What is WHOI? Swash
WHOI Ship GraphicThe Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a unique collection of individuals working toward one primary goal: to be a world leader in advancing and communicating a basic understanding of the oceans and their decisive role in addressing global questions. This world-renowned institution blends the diverse expertise of professionals in many disciplines to advance knowledge of our ocean planet and our marine environment. The Institution's "Mission Statement" outlines its formal purposes. To some, WHOI seems like a university; to others, a government agency; and to others, a business enterprise. In reality, it is none -- and sometimes all -- of these things. It is, foremost, America's largest independent, not-for-profit, oceanographic research institution.

Founded in 1930 in the village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the Institution's facilities have grown to encompass 219 acres of land and waterfront and 54 buildings and laboratories. Paid staff members number about 850, with more than half of them involved directly in scientific research. The Institution's higher education programs enroll about 150 students in graduate-level studies and about 35 in summer fellowships.

The land-based facilities of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution present only part of the picture. The premier feature of the Institution is its vessels -- truly, floating laboratories -- which define the oceanographic endeavor, allowing scientists access to the seas. WHOI research vessels, submersibles, and remote-controlled vehicles and instruments serve as extensions of the scientists' eyes, enabling inquiry as never before and bringing the deepest, most remote locations of the oceans within reach of the entire world.

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Last updated 18 February 1998

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