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Research Vessel Oceanus

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R/V Oceanus Operations  (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Research Vessel Oceanus, retired in 2011, was owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as a part of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) fleet. UNOLS brings academic institutions and national laboratories involved in oceanographic research to coordinate the schedules of oceanographic ships and research facilities.

The vessel was built in 1975 and underwent a mid-life refit in 1994. The intermediate-size ship featured a main lab, wet lab and a lab on the upper deck. It was also outfitted with three winches and a crane, and is often used for deploying oceanographic buoys and moorings, and for hydrographic surveys. The Oceanus could accommodate 19 researchers and a crew of 12.

Education & Outreach

An oceanographic expedition is in many respects an extension of the University classroom. A diverse mix of senior and junior scientists, post-doctoral investigators, engineers, technicians and graduate and undergraduate students typically staffed the Oceanus voyages. Such cruises are extraordinary educational experiences that expose participants to new ideas, teach fundamental scientific principles through observation and practice, and inevitably raise questions that stimulate new thinking about how the oceans work. Over the past several years an increased awareness of the importance of bringing science into the classroom and to the general public has resulted in the development of new avenues to share these scientific findings.

The cruise website concept has been very effective in reaching the classroom with real-time images and two-way communication between scientists and students in schools across the country. This effectively extends the sea-going experience from the handful of participants on a single leg to thousands of students in classrooms across the country, as well as to the general public. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute web site has pioneered efforts to present the results of research expeditions and sea-going projects to the general public, including the Dive and Discover website.

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  • Research vessel Oceanus
The RV Oceanus was retired in 2011.
Robb Hagg, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution