NEWPORT – News these days from the Oregon State University seems to have taken its cue from Jules Verne. There’s talk of underwater gliders, ocean observatory platforms and coastal profilers. This, however, is no sci-fi plotline, but the Ocean Observatories Initiative, the largest ocean science project ever funded by the U.S. government – and a big chunk of it is happening right here off our coast.
Scientists from the country’s leading oceanography institutions are at work on a five-year construction project that, when finished, will give instant access to anyone able to click a mouse to information from the surface waters to the very depths of the sea.
“It’s a huge deal,” said Bob Collier, OSU’s program manager. “It’s not going to replace the old way of going out to sea and making measurements, but it is going to add to them so we can better understand the ocean. It’s not only happening here. There are installations going on around the U.S. and around the globe. We’ve gotten to the point across the nation where we need to have eyes on the ocean 24/7 in order to answer some of the most important questions.”