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In Memoriam: Polly Hastings

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Polly and her horse, Jamie.
Above: Polly and her horse, Jamie.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Woods Hole Science Center announces with great sorrow the April 3, 2005, death of Oceanographic Data Specialist Polly Hastings of the Coastal and Marine Geology Program at her sister's home in Osterville, MA, of cancer. She was 58.

Polly joined the USGS in 1978 and until 1989 was part of a team studying the transport and fate of sediment. Polly played a key role in processing and archiving large time-series data sets obtained from moored instruments deployed along the U.S. continental margins. During this period, she spent most of her time ashore but also participated in research cruises to deploy and recover instruments.

Polly left the USGS briefly and returned in 1994 as a database manager responsible for maintaining, verifying, and responding to data calls regarding the contaminated-sediment and east-coast sediment-texture databases. She also assisted in developing and testing software for the center's sediment laboratory. In addition, she worked on the Marine Aggregates project, compiling and verifying data for the usSEABED data collection (see Sound Waves aricle Chris Jenkins Presents New SEABED Technology).

Scientific crew of the research vessel Oceanus during a cruise off Massachusetts in fall 1984
Above: Scientific crew of the research vessel Oceanus during a cruise off Massachusetts in fall 1984: (left to right) Polly Hastings, Carol Parmenter, Andy Eliason, Mike Bothner, Joe Newell, Brad Butman, Rick Rendigs, Bill Strahle, John Larson, John Moody, Greg DeLisio.

More recently, Polly came full circle in her project work, returning to physical-oceanography data sets to make significant contributions to the following projects: the Fate of Sediments and Contaminants in Massachusetts Bay, the South Carolina Coastal Erosion Study, Monterey Canyon Currents and Sediment Transport Studies, and Studies of Polluted Sediment Offshore Los Angeles.

In her personal life, Polly enjoyed birdwatching, cooking, swimming, and spending time with her horses, Foggy and Jamie, as well as her cats, Oscar and Nigel. Although she enjoyed spending most of her free time at her home on Cape Cod, in March 2005 she fulfilled a dream to go to the Galápagos Islands, where she snorkeled and saw the amazing breadth of life in the exotic animals that inhabit the islands.

Polly was a valued colleague and friend to many. She was a long-term contributor to USGS research; her productivity, dedication to the highest standards of data quality, and good spirits will be sorely missed.

Related Web Sites
Woods Hole Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Woods Hole, MA

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