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Coastal Ocean Institute

Coastal Ocean Institute

Understanding the increasingly complex phenomena of the dynamic coastal zone

Competing needs and uses vie in the coastal ocean, the narrow area from the outer edge of the continental shelf to the estuaries where salt and fresh water meet. This is the most biologically productive part of the ocean, and it is the most fished, the most modified, the most subject to natural and industrial disasters. With the growth of the human coastal zone population and greater demand for recreational and commercial uses of the shore, this environment is increasingly threatened. Some of the threats are highly visible, while others are subtle and difficult to discern.

The Coastal Ocean Institute engages in cutting-edge research, encouraging the multidisciplinary science required to resolve the complexities of many of the phenomena of the coastal zone. COI researchers gain understanding that will ultimately bear on important scientific questions, as well as the management of coastal problems—including red tides, beach erosion, oil spills, agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, storms and land development—within three broad themes: the dynamic land/sea margin; natural and anthropogenic threats to the coastal environment; and the development of tools and technologies for coastal research.

Featured Multimedia

Fraser River
slideshowVIDEO

Fraser River: Running Free

WHOI researchers and students travel the length of the river, taking samples along the way.

Interactive Tsunami Guide

Interactive Tsunami Guide

While tsunamis can neither be prevented nor precisely predicted, people educated about particular signs can save their own lives and the lives of others.

Why is the beach closed?

Why is the beach closed?

You pack your swimsuit, fins, sand shovel, and sunscreen, and the whole family piles into the car and heads to the beach.  But when you get there you're greeted by a sign that says BEACH CLOSED. What? Why?