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Something remarkable happened this weekend. It was not that the rain finally stopped. It was not that the street-gastrulating, red-blood-cell-lysing, tadpole-mutating, infectious-disease-emerging July 4th parade in Woods Hole once again enthralled and puzzled throngs of happy patriots and onlookers (photos to come).

It was the message that you, the Woods Hole community, sent to the leaders of the Woods Hole research institutions during my introduction of Susan Avery, President and Director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) at her July 3 Friday Evening Lecture, “Coastal Cities, Coastal Impacts: The Tides, They Are A-Changin’.” In the course of my introduction, I mentioned that the heads of the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, WHOI, and the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) came together this spring and signed a Memorandum of Agreement at the Captain Kidd to create the Woods Hole Consortium, an alliance that will bring our combined scientific power to bear on some of the major issues facing society today.

You, the full-house audience attending the lecture, burst into spontaneous applause. I was stunned. I shot Susan a look and she, too, was astonished. The discussion to form the consortium began with WHRC Director John Holdren, WHOI Director Susan Avery and myself, and continued with WHRC Acting Director Richard Houghton after John Holdren became Scientific Advisor to President Obama. We proceeded cautiously, fully involving our respective scientific leadership and boards of trustees. If we had any doubt about the wisdom of establishing the Consortium and working together, your affirmation by applause totally dispelled it. Thank you, Woods Hole!

MBL Director Gary Borisy, WHOI Director Susan Avery, and WHRC Acting Director Richard Houghton shake hands after signing the Memorandum of Agreement creating the Woods Hole Consortium. Photo by Tom Kleindinst/WHOI

MBL Director Gary Borisy, WHOI Director Susan Avery, and WHRC Acting Director Richard Houghton shake hands after signing the Memorandum of Agreement creating the Woods Hole Consortium. Photo by Tom Kleindinst/WHOI