From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: “Oregon State University Assumes Cyberinfrastructure Responsibility for Ocean Observatories Initiative”

From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

October 5, 2020

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A team at Oregon State University is assuming responsibility for the cyberinfrastructure that collects and serves data from five instrumented observatories operated by the Ocean Observatories Initiative. Data are available to anyone with an Internet connection. Photo by ©Ocean Observatories Initiative, 2020.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Oregon State University (OSU) jointly announced that OSU will assume responsibilities for the systems management of the cyberinfrastructure that makes data transmission for the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) possible through September of 2023. OSU was awarded this role after a systematic and thorough selection process. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, has provided OOI’s Cyberinfrastructure systems management since 2014, and will leave the OOI Program in 2021 following a transition period with OSU.

The OOI consists of five instrumented observatories in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans outfitted with more than 800 instruments that continually collect and deliver data to shore via a cyberinfrastructure, which makes the data available to anyone with an Internet connection. The demands on the cyberinfrastructure are great, as it stores 73 billion rows of data, and has provided 36 terabytes of data in response to 189 million user requests since 2014. With the data requests and delivery demands increasing each year, the OOI has the capability to provide data that allows inquiries into episodic ecosystem events in real-time, as well as investigations using long-term time series data. The OOI is made possible through a funded five-year cooperative agreement to WHOI from the National Science Foundation. The OSU award is for $6 million over a three-year period.

“We are delighted that OSU has the capabilities and expertise to take on this hugely important task,” says John Trowbridge, Principal Investigator of the Program Management Office of the OOI at WHOI. “The OOI has become a dependable source of real-time ocean data, helping scientists answer pressing questions about the changing ocean. Educators use real-time ocean data to teach students about the fundamentals of oceanography, the global carbon cycle, climate variability, and other important topics. The team at OSU will help advance this work and ensure that OOI data are served reliably to an ever-growing audience.

“We are also extremely grateful to the Rutgers team for the excellent foundation they established over the past six years that will allow a seamless transition to the OSU cyberinfrastructure team. Rutgers was an important partner that helped establish OOI as a reliable data provider,” adds Trowbridge.

“OSU brings the perfect mix of hardware, software, and ocean data experts to ensure that we are able to store and serve up this gargantuan amount of important ocean data,” adds Anthony Koppers, Principal Investigator for the OSU Cyberinfrastructure Systems Team. “We have the key personnel and systems in place that will allow us to seamlessly take on the challenge of storing and serving OOI data, strategically planning for future data demands and implementing cybersecurity. We also will be working hand-in-hand with the OOI’s Data Management Team to ensure the data meets the highest quality standards.”

OSU’s cyberinfrastructure will handle telemetered, recovered, and streaming data. Telemetered data are delivered to the cyberinfrastructure from moorings and gliders using remote access such as satellites. Recovered data are complete datasets that are retrieved and uploaded to the cyberinfrastructure once an ocean observing platform is recovered from the field. Streaming data are delivered in real time directly from instruments in the field.

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The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.
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The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.