Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences


R/V Atlantic Explorer at the BIOS dock.
R/V Atlantic Explorer at the dock.

The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (known as BIOS) is an independent, non-profit marine science and education institute located in Ferry Reach, St. George's, Bermuda. The Institute, founded in 1903 as the Bermuda Biological Station, hosts a full-time faculty of oceanographers, biologists, and environmental scientists, graduate and undergraduate students, K-12 groups, and Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) groups. BIOS's strategic mid-Atlantic Ocean location has at its doorstep a diverse marine environment, with close proximity to deep ocean as well as coral reef and near shore habitats.

Prior to 5 September 2006, BIOS was known as the Bermuda Biological Station for Research (BBSR).


Founded in 1903 and incorporated in New York as a US not-for-profit institution in 1926, in its initial years BIOS was a seasonal field station for visiting zoologists and biologists to take advantage of Bermuda's diverse marine environment. After the Second World War, BIOS became a year-round research center, anchored by the establishment in 1954 of Hydrostation 'S': regular deep ocean observations of a single point in the ocean that continue today, creating the longest continuous oceanic database in the world. During the following few decades, increasing numbers of visiting scientists brought an increased emphasis on biological and geological studies.

Resident scientific programs strengthened in the 1980s as the institute became a key link in an international effort to describe and understand the ocean-atmosphere system. In 1998, BIOS established the International Center for Ocean and Human Health, considered the first of its kind to explore the ocean health/human health connection on a global scale. The Center for Integrated Ocean Observations was established in 1999 and uses new technologies to build on a century of marine research at the institute.

Other notable dates: 1978: Oceanic Flux Program begins, the longest record of deep ocean sediment-trap studies in the world. 1988: Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) begins, establishing BIOS as one of two US centers for time-series studies on temporal variability in the ocean and providing key data on changing climate and the ocean. 1994: Risk Prediction Initiative, a collaboration between climate scientists and reinsurers, is established.

Notable visitors

Summers from 1928 to 1939, oceanographic explorer William Beebe worked in Bermuda. During those years, Beebe visited BIOS (then the Bermuda Biological Station for Research) and worked with BIOS staff. While Beebe is best remembered for his Bathysphere dives at Nonsuch Island, he made a number of other significant scientific contributions during his stay, mainly the discovery of new species of marine life.

Research programs

BIOS has a range of research programs investigating the role of the ocean in global climate, the health of coral reefs, and the connection between healthy oceans and healthy people. The geographical range is not restricted to the waters around Bermuda, but also extends to the Arctic, the Antarctic and the tropics. The Center for Integrated Ocean Observations program is an international collaboration of oceanographers and climate scientists. Taking advantage of Bermuda's unique position, their goal is to better understand the biological, chemical and physical processes that take place in the ocean and the ocean's role in regulating the Earth's climate. The International Center for Ocean and Human Health is designed to address both health of the ocean (such as pollution threats) and health from the ocean (including nutrients and pharmaceutical applications). Working with experts on ocean acidification, coral reefs, ecotoxicology, algal biofuel, and the carbon cycle. The Risk Prediction Initiative (RPI) program brings climate scientists and insurers together to collaborate to identify new directions for climate research. Matching the Institute's unique research ability with Bermuda's insurance market, this business-science partnership provides rapid, current and comprehensive information to those parts of the business community affected by environmental change.

Research vessel

Preparing the CTD for deployment.
Preparing the CTD for deployment from the R/V Atlantic Explorer

The R/V Atlantic Explorer is a research vessel owned and operated by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and is supported by the National Science Foundation and BIOS. It operates in compliance with United States Coast Guard, University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) rules and regulations.

The 168 ft Atlantic Explorer is equipped with navigation, laboratory and mechanical systems and equipment to support biological, geological, chemical and physical oceanographic research. Deploying and recovering deep ocean instrumentation moorings, conducting CTD casts, chemical sampling, and gear testing are among the number of operations within the ship's capabilities.

Ready access of two hours or more from Bermuda to the deep ocean makes the Atlantic Explorer useful for both short and extended cruises, for repetitive sampling and time-series research, and for projects requiring analytical and other sophisticated shore facilities.

See also

External links

  • Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences
  • Bermuda Bio-Optics Project
  • Bermuda Testbed Mooring
  • Oceanic Flux Program
  • Marine Phytoplankton Ecology

Coordinates: 32°22′14″N 64°41′48″W / 32.3705°N 64.6966°W / 32.3705; -64.6966