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2006 News Releases

November 23, 2006

Nobumichi Shimizu Has Been Named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Nobumichi Shimizu has been awarded the distinction of Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

November 23, 2006

Scientists "See" New Ocean Floor Just Before and After It Is Created

A multidisciplinary research team from six institutions has for the first time successfully anticipated and then chronicled a seafloor eruption along the global mid-ocean ridge, the most active volcanic system on Earth. The event along the East Pacific Rise has provided researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) with a rare opportunity to observe what happens in the immediate aftermath of an eruption.

Sea Urchin Genome Yields New Understanding of
November 13, 2006

Sea Urchin Genome Yields New Understanding of "Chemical Defensome"

The Sea Urchin Genome Sequencing Consortium, a group of 240 researchers from more than 70 institutions in 11 countries, recently announced the sequencing of the California purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus.

Four WHOI Researchers Recognized for Contributions to Science and Engineering
November 9, 2006

Four WHOI Researchers Recognized for Contributions to Science and Engineering

Staff honored with endowed awards.

Picture Perfect Plankton
November 6, 2006

Picture Perfect Plankton

The Large Area Plankton Imaging System, or LAPIS, is providing biologists with a new tool to study plankton to depths of 500 meters (1,640 feet).

Colossal Corer
November 6, 2006

Colossal Corer

A 50-meter (165-foot) long coring system nearing completion at WHOI will enable paleoceanographers to reconstruct past climates back tens of millions of years and expand the coring capabilities of the U.S. academic research fleet.

Mercury and Fish
November 6, 2006

Mercury and Fish

WHOI scientists and colleagues at the University of Connecticut have found the first connection between mercury levels in freshwater fish and atmospheric mercury pollution, most of which is derived from fossil fuel combustion.

Beaked Whales Perform Extreme Dives to Hunt Deepwater Prey
October 19, 2006

Beaked Whales Perform Extreme Dives to Hunt Deepwater Prey

A study of ten beaked whales of two poorly understood species shows they dive much deeper and longer than reported for any other air-breathing species, a finding of particular interest since beaked whales stranded during naval sonar exercises have been reported to have symptoms of decompression sickness.

October 16, 2006

Harmful Algal Bloom (Red Tide) Models and Forecasts to be Expanded in Gulf of Maine

A new observation and modeling program focused on the southern Gulf of Maine and adjacent New England shelf waters could aid policymakers in deciding whether or not to re-open, develop, and manage offshore shellfish beds with potential sustained harvesting value of more than $50 million per year.

October 16, 2006

Lessons from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami Topic of Public Forum

The public will have an opportunity to hear a first-hand account of the catastrophe, the lessons learned, and recent developments in disaster warning programs around the world.

October 12, 2006

Antique Whale Oil Provides Insights to Origin of Pre-Industrial Chemicals

One of the last remaining New England whaling ships has provided unexpected insights into the origin of halogenated organic compounds (HOCs) that have chemical and physical properties similar to toxic PCBs and the pesticide DDT.

October 11, 2006

Rapid Sea Level Rise in the Arctic Ocean May Alter Views of Human Migration

Scientists have found new evidence that the Bering Strait near Alaska flooded into the Arctic Ocean about 11,000 years ago, about 1,000 years earlier than widely believed, closing off the land bridge thought to be the major route for human migration from Asia to the Americas.

September 28, 2006

Digital Tags Provide Evidence that Narwhals May Produce Signature Vocalizations for Communication

Scientists have found preliminary evidence that narwhals, Arctic whales whose spiraled tusks gave rise to the myth of the unicorn, produce signature vocalizations that may facilitate individual recognition or their reunion with more distant group members.

dtag
September 1, 2006

Tracking Killer Whales with Technology

WHOI researchers will use a small, non-invasive piece of technology, the digital archival tag or D-tag, in November to tag free-ranging killer whales in northern Norway.

Propane-producing Bacteria Found on the Seafloor
September 1, 2006

Propane-producing Bacteria Found on the Seafloor

Scientists from the University of Bremen in Germany and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and have found microorganisms in buried sediment on the ocean floor producing abundant supplies of the gases propane and ethane.

ABE
September 1, 2006

ABE Joins Alvin and Jason at Sea

The Autonomous Benthic Explorer, ABE, one of the first autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to routinely work in the deep ocean, has joined the U.S. National Deep Submergence Facility, providing ocean scientists with a full range of tools to explore the deep sea.

Gliders Are Changing the Way Ocean Observations are Made
August 31, 2006

Gliders Are Changing the Way Ocean Observations are Made

A fleet of gliders from WHOI's Autonomous Systems Laboratory is quietly monitoring the ocean near Monterery Bay, California as part of a month-long experiment to learn more about ocean conditions that support rich fisheries and abundant marine life.

August 29, 2006

Island Ferries Take on Role of Research Vessels Collecting Data about Nantucket Sound

Ferries that connect Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are taking on another role - research vessels.

TowCam
August 1, 2006

A First Responder on the Ocean Floor

The Towed Digital Camera and Multi-Rock Coring System, or TowCam, was developed by scientists and engineers at WHOI to meet the U.S. oceanographic community's need for an imaging and sampling system with both routine and rapid-response capabilities.

bubbles of methane gas
August 1, 2006

Natural Petroleum Seeps Offer Clues to the Past and the Future

Just a half mile off California’s coast near Santa Barbara, and in coastal areas around the world, natural petroleum seeps are releasing an astonishing amount of methane gas and oil into the environment each year—much more than accidental oil spills and runoff from roads on a worldwide basis.

July 14, 2006

Undersea Vehicles to Study Formation of Gold and Other Precious Metals On the Pacific Ocean Floor

Scientists will explore the seafloor near Papua New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean later this month, investigating hydrothermal vents and the formation of mineral deposits containing gold and other precious minerals with industrial value.

Woods Hole Engineering Team from Titanic Discovery to be Honored
July 11, 2006

Woods Hole Engineering Team from Titanic Discovery to be Honored

Jason Jr. engineers honored 20 years after Titanic exploration for their efforts to advance the routine use of remotely operated vehicles and fiber optics in the deep sea.

July 5, 2006

Study Looks at Ways to Sustain Lobster Fishery

Declining lobster stocks and struggling lobstermen have led to a study that might improve the sustainability of the New England lobster fishery.

man-o-war
July 1, 2006

Silent Stingers

Summer brings millions to the beach, and among the creatures often found in coastal waters are jellyfish. One of the most beautiful but potentially dangerous is Physalia physalis, commonly known as the Portuguese man-of-war, or bluebottle in the southern hemisphere.

A New Era in Observing the Ocean
July 1, 2006

A New Era in Observing the Ocean

Marine scientists have their fingers crossed that a long-planned Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) will make it through the federal budget process this summer and fall and become a reality. OOI, supported by the National Science Foundation, will enable the ocean sciences research community to work together to create a permanent presence in the ocean via an integrated observatory network.

arctic ice
July 1, 2006

Arctic Adventure: Following Bowhead Whales

WHOI scientists will be working on the continental shelf near Barrow, Alaska from mid-August to mid-September, trying to determine the oceanographic conditions that make this region a favorable feeding environment for bowhead whales during their annual migration from the Canadian Arctic south to the northern Bering Sea.

Caribbean Corals and Climate Change
July 1, 2006

Caribbean Corals and Climate Change

Climate scientists are finding interesting clues to ancient climates in the corals of Honduras.

 Archaeology in the Aegean
June 30, 2006

Archaeology in the Aegean

An international team of scientists and engineers embarked on the Greek research vessel Aegaeo June 25 for a ten-day survey in local waters.

June 30, 2006

Jellyfish-Like Creatures May Play Major Role in Fate of Carbon Dioxide in the Ocean

Transparent jellyfish-like creatures may be more important to the fate of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the ocean than previously thought.

Hurricane Historians
June 29, 2006

Hurricane Historians

With another hurricane season in full swing and a prediction for a high number of major storms, WHOI geologists are seeking clues from past hurricanes to learn more about the future.

A Whale Trail
June 27, 2006

A Whale Trail

Three marine research laboratories in Woods Hole have teamed up to sponsor a six-foot right whale sculpture, one of more than 50 whale sculptures that are part of this summer’s Whale Trail, a free public art event on Cape Cod and the Islands.

June 26, 2006

Underwater Microscope Finds Biological Treasures in the Subtropical Ocean

Scientists towing an underwater digital microscope across the Atlantic Ocean have found possible missing links to the global nitrogen cycle and ocean productivity.

June 5, 2006

WHOI Director Steps Down After 12 Years

Robert B. Gagosian announced today that he would step down as president and director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), a position he has held since 1994.

Sperm Whale Lingo: Clicks and Buzzes Lead to Prey
May 31, 2006

Sperm Whale Lingo: Clicks and Buzzes Lead to Prey

Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland used digital tags (D-tags) attached with suction cups to the backs of sperm whales to record the sounds the whales made as they dive looking for food.

 Humans, Mammoths and Horses: The Case of the Fossil Record
May 30, 2006

Humans, Mammoths and Horses: The Case of the Fossil Record

Were prehistoric horses extinct before humans arrived in Alaska, or were they hunted to extinction by humans?

ROV Jason
May 29, 2006

Smoke and Sulfur: Undersea Vehicle Captures Footage of Volcanic Eruption

Dramatic new video of a long-term volcanic eruption in the western Pacific first discovered in 2004 has been captured during a recent cruise by the remotely operated vehicle JASON, developed and operated by WHOI’s Deep Submergence Laboratory.

Ocean Technology Meets Business Needs
May 28, 2006

Ocean Technology Meets Business Needs

Marine scientists and engineers will brief investors, business development executives, commercialization partners and economic development leaders May 24 at a conference at WHOI aimed at showcasing marine technologies and concepts ready for commercialization or licensing.

Barcoding Biota: The CMarZ Cruise Finds New Species In the Ocean Depths
May 26, 2006

Barcoding Biota: The CMarZ Cruise Finds New Species In the Ocean Depths

Trying to figure out what tiny creatures live in the ocean is no easy task, but thanks to technology, patience and hard work, scientists have explored a section of the tropical Atlantic between the U.S. east coast and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and found many new species in depths to 5,000 meters (more than 15,000 feet).

REMUS and the Coral Reefs
May 25, 2006

REMUS and the Coral Reefs

WHOI biologists and physical oceanographers joined forces in May to study the effect of ocean currents on fish larvae spawned on coral reefs in Belize.

May 18, 2006

Test for Dioxin Sensitivity in Wildlife Could Result from New Study

Two very small amino acids make a world of difference in sensitivity to dioxin, and could lead to a test for wildlife.

Linking Climate Change Across Time Scales
May 18, 2006

Linking Climate Change Across Time Scales

Scientists have found links in global variations in temperature that may provide insight to the bigger picture of climate change.

May 18, 2006

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Launches On-Line Image Library

WHOI ImageSource provides the interested public and the scientific community with a convenient source for their oceanographic visual needs.

ImageSource
May 1, 2006

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

ImageSource, a new database of images and illustrations representing years of ocean exploration, is now available to the public.

red tide cyst
April 13, 2006

New Maps Provide Clues to the Historic 2005 Red Tide Outbreak in New England And Hints for 2006

WHOI scientists  have completed two extensive survey and mapping efforts to better understand why the 2005 New England red tide was so severe and to suggest what might lie ahead.

April 13, 2006

Walrus Calves Stranded by Melting Sea Ice

Scientists have reported an unprecedented number of  abandoned walrus calves in the Arctic Ocean, where melting sea ice may be forcing mothers to abandon their pups.

spray glider
April 1, 2006

Gliding from Greenland to Spain

In May, the Spray glider will attempt to set yet another record when it will begin the roughly 2,500-mile journey from the tip of Greenland to the coast of Spain to help scientists better understand the role of oceans in global climate.

William Jenkins
April 1, 2006

Jenkins Named Head of National Ocean Sciences Carbon Dating Lab

Physicist Bill Jenkins, a senior scientist and 32-year veteran of the WHOI Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, has been named the new director of the National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (NOSAMS) facility.

beaker whale
April 1, 2006

Marine CSI: Solving the Mysteries of Marine Mammal Strandings

A 12-foot Cuviers beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) found stranded on a beach south of Boston in early April is a rare event in New England, although strandings of pilot whales and other marine mammals are not unusual.

New Underwater Observatory Monitors Marine Ecosystem off Panama
April 1, 2006

Live From the Tropics: New Underwater Observatory Monitors Marine Ecosystem off Panama

A new cabled observatory off the island of Canales de Tierra is the latest in a series of underwater laboratories that can monitor marine ecosystems over long periods and transmit live images and data back to scientists around the world.

The Last Voyage?
April 1, 2006

The Last Voyage?

The Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Alvin finished a five-month overhaul in Woods Hole in early April and returned to sea April 19 aboard support vessel Atlantis for what may be Alvin's last voyage.

Despite a ship strike that caused significant damage and harsh winter conditions, a surface buoy and mooring have survived a record six months in the Gulf Stream, recording both atmospheric and ocean conditions.
April 1, 2006

Stamina in the Stream

Despite a ship strike that caused significant damage and harsh winter conditions, a surface buoy and mooring have survived a record six months in the Gulf Stream, recording both atmospheric and ocean conditions.

March 20, 2006

WHOI Scientist Selected As Leopold Leadership Fellow

Chemist Chris Reddy will enhance his communication skills about oil spills, marine pollution and environmental contaminants through a 2006 Leopold Fellowship.

Daily Dispatches from Hawaii
February 24, 2006

Daily Dispatches from Hawaii

Several hundred WHOI scientists and engineers will join the nearly 3,500 researchers at Ocean Sciences 2006, jointly sponsored by the American Geophysical Union, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, The Oceanography Society, and the Estuarine Research Federation. Starting February 20, visit the link below for daily dispatches from Honolulu.

aerosol buoy
February 23, 2006

How Does Iron Get Into the Ocean?

Marine scientists and engineers have created a new tool to track an essential ingredient on which life in the oceans depends: iron.

Palmer Station
February 22, 2006

A View from Down Under

While it may be summer in the southern hemisphere, it is still very cold on Antarctica, where WHOI researchers are conducting a number of projects on and around the continent.

February 22, 2006

New Instrumentation May Help Scientists Understand Earthquake Mechanics

Advances in understanding basic earthquake processes have been limited by available instrumentation, but researchers have solved that problem by developing a device that records both small and large earthquakes at the same time.

February 21, 2006

Monitoring Baleen Whales with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

Autonomous underwater vehicles are helping scientists monitor  marine mammals, quietly listening and recording their sounds and behavior.

Alvin Overhaul in Action
February 20, 2006

Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin Overhaul in Action

Watch the latest progress on the overhaul of the three-person submersible Alvin at http://alvincam.whoi.edu/view/view.shtml.

February 17, 2006

Warmer than a Hot Tub: Atlantic Ocean Temperatures Much Higher in the Past

Scientists have found evidence that tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures may have once reached 107°F, about 25°F higher than ocean temperatures today and warmer than a hot tub. While these high ocean temperatures occurred millions of year ago, the new study suggests climate models underestimate future warming.

February 7, 2006

New Sonar Method Offers Way to Assess Health of Squid Fisheries

California’s $30-million-a-year squid fishery has quadrupled in the past decade, but until now there has been no way to assess the continuing viability of squid stocks. A new sonar technique offers a window onto next year’s potential squid population.

February 2, 2006

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Maps Ancient Greek Shipwreck

After lying hidden for centuries off the coast of Greece, a 4th century B.C. merchant ship and its cargo has been discovered and surveyed by a robotic underwater vehicle that accomplished in two days what it would take divers years to do.

January 20, 2006

Magnetic Misfits: South Seeking Bacteria in the Northern Hemisphere

Magnetotactic bacteria orient themselves in the earth’s magnetic field much like living compass needles.  But an unusual bacterium in New England has been found doing just the opposite, a magnetic misfit of sorts.

Changes in the Antarctic Ecosystem: Salps versus Krill
January 1, 2006

Changes in the Antarctic Ecosystem: Salps versus Krill

WHOI biologists will travel to Antarctica in mid-February to study salpsa??transparent, gelatinous, planktonic animals that generate massive populations containing individuals 10 centimeters (about four inches) long and colonial chains many meters (more than three feet) long. Salps consume diatoms, the microscopic plant cells abundant in spring and summer.

surface buoy
January 1, 2006

Who Goes to Sea Wishing for Bad Weather?

Some physical oceanographers do, even if it is in January in the North Atlantic. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists will spend two weeks this month working south of the Gulf Stream in the Northwest Atlantic trying to understand the transfer of energy from deep water to surface waters, and the effect on climate.

Clues in a Crater: From India to the Surface of Mars
January 1, 2006

Clues in a Crater: From India to the Surface of Mars

Researchers from WHOI, Harvard, MIT and Princeton will conduct the second part of an intensive field and laboratory study this month at Lonar Crater in Maharashtra, India, looking for clues about the surface of Mars.