URI Vetlesen Lecture Series continues April 12 with talk on bringing the Internet into the oceans

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 4, 2011 – Deborah Kelley, professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, is the next speaker in the University of Rhode Island’s Vetlesen Lecture Series on the “State of the Oceans.” Her lecture, “Bringing the Internet Into the Oceans,” is on April 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Kelley’s presentation, in Edward’s Auditorium on the URI Kingston campus, is presented in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Graduate School of Oceanography. The event is free and open to the public.

Her lecture will examine the research and educational potential of the National Science Foundations Ocean Observatories Initiative, a network of cabled and uncabled sensors and platforms on the seafloor and throughout the water column that will transmit real-time non-proprietary data to the Internet.

The Ocean Observatories Initiative will construct a networked infrastructure of sensor systems around the world’s oceans to measure the physical, chemical, geological and biological state of the ocean and seafloor. Greater knowledge of the ocean and seafloor are vital for improved detection and forecasting of natural hazards, environmental changes and their effects on biodiversity and health of coastal ecosystems, and improvement of models that will lead to better predictive capabilities.

Kelley is internationally known for her work on submarine volcanoes and how they support life in the absence of sunlight. She is the associate director for science within the Ocean Observatories Initiative team and has led dozens of oceanographic research expeditions to the seafloor around the world, including hydrothermal vent fields on the Mid-Atlantic and the Juan de Fuca Ridges. She discovered the novel Lost City Hydrothermal Field, the study of which has changed theories on the origin of life. She earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Washington and a doctorate from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

The lecture series is sponsored by the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation, with individual lectures supported by the URI College of Arts & Sciences, the Harrington School of Communication and Media, and Rhode Island Sea Grant. The series is coordinated by Professors Steven D’Hondt, Arthur Spivack and Judith Swift, and Sunshine Menezes, director of the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting.

The final speaker in the series is:

Apr. 26 – Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. senator, on “Steering a Course Toward a National Ocean Policy.”

For more information about the lecture series, visit www.uri.edu/vetlesen or contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381 or debg@uri.edu.