Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport Division Commanding Officer Capt. Michael Coughlin speaks during an opening reception for "Stewards of the Sea: Defending Freedom, Protecting the Environment" at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Sept. 28. The interactive exhibit is being loaned by U.S. Fleet Forces Command through March 2018 and includes panels highlighting Division Newport's marine mammal research. (Photo by Kerri Spero)
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND -- The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), Newport Division, has teamed with the New Bedford Whaling Museum (NBWM) on a new exhibit that explores the U.S. Navy's long history of marine mammal research, its role in protecting the ocean environment and its significant contributions to marine mammal science and conservation.
"Whales Today," an exhibit on whale ecology, ocean health, conservation and marine mammal research, opened Sept. 28 at the museum. The exhibit highlights the important role played by the Navy in both research and ocean stewardship. A Navy traveling, interactive exhibit provided by U.S. Fleet Forces Command entitled, "Stewards of the Sea: Defending Freedom, Protecting the Environment," will provide an overview of the Navy's wide-reaching environmental protection activities through March 2018.
The new display also features equipment and information on marine mammal research performed by NUWC Newport, provided through a March 2017 education partnership agreement (EPA) that NUWC Newport has with the museum. The static displays include loaned or donated items, including a design concept unmanned undersea vehicle, hydrophones and an acoustic source.
"Division Newport continues to play an important role in this field," said Capt. Michael Coughlin, NUWC Newport's commanding officer. "This EPA provides a means for the Navy to assist in the development of the exhibit, which will provide a unique opportunity for the public to learn about historic research and current investigations in the study of marine mammal bioacoustics, many of which take place at NUWC Newport."
The EPA also permits direct cooperation between NUWC Newport and the museum to promote education in science, mathematics and business, from which the museum can benefit from NUWC Newport's interest in undersea acoustic research. The EPA will permit additional contributions to the new exhibit as it becomes a permanent part of the NBWM collection.
The development of the new exhibit was inspired by the donation of pioneering marine mammal bioacoustics research equipment and recordings conducted by William Watkins and William Schevill of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute from the 1940s to the 1990s. Their work involved collaboration with the Navy's Underwater Sound Laboratory, which is now NUWC Division Newport.
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