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Staff & Center News

Woods Hole Field Center Visitors

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Scott Carr, from the Marine Ecotoxicology Field Center of BRD's Columbia Environmental Research Center, visited Marilyn ten Brink and Mike Bothner at the WHFC on Sept. 24. Carr has been working with ten Brink to define the potential toxicity of sediments characterized in the New York and Long Island Sound Regional Pollution studies. Some of the sediments in both regions have concentrations of contaminant metals that exceed sediment quality criteria. To date, Carr's work on sea urchin fertilization and development has confirmed the toxicity of sediments from the Hudson Shelf Valley to benthic organisms. Future joint work on mixed-contaminant measurements in sediments, their bio-availability, and toxic effects in the environment was discussed for these regions and for Boston Harbor.

Jack Wallace from the Coast Survey staff of the National Ocean Service of NOAA visited the WHFC on October 4-5 to discuss NOAA's interest in USGS multibeam data sets. He spoke with Debbie Hutchinson, Bill Schwab, Page Valentine, Brad Butman, and Bill Danforth to become familiar with WHFC organization and data. As a result of the visit, the USGS will be looking into ways to share the large data sets more easily with NOAA in order to incorporate the USGS data into NOAA charting updates. Likewise, NOAA would like to make their coastal and harbor-approaches multibeam data sets more available to USGS researchers in areas where our studies overlap. Jack expects to visit the western Coastal and Marine Team in the near future as we expand and solidify the interagency cooperation.

On October 13, the gas hydrate group at the WHFC had two visitors who are interested in working jointly with the USGS. Dr. Jen-hwa Chen of Chevron Petroleum Technology Company came to discuss proposed cooperative work, which may result in a Chevron employee being added to the GHASTLI lab staff. We hope that joint studies in the Gulf of Mexico will include a sampling effort to bring natural gas hydrate/sediment samples into our lab for testing from a region where drilling safety concerns are paramount. The GHASTLI lab (Bill Winters and Dave Mason) would be used to test physical properties, including strength characteristics. One of our principal concerns prior to sampling will be to examine the issue of preservation of natural gas hydrates during sampling, transportation, and testing. We expect that the gas hydrate petrophysics lab in Menlo Park (Steve Kirby, Laura Stern, Bill Waite, and Sue Circone) will be involved in studying this important problem.

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