April 2022 Newsletter

the power of PLACE

Beaver Pond

Alvin rocks! Not the chipmunk but the deep-sea research submarine.

Alvin rocks! Not the chipmunk but the deep-sea research submarine.

Hosted by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Alvin can transport scientists miles underwater to explore the deep sea. With no light, organisms scavenge material falling from above or manage to make a living off thermal vents. Deep sea fish are composed almost entirely of water; any air pockets would get crushed. The water pressure three miles down is equivalent to about 50 times the earth’s surface, or 730 pounds per square inch of pressure compared to 14.6 pounds at sea level.

Odd facts for an article about a field station located almost two miles above sea level?

RMBL’s Board recently finished meetings at Woods Hole, home to the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) as well as WHOI, two very different institutions. RMBL’s Board typically meets in person three times a year, with one of those meetings held at a scientific institution that offers opportunities for our trustees and senior staff to think about RMBL within a larger scientific context. In previous years RMBL’s Board has met at La Selva, a field station in Costa Rica, the Archbold Field Station in central Florida, and USC’s Wrigley Institute for Marine Studies on Santa Catalina Island.

One item I took away from this visit was the clarity of WHOI’s scientific value as an institution. They integrate engineering and science, not just the Alvin but ships and instrumentation, to see oceans and connect them to earth’s systems.

Ian Billick - Director RMBL

Ian Billick | PhD
Executive Director, RMBL


Our growing board

Our growing board

There are three new members of RMBL’s Board of Trustees, and they’re bringing nothing less than a tsunami of scientific insights and practical experience. Let’s meet them.

Dr. Susan Avery is well-seasoned in the art of guiding scientific organizations through board leadership. She is the president emerita of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She chairs the board of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research on behalf of the National Science Foundation. She is on the board of the American Institute of Physics, on the advisory committee for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a member of the board of the Exxon Mobile Corporation.  She is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Meteorological Society.

Dr. Avery is a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and has served as a distinguished visiting faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In addition to authoring more than 110 peer-reviewed articles, she has given science presentations to both professional and lay audiences. It was after one such talk at RMBL that she was approached to sit on the RMBL board. She discovered RMBL when she first visited Crested Butte to ski.

What impressed Dr. Avery about RMBL were the long-term data sets, the comprehensive studies of the East River basin, and the strategy to support the research of whole systems, not just isolated species or processes. She feels that her experience with ocean and atmosphere research will add a unique perspective to the RMBL board. We second that.