John Delaney, of the UW School of Oceanography, is leading the team funded by the National Science Foundation to build an innovative underwater network in the northeast Pacific Ocean. Comprised of 575 miles of fiber-optic/power cables heavily instrumented with sensors, including high-definition video and still cameras, the network will collect and stream continuous live ocean and seafloor data onto the Internet. The first four lectures will explore how oceans dominate entire planetary ecosystems on earth and probably beyond. The final lecture, in fall 2014, will share results of the program's major seagoing expedition, scheduled for summer 2014, that will complete construction of the novel offshore laboratory the size of a tectonic plate. Single tickets to each lecture are $20 and are available at the door at each evening.
Click here for a short, 5-minute video on the project.
Click here to watch a longer video, "Down to the Volcano," about the goals of the cabled observatory program, as expressed through the story of the VISIONS '11 research expedition.
Dr. John Delaney joined the faculty of the University of Washington's School of Oceanography in 1977. He is a Professor of Oceanography and is the Principal Investigator and Director of the Regional Scale Nodes Program within the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative. He also holds the Jerome M. Paros Endowed Chair in Sensor Networks. He is a passionate and tenacious advocate for launching next-generation ocean science and educational capabilities.
Lecture 1 (April 15): Science of the Ocean/Poetry of the Sea: Exploring the Complexities of Earth’s Life Support System. This lecture will combine art and science to explore the complex, mysterious, and vital global ocean. The oceans of the world are a single coherent body of water that hosts a myriad of immensely complex physical, chemical, and biological phenomena - all of which are interactive at some scales of time and space. Our fate, living on the continents, is intimately connected to ocean phenomena, such as those that affect food production and can generate severe storms, tsunamis, earthquakes, droughts, and flooding. From wind-driven surface waves to the deep seafloor, the global ocean is an ever-changing, dynamic fluid system involving the interplay of currents, tides, salinity, energy from the sun, heat emerging on the seafloor from the Earth's interior, and populations of tiny plants and animals that live at the surface but are the life-giving bottom of the food chain.
Lecture 2 (April 29): Technological Innovation: Exploring Transformational Approaches to Ocean Science and Education. As a global community, we are challenged to optimize the benefits and mitigate the risks of living on the ocean planet. Society's rate of discovery and understanding will dramatically increase in coming decades as innovative strategies and infrastructure are put into place in the ocean. Many approaches will stream live, publicly available data onto the Internet, thus opening new horizons for citizen scientist participation.
Lecture 3 (May 6): Undercover Eruptions: Deep-Sea Volcanoes and Hydrothermal Systems Within Earth’s Longest Mountain Range. A 43,000-mile chain of underwater volcanoes zigzags around the earth but is mostly hidden from view. Associated with these volcanoes are deep-sea hot springs that support exotic, beautiful, and largely unexplored life forms living on the seafloor or below. High-definition video will provide closeup views of blood-red tubeworms, feathery palm worms, and purple octopods.
Lecture 4 (May 20): Undiscovered Life Forms Below the Seafloor and Beyond the Planet. This lively, on-stage dialogue between John Delaney and UW professor of oceanography and astrobiology, John Baross, will explore the role of submarine volcanoes in the origin and evolution of life on Earth and the potential for finding life in similar settings on other planets and moons. Baross led the National Academy of Sciences committee that provided guidance for scientific study of the limits of organic life in planetary systems. Delaney served on NASA committees that defined the nature of missions to the icy moons of Jupiter.
Lecture 5 (November 13): The VISIONS ’14 Expedition: Completing Construction of the World’s Largest Cabled Ocean Observatory Plans call for an eleven-week at-sea expedition in summer 2014, with John Delaney as Chief Scientist. The goal is to complete construction of the regional cabled ocean observatory, which is led by UW and is part of the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative. In this lecture, Delaney will report on the expedition and present the newest underwater high-definition video footage taken with the robotic undersea vehicle, ROPOS. Follow activities during VISIONS ’14 via the expedition website at http://www.interactiveoceans.washington.edu/story/VISIONS_14.