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The WHOI Marine Mammal Center is born.

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A new center has been established at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to pursue research on marine mammal behavior, physiology, and health, and the potential effects of human activities on marine animals and ecosystems.

The Marine Mammal Center (MMC) brings together under one umbrella a diverse group of scientists and engineers and state-of-the-art facilities and technologies. These include noninvasive devices and remotely operated platforms for observing animals and collecting data at sea. A new Marine Research Facility building houses a computerized tomography (CT) scanner with specially designed animal handling equipment, as well as necropsy space, freezers, and chillers to preserve and analyze specimens.

Research conducted by MMC scientists has involved challenging issues that affect many parts of our society, including disease transmission and antibiotic resistance in marine animals (Page 30); the impacts of climate change on marine populations (Page 6); methods to decrease whale entanglements in fishing gear (Page 12); ways to reduce the effects on marine mammals from sonar (Page 42), collisions with ships (Page 14), and construction and military activities (Page 38) along our coasts and at sea.

"There has been such an expansion of conservation-related work at WHOI that can inform important policy decisions," said Peter Tyack, director of the Marine Mammal Center and a senior scientist in the WHOI Biology Department. "Our goals for the MMC include helping our researchers to share data and develop new programs, and to make it easier for scientists to interact with other organizations and decision-makers." A generous gift from Peter and Ginny Nicholas and family catalyzed the MMC's formation. Continuing support will come from many sources. MMC researchers will be able to develop collaborative proposals to submit to a broad range of government, industry, and private funding sources.

The MMC will encourage collaborations among researchers at WHOI and other institutions to further understanding of marine animals. MMC has initiated a graduate student fellowship with Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment to let graduate students at each institution spend time working with experts at the other. Additional multi-institution collaborations are being developed with the National Marine Life Center, the International Fund for Animal Welfare Marine Mammal Rescue & Research, and the New England Aquarium to further scientific research that improves understanding of the animals and informs global conservation efforts.
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Title Annotation:AROUND WHOI; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Author:Madin, Kate
Publication:Oceanus
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2009
Words:380
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