achievements in oceanography, spread across so many disciplines, decades, and geographies is both humbling and inspiring. From making wave predictions in support of Allied amphibious landings during World War II to developing tsunami early warning methods and groundbreaking advances in ocean acoustics research that define that science today, Walter’s work will continue to shape ocean science forever. You can read more about his life and achievements in thisnotice from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Our ocean world just lost one of its most pre-eminent heroes. We will never match the course and speed he set over a lifetime of voyages, both literally and figuratively, but we must do our absolute best to follow in his wake and sail ahead with renewed commitment and resolve. I know that’s what he would expect of us.
As we trim our sails and press onward, I am encouraged by increasing activity on the Hill related to ocean issues and ocean science. Barely a month into the new Congress, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife has already held a hearing on “Healthy Oceans and Healthy Economies: The State of Our Oceans in the 21st Century” that included sensational testimony from Debbie Bronk, President and CEO of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences (and one of COL’s member representatives). You can read more details of the hearing below; I look forward to many more events and opportunities like this as the 116th Congress continues.
I was equally encouraged to see that Debbie was one of five women witnesses (out of seven total). As I reflect with great pride on the numerous, accomplished women leaders we have in COL and across the ocean science community, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Please join me in recognizing the great strides that have been made to advance opportunities for women in all scientific disciplines across much of our globe while also realizing that we still have a long voyage ahead to ensure full and equal access to science participation for women and girls everywhere – another opportunity that demands we trim our sails and sail swiftly ahead.
Study Shows Deep Microbes Hold Clues to Early Life
A new study has revealed how a group of deep-sea microbes provides clues to the evolution of life on Earth, according to a recent paper in The ISME Journal. Researchers from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute used cutting-edge molecular methods to study these microbes, which thrive in the hot, oxygen-free fluids that flow through Earth’s crust.
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