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Deep sea explorer and marine conservationist wins MacArthur Fellowship

neers at the absolute cutting edge. These are people pushing boldly to change, improve, and protect our world, to make it a better place for all of us," said Daniel J. Socolow, Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program.

According to Bruce H. Robison, Senior Scientist, Monterrey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, "Dr. Widder's scientific track record is outstanding with significant technological developments to her credit and a genuine commitment to advancing the field." Charles S. Yentsch, Founder and Senior Research Scientist of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine said, "Dr. Widder's high tech approach to sampling and analysis is an extremely efficient way of collecting data vs. traditional and costly methods of hand sampling."

A specialist in bioluminescence (the light chemically produced by many ocean organisms), she has been a leader in helping to design and invent new instrumentation and equipment to enable unobtrusive deep-sea observation of environments. Working with engineers, she has built a number of unique devices that enable scientists to see the ocean in new ways, including HIDEX, a bathyphotometer that measures how much bioluminescence there is in the oceans and LoLAR, a very sensitive deep-sea light meter. Most recently, Widder helped to design a remotely operated camera system, known as the Eye in the Sea (EITS) which, when deployed on the sea floor, automatically detects and measures the bioluminescence given off by nearby organisms and records behaviors unobtrusively using far red light that is invisible to most deep-sea dwellers. EITS has produced footage of rare sharks and jellyfish as well as a six foot squid never before known to science.

With support from the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research the Ocean Research & Conservation Association is developing high tech sensors and communication systems capable of evaluating the presence of certain plants, animals a
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Contact: Keith Paglen
kpaglen@oceanrecon.org
772-467-1600
Ocean Research & Conservation Association
19-Sep-2006


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