Keith von der Heydt is senior engineer in applied ocean physics and engineering at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the largest independent oceanographic institution in the world, and the group responsible for the efforts that uncovered the Titanic in 1985. Von der Heydt is also the lab head of WHOI's Instrument Systems Development Lab. One of his current projects is titled the V-Moor project which is funded by Sea Grant, a program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). V-Moor uses acoustic signals to monitor shallow water flow patterns for a number of environmental functions.
For five weeks in Spring of 2005, von der Heydt was part of a team that charted the ocean floor near the U.S. Palmer Research Station in Antarctica in order to choose a location for a new underwater observatory. Using a depth sounder with GPS, he and the team created an underwater map of the area a few kilometers around the station including glaciers and large ragged rocks. The Polar Remote Interactive Marine Observatory (PRIMO), a part of the Palmer Station, is used to track marine life and study the ecosystem of the frigid waters.
Von der Heydt graduated from Lehigh University in 1971 with a B.S. in electrical engineering. During his time at Lehigh he was a brother of Delta Upsilon fraternity and was actively involved in the engineering community.