Water Crisis on the Blue Planet

David G. Gallo, Ph.D.,
Director of Special Projects, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

For Immediate Release: September 14, 2006
Contact Person: Valerie Pegg, Director
Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts
Michigan Technological University
Tel: 906-487-2844

Exploring the Ends of the Earth at the Rozsa

Dr. David G. Gallo, director of special projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, was one of the first oceanographers to use a combination of manned submersibles and robots to map the undersea world with unprecedented clarity and detail. Gallo visits Michigan Tech on Monday, September 25 to talk about the last two decades of deep ocean exploration and to introduce WHOI's most exciting and perhaps most difficult challenge-exploration of the deepest parts of the sea. His lecture at the Rozsa is titled Extreme Deep: Exploring the Ends of the Earth-Neptune's Basement and is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The lecture is free and is open to all.

On Tuesday, September 26 Gallo will deliver a second free lecture at noon in Fisher 135. In Global Water Crisis Gallo will focus on what he considers to be "looming global water wars." "We live on the 'blue' planet," he says. "With more than 70% of the Earth's surface covered by water, more than 1 billion people still lack safe, clean drinking water and another two billion lack adequate treatment for wastewater. Clues from the ocean indicate that we are on the verge of a significant change in climate. Warmer temperatures are causing increased melting of ice at the poles, altering the movement of warm ocean currents." Gallo asks how changing climate and diminishing freshwater supplies will alter human survival, global tensions, and the natural landscape.

In addition, Gallo will present at three area high schools. He will visit Calumet and Lake Linden-Hubbell high schools on Sept. 25, and Houghton High School on Sept. 27. Other high schools are welcome to attend Gallo's lecture at Houghton HS. He will also join area middle and high school science and social studies teachers for dinner, presentation and discussion on Sept. 27.

Gallo, who is well known as an exciting and dynamic speaker, is passionate about exploration and discovery and is dedicated to communicating the importance of science and engineering to the public-at-large. He will describe the initial designs that are underway at WHOI for the most sophisticated robot to date. This amazing new submersible will, for the first time ever, allow exploration of the ocean's great trenches and fracture zones. Until now, all ocean exploration has been done at depths less than 20,000 feet (3.75 miles). In fact, much of the research on hydrothermal vents is done at depths shallower than 2.5 miles. "The new era of exploration will take us more than twice as deep," Gallo says. "We have NO idea what we will find in this deepest and darkest and most hostile of worlds, but given what we have seen in shallower waters-our anticipation is incredibly great."

Why is this area of the ocean called "the end of the earth?" "Because," explains Gallo, "the sea floor is created at the shallow mid-ocean ridges, and is destroyed along the world's great trenches, i.e. the end of the Earth!"

In 1987 Gallo was invited by Dr. Robert Ballard (discoverer of the wreck of RMS Titanic) to join his team at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as the Assistant Director of the Center for Marine Exploration. In his present role he works closely with scientists and engineers at the forefront of global exploration and discovery. He has participated in numerous expeditions to the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and to the Mediterranean Sea. Most recently he was co-expedition leader during an exploration of RMS Titanic and the German battleship Bismarck, using Russian MIR submarines.

He maintains close working relationships with scientists, filmmakers, and media broadcasters (Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, PBS). He was instrumental in the development of the JASON PROJECT and is presently involved in the development of the FIRST Lego League Ocean Odyssey.

Gallo has lectured extensively nationally and internationally. He was twice nominated and once presented with a Computerworld-Smithsonian Award and is a recipient of the John J. Conley medal, both for communicating science to the public.

Gallo's visit is sponsored by the Sustainable Futures Institute; Western U.P. Center for Science, Math, & Environmental Education; Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society; Michigan Tech Department of Chemistry; and the MTU Committee for Campus Enrichment.

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