CORVALLIS, Ore. - A leading oceanographer who has discovered numerous hydrothermal vents off the coasts of Oregon and Washington will give the inaugural lecture in a new series at Oregon State University commemorating the original discovery of undersea vents by OSU researchers.

John Delaney, from the University of Washington, will give a free public lecture at OSU on Friday, Feb. 19, which is the 33rd anniversary of the first discovery. His talk, "At the Leading Edge of a Global Environmental Renaissance: Next Generation Science in the Oceans," begins at 4 p.m. in Gillfillan Auditorium (located on 26th Street just west of Monroe Avenue).

In February of 1977, a research expedition to the Galapagos led by OSU's Jack Corliss first discovered undersea hydrothermal vents and an entire colony of marine creatures - many of which had never been observed.

"The discovery marked a turning point in the understanding of life on Earth and has been described as one of the most important discoveries in oceanography," said Robert Collier, an OSU oceanographer who was aboard the ship 33 years ago.

Also along on that pioneering expedition were OSU oceanographers Lou Gordon and Jack Dymond, and long-time San Francisco Chronicle science writer David Perlman.

Delaney is the Jerome M. Paros Endowed Chair in Sensor Networks at the University of Washington, where he has earned a reputation as a passionate and tenacious advocate for ocean science and education. With Delaney's leadership and encouragement, the National Science Foundation launched the RIDGE research initiative in 1989, which has proven to be a model of community-driven seafloor exploration for two decades.

He was an early proponent for the Neptune cabled observatory effort, and is a principal investigator for the NSF's Ocean Observing Initiative, partnering with several OSU researchers.

The new Hydrothermal Vent Discovery Day Lecture Series is sponsored by OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences.

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Marty Fisk, 541-737-1458