CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will assume management of the data transmission cyberinfrastructure for a national initiative that monitors ocean conditions in real time, OSU and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announced today.

The Ocean Observatories Initiative, led by Woods Hole and operated by a coalition of universities including Oregon State, consists of five instrumented observatories in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The observatories are outfitted with more than 800 instruments that continually collect and deliver data to shore via a cyberinfrastructure that makes the data available to anyone with an internet connection. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation.

The system measures physical, chemical, geological, and biological properties and processes from the seafloor to the sea surface in key coastal and open-ocean sites. Data collected helps address critical questions about the Earth-ocean system, including climate change, ecosystem variability, ocean acidification, plate-scale seismicity and submarine volcanoes and carbon cycling, with the goal of better understanding the ocean and our planet.

Oregon State was selected for the $6 million award for the cyberinfrastructure management that will enable data transmission from the OOI to continue through September 2023.

In addition to this new cyberinfrastructure system, Oregon State will also continue to operate and maintain the uncabled portion of the Endurance Array, the initiative’s observatory off the coast of Washington and Oregon.

“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,” said Anthony Koppers, a professor and associate dean for research in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. Koppers is the 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,” Koppers said. “We also will be working hand in hand with the OOI’s data management team to ensure the data meets the highest quality standards.”

The Ocean Observatories Initiative’s data demands are significant; 73 billion rows of data are stored and the initiative has provided 36 terabytes of data in response to 189 million user requests since 2014. With data requests and delivery demands increasing each year, the initiative 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.

“We are delighted that OSU has the capabilities and expertise to take on this hugely important task,” said John Trowbridge, principal investigator of the program office of the Ocean Observatories Initiative at Woods Hole. “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 is served reliably to an ever-growing audience.”

Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey, has provided the initiative’s cyberinfrastructure systems management since 2014. Rutgers will leave the OOI program in 2021 following a transition period with OSU.

College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

About the OSU College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS): The college is renowned for research excellence and academic programs that span the earth, ocean and climate sciences, as well as the human dimensions of environmental change. CEOAS inspires scientific solutions for Oregon and the world.

Story By: 

Michelle Klampe, 541-737-0784, [email protected] 


Anthony Koppers, 541-737-5425, [email protected]

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