blue institute Academic Advisory Lead


James Bellingham, Ph.D.

 Dr. Bellingham is the founding Director of the Center of Marine Robotics at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Dr. Bellingham joined WHOI from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), where he was first Director of Engineering and then Chief Technologist. Prior to MBARI, Jim founded the Autonomous Under water Vehicles Laboratory at MIT Sea Grant (1988) and co-founded Bluefin Robotics (1997). Bluefin is a Massachusetts-based company that develops, builds and operates autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and was acquired by Battelle in 2005.

Jim ’s research activities revolve around creation of autonomous marine robots and their use at sea. He pioneered the development of small, high performance Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), resulting in a class of systems which are now widely used within the military, industry and scientific communities. He was instrumental in developing and demonstrating distributed system approaches to ocean observing, leading the Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network program which coupled fleet s of AUVs to ocean models to observe and predict ocean conditions. 

Jim has spent considerable time at sea, leading over 20 AUV expeditions in locations such as the Antarctic, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, South Pacific, and the Arctic. He has served on numerous advisory committees and boards, including Chairing the Naval Research Advisory Committee and serving on several National Academies studies. His awards include the Lockheed Martin Award for Ocean Science and Engineering and the MIT Fourteenth Robert Bruce Wallace lecturer. Jim received an B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.