University News

Deep Sea Explorer to Visit SUU

Published: April 08, 2008 | Category: Academics

Biologist and deep-sea explorer Dr. Edith Widder will present at Southern Utah University’s Convocation lecture series on Tuesday, April 15, at 11:30 am in the SUU Auditorium. Dr. Widder combines her expertise in research and technological innovation with a commitment to reversing the worldwide trend of degradation in our marine environment.

Widder helped establish and lead the Ocean Research & Conservation Association in 2005, having previously served as a senior scientist at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. A key effort of the Association is the development of state-of-the-art sensors and technological systems for evaluating water quality and ecosystem health. While translating complex scientific issues into workable solutions, Dr. Widder is fostering greater understanding of ocean life as a means to better, more informed ocean stewardship.

A specialist in bioluminescence (the light chemically produced by many ocean organisms), she has been a leader in helping to design and invent new submersible instruments and equipment to enable discreet observation of deep-sea environments. Working with engineers, she has built a number of unique devices that enable scientists to see the ocean in new ways, including HIDEX, a device that measures how much bioluminescence there is in the ocean, and LoLAR, the most sensitive deep-sea light meter. Most recently, Widder helped to design a remotely operated camera system, known as Eye in the Sea (EITS), which, when deployed on the sea floor, automatically detects and measures the bioluminescence given off by nearby organisms. EITS has produced footage of rare sharks, jellyfish, and squid in their natural habitats.

Edith Widder received a B.A. from Tufts University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She holds adjunct appointments at Johns Hopkins University, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Institute of Technology, and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Scientists.

For more information about Southern Utah University’s Convocation series please visit

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