Bioscience

Expert to present deep-sea research

May 6, 2008

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: The Arizona Republic] – John Delaney, a professor at the University of Washington School of Oceanography, will discuss how scientists and engineers are working to unlock deep-sea mysteries during a free public program at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway.

“The ocean depths are the last unexplored frontier on Earth,” and a better understanding of that frontier “would revolutionize the ways humans can perceive and eventually manage their world,” Delaney said. He is involved in the National Science Foundation’s $335 million Ocean Observatories Initiative program to develop new technologies designed to probe the ocean depths.

Arizona State University researchers will be helping with research at the Center for Ecogenomics, which is based at ASU’s Biodesign Institute and directed by Deirdre Meldrum, dean of the university’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.

Delaney and Meldrum are collaborating on studying ecosystems in the region of the Pacific Ocean that overlies the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate off the U.S. Northwest.

Meldrum’s center at ASU is developing sensors to measure biological, chemical and physical aspects of the sea-floor environs at the microbial level. The sensors will provide real-time data and measurements to researchers on land via the Web.

“When this new system is connected to the Internet, it will allow scientists anywhere in the world to interact with the oceans,” Delaney said.

“Such developing technologies allow us to design and perform entirely new types of studies as if we were actually in the ocean,” Meldrum sa. “Now we can literally conduct oceanographic research from the desert, and make ASU a leader in this kind of remote environmental science.”

For more information on the National Science Foundation Ocean Observatories Initiative, go to www.ooi.washington.edu.