Search NOVA Teachers

Back to Teachers Home

NOVA scienceNOW: Profile: Edith Widder

Program Overview

Marine biologist Edie Widder discusses her research on marine animals and describes her efforts to save the ocean.

This NOVA scienceNOW segment:

  • introduces Widder, who has long been fascinated by marine life and was inspired to become a marine biologist after a trip to coral reefs in Fiji.

  • describes some of the marine animals that she has studied: animals that use light produced by the organism itself to lure prey, ward off predators, and attract mates; a six-foot-long squid from the Gulf of Mexico; and a six-gilled shark that feeds in a way previously unknown to science.

  • presents Widder's idea that ocean quality should be monitored in a way similar to how weather is monitored. To facilitate this, Widder invented the Kilroy, a device to track salinity, temperature, wave height, direction, and current speed.

  • explains that to better monitor the health of the oceans, Widder will add new instruments to the Kilroy, such as sensors to measure specific pollutants and communication systems that relay data in real time.

  • mentions that Widder won a prestigious MacArthur award for her determination, originality of her work, and efforts to educate people about the value of the oceans.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after the program is taped off the air.

Teacher's Guide
NOVA scienceNOW: Profile: Edith Widder