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2010 New Releases

cooling hemisphere
December 15, 2010

Alvin Upgrade Project Featured at American Geophysical Union Meeting

The multi-million dollar upgrades to the storied deep-diving research submersible Alvin will be the focus of a press conference on December 15 at the 2010 American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, CA. Upgrade Project Principal Investigator Susan Humphris, a WHOI geologist, will provide details of the improvements to the sub's capabilities and its value to the U.S. scientific community.

Scott Gallager
December 9, 2010

Tiny Protozoa May Hold Key to World Water Safety

Right now, it looks a little like one of those plastic containers you might fill with gasoline when your car has run dry. But Scott Gallager is not headed to the nearest Mobil station. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist has other, grander plans for his revolutionary Swimming Behavioral Spectrophotometer (SBS), which employs one-celled protozoa to detect toxins in water sources.

December 9, 2010

National Deep Submergence Facility Vehicles Assist in Response to Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The U.S. National Deep Submergence Facility has had a growing and important role in the ocean science community’s response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  With the recent R/V Atlantis/Alvin expedition (Nov. 8 – Dec. 3), now each of the three NDSF vehicles has been employed in the Gulf, to characterize the plume, collect samples, and map and explore the seafloor for signs of the spill’s impact.

December 3, 2010

WHOI Website Will Take Viewers Deep into the Gulf

It may take years before scientists determine the full impact of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But, utilizing the human-occupied submersible Alvin and the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry, researchers are about to investigate—and view first-hand—the possible effects of the spill at the bottom of the Gulf. And, from Dec. 6-14, the mission will be relayed to the public as it happens on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s (WHOI) Dive and Discover website (http://divediscover.whoi.edu).

November 15, 2010

Novel Ocean-Crust Mechanism Could Affect World's Carbon Budget

The Earth is constantly manufacturing new crust, spewing molten magma up along undersea ridges at the boundaries of tectonic plates. The process is critical to the planet’s metabolism, including the cycle of underwater life and the delicate balance of carbon in the ocean and atmosphere. Now, scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have observed ocean crust forming in an entirely unexpected way—one that may influence those cycles of life and carbon and, in turn, affect the much-discussed future of the world’s climate.

November 9, 2010

WHOI Receives Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Grant for Oceanography Imaging Informatics

In a significant step toward a new era in the collection and understanding of ocean science data, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has received a grant of more than $2 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for work in imaging informatics in oceanography.

October 14, 2010

WHOI Launches Ocean Awareness Video Campaign in NYC

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has launched a video campaign on the world’s biggest stage to highlight the importance of the planet’s largest life-sustaining feature—the ocean.

October 13, 2010

Squid Studies Provide Valuable Insights Into Hearing Mechanisms

The ordinary squid, Loligo pealii—best known until now as a kind of floating buffet for just about any fish in the sea—may be on the verge of becoming a scientific superstar, providing clues about the origin and evolution of the sense of hearing.

 

October 11, 2010

Listen Up: Ocean Acidification Poses Little Threat to Whales? Hearing

Contrary to some previous, highly publicized, reports, ocean acidification is not likely to worsen the hearing of whales and other animals, according to a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientist who studies sound propagation in the ocean.

October 5, 2010

What Lives in the Sea?

The Census of Marine Life, a ten-year project to catalog all life in the sea, discovered more than 6,000 new species during its “decade of discovery,” scientists reported as they unveiled its results at a finale event in London Oct. 4-6. The collaboration combined the efforts of scientists from research organizations in more than 80 nations, including the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Researchers Find Widespread Floating Plastic Debris in the Western North Atlantic Ocean
August 20, 2010

Researchers Find Widespread Floating Plastic Debris in the Western North Atlantic Ocean

Despite growing awareness of the problem of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, little solid scientific information existed to illustrate the nature and scope of the issue.  This week, a team of researchers from Sea Education Association (SEA), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and the University of Hawaii (UH) published a study of plastic marine debris based on data collected over 22 years by undergraduate students in the latest issue of the journal Science

Rich and Chris
August 19, 2010

WHOI Scientists Map and Confirm Origin of Large, Underwater Hydrocarbon Plume in Gulf

Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) detected and characterized a plume of hydrocarbons that is at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a residue of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The work presents a forensic snapshot of the plume characteristics in June and is reported in a study appearing in the Aug. 19 issue of the journal Science.

August 10, 2010

WHOI Announces 2010 Ocean Science Journalism Fellows

Ten writers and multimedia science journalists from the U.S. and Great Britain have been selected to participate in the competitive Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Ocean Science Journalism Fellowship program. The program takes place September 12 – 18, 2010, in Woods Hole, Mass., on Cape Cod.

The Salp: Nature?s Near-Perfect Little Engine Just Got Better
August 9, 2010

The Salp: Nature's Near-Perfect Little Engine Just Got Better

What if trains, planes, and automobiles all were powered simply by the air through which they move? Moreover, what if their exhaust and byproducts helped the environment? Well, such an energy-efficient, self-propelling mechanism already exists in nature. The salp, a smallish, barrel-shaped organism that resembles a kind of streamlined jellyfish, gets everything it needs from the ocean waters to feed and propel itself. And, scientists believe its waste material may actually help remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the upper ocean and the atmosphere.

August 3, 2010

WHOI To Mark New Lab with Groundbreaking Celebration

Equipped with an $8.1 million federal Recovery Act grant and a shovel, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will celebrate the groundbreaking of its new Laboratory for Ocean Sensors and Observing Systems (LOSOS) at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 4, at the Clark Laboratory on the Institution’s Quissett Campus.

July 20, 2010

Expedition to Mid-Cayman Rise Identifies Unusual Variety of Deep Sea Vents

The first expedition to search for deep-sea hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Cayman Rise has turned up three distinct types of hydrothermal venting, an interdisciplinary team led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) reports in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work was conducted as part of a NASA-funded effort to search extreme environments for geologic, biologic, and chemical clues to the origins and evolution of life.

sentry
June 23, 2010

WHOI Science Mission to Study Deepwater Horizon Spill Using Mass Spectrometry and AUV Sentry

A multidisciplinary team of investigators from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution embarked June 17 for a twelve-day research effort in the Gulf of Mexico aboard the RV Endeavor, conducting three simultaneous projects funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) “RAPID” program. The projects aim to locate, map, and characterize subsurface oil plumes extending from the Deepwater Horizon well head using novel technology and the latest in biogeochemical techniques.

June 21, 2010

Sharks sniff out their prey, one nostril at a time

It turns out the old saying is right — the nose really does know. And when it comes to sharks, the nostrils are particularly discriminating. Combined with the ability to detect underwater vibrations, sharks are able to zero in on the location of their prey by smelling in stereo, according to a new study by researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Revolutionary Communications System Promises New Generation of Untethered, Undersea Vehicles
June 17, 2010

Revolutionary Communications System Promises New Generation of Untethered, Undersea Vehicles

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) engineers and scientists are employing a combination of new undersea technologies to re-define how we think of tethered, remotely operated vehicles. Using the 11,000 meter-rated Nereus hybrid remotely operated vehicle (HROV) as a test platform, engineers at WHOI recently demonstrated a new system that integrates acoustics with optics. This achievement, they say, opens the way to new opportunities in communications between untethered remotely operated vehicles (UTROVs) and their human operators—literally “cutting the cord” for undersea exploration.

cameron at the epa meeting
June 17, 2010

WHOI Participates in Meeting Aimed at Finding Solutions to Control or Stop Oil Spill

On June 1, 2010, members of the staff of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) participated in a meeting at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C., to consider possible alternative solutions to capping or controlling the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico. The conclusions and recommendations of the Deep Ocean Task Force, the ad hoc group initiated and convened by director James Cameron, are now available online.

June 17, 2010

WHOI Scientist Takes Comprehensive Look at Human Impacts on Ocean Chemistry

Numerous studies are documenting the growing effects of climate change, carbon dioxide, pollution and other human-related phenomena on the world’s oceans. But most of those have studied single, isolated sources of pollution and other influences. Now, a marine geochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has published a report in the latest issue of the journal Science that evaluates the total impact of such factors on the ocean and considers what the future might hold.

judith mcdowell
June 14, 2010

WHOI Joins Consortium to Study, Minimize Effects of Gulf Oil Spill

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is partnering with two Louisiana institutions to determine the myriad impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil discharge into the Gulf of Mexico and to devise and implement possible solutions to the disaster.

June 3, 2010

Rita Colwell to speak at MIT/WHOI Joint Program Commencement June 5 at WHOI

Rita R. Colwell, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland and the Johns Hopkins University and former Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), will give the commencement address June 5 at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to the 2010 graduates of the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and Applied Ocean Sciences and Engineering.

May 18, 2010

WHOI Selected to Operate Newest Navy Research Ship

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has been informed by the US Navy’s  Office of Naval Research (ONR) that is has been selected to operate AGOR 27, one of two new Ocean Class research vessels to be built by the U.S. Navy.

May 18, 2010

WHOI?s Amy Bower Wins Unsung Heroine Award

Inspiration can come from unexpected sources. For Amy Bower, a physical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), it was triggered by a mundane-sounding requirement entitled “Criterion 2,” part of a standard research grant proposal to the National Science Foundation in 2004.

May 18, 2010

WHOI Study Calculates Volume and Depth of the World?s Oceans

How high is the sky? Scientists have a pretty good handle on that one, what with their knowledge of the troposphere, stratosphere an the other “o-spheres.” Now, thanks to new work headed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), they are closing in on the other half of that age-old query: How deep is the ocean?

April 25, 2010

WHOI scientists find ancient asphalt domes off California coast

They paved paradise and, it turns out, actually did put up a parking lot. A big one. Some 700 feet deep in the waters off California’s jewel of a coastal resort, Santa Barbara, sits a group of football-field-sized asphalt domes unlike any other underwater features known to exist.

April 16, 2010

James E. Cloern Wins Ketchum Award

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has chosen James E. Cloern, a senior research scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey for the last 34 years, as the recipient of the 2010 Bostwick H. Ketchum Award.

April 12, 2010

Long-Distance Larvae Speed to New Undersea Vent Homes

Working in a rare, “natural seafloor laboratory” of hydrothermal vents that had just been rocked by a volcanic eruption, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and other institutions have discovered what they believe is an undersea superhighway carrying tiny life forms unprecedented distances to inhabit the post-eruption site.

April 1, 2010

Now in Broadband: Acoustic Imaging of the Ocean

Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have developed two advanced broadband sound systems that they believe could represent the acoustic equivalent of the leap from black-and-white television to HD TV. For oceanographers, this could mean a major upgrade in their ability to count and classify fish and to pinpoint tiny zooplankton amid seas of turbulence.

March 25, 2010

WHOI Expertise, Technology, Tapped for Search for Air France Flight 447

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is part of an international sea search operation formed to locate the deep-sea wreck site of Air France Flight 447 and to retrieve the flight recorders from the Airbus A 330.

March 12, 2010

Cape Broadband Network to Benefit Woods Hole Institutions

Woods Hole scientists are hailing the announcement of $32 million in federal stimulus funds awarded to the OpenCape Corporation to construct a new broadband network across southeastern Massachusetts. The project will connect more than 60 anchor institutions, including Woods Hole Consortium members Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Woods Hole Research Center.

March 9, 2010

Pioneering Deep-Sea Robot Lost at Sea

ABE, a pioneering deep-sea exploration robot—one of the first successful submersible vehicles that was both unmanned and untethered to surface ships—was lost at sea Friday, March 5, on a research expedition off the coast of Chile.

March 1, 2010

Chile Quake Occurred in Zone of "Increased Stress"

The massive, 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile Feb. 27 occurred in an offshore zone that was under increased stress caused by a 1960 quake of magnitude 9.5, according to geologist Jian Lin of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

February 24, 2010

Researchers Issue Outlook for a Significant New England 'Red Tide' in 2010

Today, scientists from the NOAA-funded Gulf of Maine Toxicity (GOMTOX) project issued an outlook for a significant regional bloom of a toxic alga that can cause ‘red tides’ in the spring and summer of this year, potentially threatening the New England shellfish industry. This year’s bloom could be similar to the major red tides of 2005 and 2008, according to WHOI biologist Don Anderson, principal investigator of the GOMTOX study.

illustration
February 23, 2010

Optical system promises to revolutionize undersea communications

In a technological advance that its developers are likening to the cell phone and wireless Internet access, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists and engineers have devised an undersea optical communications system that—complemented by acoustics—enables a virtual revolution in high-speed undersea data collection and transmission.

February 22, 2010

WHOI contributes to special seamount issue of Oceanography magazine

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist Timothy M. Shank is among five guest editors of a newly published special edition of the research journal Oceanography on the oceans’ seamounts, submerged isolated mountains in the sea. Shank is also a contributing author to the special Oceanography edition.

pH scale
February 22, 2010

International Group of Scientists Collaborate to Communicate about Ocean Acidification

An international group of scientists has banded together to help educate the public about “ocean acidification,” a pressing problem resulting from increased CO2 emissions in the world’s oceans. The problem raises concerns about the ability of certain organisms to survive in that altered environment and about the overall health of the oceans. 

February 16, 2010

Team finds subtropical waters flushing through Greenland fjord

Waters from warmer latitudes — or subtropical waters — are reaching Greenland’s glaciers, driving melting and likely triggering an acceleration of ice loss, reports a team of researchers led by Fiamma Straneo, a physical oceanographer from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

map of Haiti
January 14, 2010

WHOI Expert: Haiti quake occurred in complex, active seismic region

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that triggered disastrous destruction and mounting death tolls in Haiti this week occurred in a highly complex tangle of tectonic faults near the intersection of the Caribbean and North American crustal plates, according to a quake expert at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) who has studied faults in the region and throughout the world.

building plan
January 13, 2010

WHOI Receives $8.1 Million Grant to Construct New Laboratory

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will receive $8.1 million from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to construct the Laboratory for Ocean Sensors and Observing Systems. The WHOI award is one of only 12 proposals of 167 submissions that were funded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to support the construction of new scientific research facilities.