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UW, partners reach milestone in program using robots to monitor world’s oceans

Steve Riser (center, in black), students and technicians in July 2017 inside the UW School of Oceanography’s floats lab.

Around the planet’s oceans, nearly 4,000 floats — many of them built at the University of Washington — are plunging up and down, collecting and transmitting observations of the world’s oceans. This fall, one of these diving robots made the program’s 2 millionth measurement, reporting temperature and salinity recorded to a depth of about a mile. The Argo Program is a 20-year-old project to gather 3D data on the oceans. 

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Ancient whale named for UW paleontologist Elizabeth Nesbitt

Elizabeth Nesbitt with some of the whale fossils in the Burke Museum’s collection.

A newly discovered species of whale — found preserved in ancient rock on the Oregon coast — has been named for a University of Washington paleontologist. “It’s a tremendous honor,” said Elizabeth Nesbitt, who is curator of invertebrate paleontology and micropaleontology at the Burke Museum and an associate professor in the UW’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences. Maiabalaena nesbittae lived about 33 million years ago and was described in a Nov. 

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Q&A: New Washington Sea Grant director brings love of learning, experience across sectors

Russell Callender, director of Washington Sea Grant effective September 2018.

Russell Callender spent nearly two decades working on coastal science, policy and management issues at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s headquarters near Washington, D.C. But throughout his tenure at the nation’s capital, he kept his eye on a position at an organization in the other Washington. When he saw the job posting last summer to lead Washington Sea Grant at the University of Washington, it took Callender all of about two minutes to start working on his application. 

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