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Ocean waters are becoming warmer and more acidic, threatening to harm coral reefs. But in the Rock Islands of Paulau in the western Pacific, scientists have found corals that can survive these conditions. (Lux Tonnerre, Creative Commons)

With WHOI's research vessel Atlantis anchored in Discovery Bay off Jamaica, a team of WHOI scientists is towed on a small boat to a blue hole in shallower waters. They use long pipes to core into sediments that settled to the bottom of the blue hole. The sediments contain forensic clues that the scientists use to reveal past patterns of hurricane and ocean temperatures, which can help us predict and prepare for hurricane activity in the future. (Richard Sullivan, WHOI)

In July 1946, the U.S. military detonated a nuclear weapon 90 feet under water near Bikini Atoll. A geyser of radioactive water fell back into the lagoon, contaminating many nearby target ships. It was the second of 67 nuclear weapons tests inflicted on the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958.

When (from left) WHOI biologist Jesús Pineda, pilot Eli Temime, and WHOI researcher Victoria Starczak descended on Hannibal Seamount in the submersible Nadir, they were astonished to see a huge swarming throng of crabs on the seafloor. (Hanu Singh, Yogeh Girdhar, Jeff Anderson, WHOI)

(Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Sometimes mooring deployments continue into the night. After a long and challenging deployment, Donohue waits for the countdown to cut the safety strap and release the anchor, the final component of a mooring to hit the water. (Photo by Jared Schwartz, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

In addition to blue sharks like the one shown here, Camrin Braun also tags and tracks mako sharks, tiger sharks, and sometimes even great white sharks through his work with the nonprofit organization OCEARCH. The information he receives from satellite tags allows him to understand how these different species behave in the open ocean. (Nuno Sá)

Camrin Braun, a graduate student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, and colleagues will spend hours working to find the right size and species of shark to tag. When they do catch a shark, they only have a few minutes to apply the tags. (Tane Sinclair-Taylor,

For years, the movement of sharks in the deep ocean has been a mystery to scientists. Now with satellite tagging technology, biologists can track the positions of these animals and determine how best the sharks can be protected, both from overfishing and from climate change. (Nuno Sá)

Fungal colonies grow on dishes inoculated with rock samples from deep within Earth’s ocean crust. WHOI microbiologist Ginny Edgcomb and guest investigator Gaetan Burgaud are exploring what life forms may be living there. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Scientists think that American eels spawn somewhere in the southwest corner of the Sargasso Sea, which is surrounded by circulating ocean currents. The eels migrate as tiny larvae to fresh waters along the coast, where they spend their adult lives. Where the adults spawn and how the larvae migrate to the coast both remain mysteries. (Illustration by Eric S. Taylor, WHOI Graphic Services)

Dononhue changes the rigging of a subsurface float that was just pulled out of the water at the Global Argentine Basin Array in the South Atlantic Ocean. Research cruises to remote locations such as this one can often last a month or more. (Photo by Diane Suhm, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Meghan Donohue (left) prepares to deploy an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler, or ADCP, from the deck of the research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer in the South Atlantic Ocean. The ADCP, which uses sound to measure currents, is one of many scientific instruments on this mooring, which extends from a surface buoy down more than three miles to the ocean floor. (Photo by Diane Suhm, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

R/V Neil Armstrong sails into San Francisco Harbor at the conclusion of the first leg of its inaugural voyage in late 2015. (Image by Bay Aerial, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

This Alvin dive "cover"—an envelope commemorating Alvin's 110th dive—bears Alvin logos, dates, and location, and the signatures of Alvin's first pilots, Bill Rainnie and Marvin McCamis. This and other Alvin dive covers and postal artifacts are featured in an exhibit, "Alvin at 50: The Little Sub that Could," from Oct. 3 to Nov. 2, 2014. at the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History in Weston, Mass. (Photo courtesy of Ed Hayes)

Tom DeCarlo, a graduate student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, is investigating how changing ocean conditions, including lower pH levels and an increase in nutrients, will affect the health of vital coral reefs. (Pat Lohmann, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The 2014 expedition to the Antikythera shipwreck marks the experimental debut of a new robotic diving apparatus for use in marine archaeology—the Exosuit. (Photo by Luis Lamar ©WHOI - Return to Antikythera, 2014)

(Thomas Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Engineer Jonathan Howland and colleagues in the WHOI Deep Submergence Laboratory developed software programs to automate many driving functions in the upgraded Alvin. The software sends commands to the sub's seven orange thrusters. (Thomas Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

(Dann Blackwood, U.S. Geologoical Survey, Woods Hole)

A newly hatched squid, only 0.1 inches long. (Photo by Max Kaplan, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Whale sharks, the largest known fish species, open their large mouths to graze on microscopic marine plants and animals. They are often accompanied by smaller fish that are perhaps seeking protection or dining on scraps. (Nuno Sá)

Rocky formations like these, called stromatolites, dominated coastal areas billions of years ago. Now they exist in only a few locations. The ones pictured here are near Shark Bay, Australia. (Photo by Virginia Edgcomb, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WHOI scientist Amy Apprill thinks that coral reefs, like human beings, are "superorganisms" that depend on communities of microbes living within and around them for their survival. (Louis Lamar and Maryann Morin, Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory at WHOI)

Pilots of the remotely operated vehicle Jason used the views from several cameras to maneuver the vehicle and use its manipulator arms to gather sediment samples from the seafloor in and around Deep Hypersaline Anoxic Basins (DHABs) in the Mediterranean. (Photo by Cherie Winner, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Minerals from hydrothermal vent fluids precipitate to build up hundreds of delicate spires at the base of a tall hydrothermal vent at Lost City. An arm of the remotely operated vehicle Hercules is sampling for gases in the foreground. The two tiny dots (right), which were generated by a laser on the vehicle, are four inches apart and help give scientists a sense of scale. (Photo courtesy of University of Washington, IFE, URI-IAO, NOAA)

With more than 4,000 recordings of pilot whales like these, researchers seized the idea of plugging into the power of crowd-sourcing, leading to the creation of Whale FM (, a website that asks people "to help us understand what whales are saying." (Photo by Frants Jensen, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, under National Marine Fisheries Service Permit #14241.)

Researchers aboard the sailboat Iolaire watch a close group of killer whales in the Tysfjord, in northern Norway. The researchers, including MIT/WHOI graduate student Ari Shapiro, were there to study the whales'unusual behavior when feeding on schools of herring. (Photo by Jesper Jensen)

Manatees have round heads, squinty eyes, and bodies up to 13 feet in length. Despite their lumbering appearance, they are graceful swimmers—and to many, a vanishing symbol of wild Florida. Researchers hope digital tags, or D-tags, will provide insights into their behavior that could prevent more vessel strikes. (Photo by Tom Hurst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The deep-sea robot ABE (Autonomous Benthic Explorer) created this map of the active underwater Brothers Volcano. (See fly-through movies below.) This view looks from the south into the crater at the summit of the volcano, the site of recent eruptions and ongoing hydrothermal venting. The caldera has two volcanic cones, the smooth one in the left foreground rises about 350 meters (1,150 feet) above the caldera floor to a depth of about 1,100 meters (3,600 feet) below sea surface. A smaller cone to the right, which is probably older but still has an intense hydrothermal system at its summit. (Image courtesy of New Zealand American Submarine Ring of Fire 2007 Exploration, NOAA Vents Program, NOAA-OE.)

Adult bay scallops use their adductor muscle to open and close their shells rapidly ... and swim. No other type of bivalve is able to swim. Scallops swim to escape predators. Tentacles around the shell opening help filter water through the opening to catch particles for food. Many silvery eyes line the outer edges and help the scallop sense light and movement. (Public domain)

The seafloor sediments are full of fossilized microscopic shells whose chemistry can reveal ocean temperatures that existed tens of thousands of years ago. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Another new species discovered on the Tasman Fracture expedition was this "waffle cone" sponge, 1.6 feet (50 centimeters) wide and 6.5 feet (200 centimeters) tall. (Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory, WHOI/Jess Adkins, Caltech)

This newly discovered species of soft coral, called a gorgon's head coral, was found using the remotely operated vehicle Jason during a December 2008-January 2009 expedition off Tasmania, Australia. (Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory, WHOI/Jess Adkins, Caltech)

Images captured by the remotely operated vehicle Jason revealed several previously unknown species during a recent expedition to the Tasman Fracture, south of Australia, including this translucent, 1.6 foot (half-meter) tall carnivorous sea squirt. It traps prey in its funnel-shaped head. (Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory, WHOI/Jess Adkins, Caltech)

WHOI biologist Michael Moore is dwarfed by this 50-ton, 45-foot female right whale named Staccato, which was found off Wellfleet, Mass., in 1999. A necropsy showed fatal injuries from a ship collision: a broken jaw, fractured vertebrae, damage to the left fin, and internal bleeding. (Moira Brown, New England Aquarium)

In 2007, WHOI geologist Liviu Giosan and his colleagues drilled a 42-meter-deep core through sediments that have piled up since the early Danube delta began forming before 10,000 years ago.

Kelly Rakow Sutherland untangles tethers attached to her fellow divers during a blue-water dive. The tether system is used to ensure that divers don’t become disoriented or drift away when exploring the featureless—and seemingly bottomless—environment. Rakow is using blue-water diving and an underwater video camera to study the movement and feeding of barrel-shaped, gelatinous organisms called salps off the Pacific coast of Panama at the Liquid Jungle Lab. (Photo by Andrew Gray, UC Santa Cruz)

Scientists and crew aboard the research vessel Knorr faced winds ranging from 60 to 100 knots and 30- to 40-foot tall waves on an expedition to the Irminger Sea in October 2007. (Photo by Kjetil V?ge, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The WHOI undersea vehicle Sentry collected sonar data to create this map of the undersea asphalt mound called Il Duomo, the largest of seven similar domes in the Santa Barbara Channel. It covers twice the area of a football field and rises 30 meters, or six stories, above the seafloor. The scale at right is in meters below the sea surface. (ABE/Sentry Group, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Cameras on the remotely operated underwater vehicle Jason took images of a seafloor site about 7 miles from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. Scientists found deep-sea corals covered with brown, flocculent material. (Photo courtesy of Lophelia II (NOAA/BOEMRE) and Tim Shank, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

After a six-month dry season in coastal Panama, the first rains bring masses of bright red land crabs boiling out of their burrows in the forest and migrating to the shore. There, females lay fertilized eggs in the water. WHOI student Joanna Gyory discovered previously unknown parts of this species's life cycle. (Photo courtesy of Joanna Gyory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The manipulator arm of a robotic vehicle (upper right) moves the IGT sampler toward the jet of hot oil and gas shooting out of the broken Deepwater Horizon wellhead. When the sampler's snorkel reached an area of peak temperature, WHOI research associate Sean Sylva, sitting in a control room on a ship nearly a mile above, activated the snorkel to draw in a sample. (With permission of U.S. Coast Guard and Rich Camilli, WHOI)

Deep-sea corals flourish in the dark depths of the Gulf of Mexico, providing the foundation for lush communities of other animals, including brittle stars, anemones, crabs, and fish. (Photo courtesy of Lophelia II (NOAA/BOEMRE) and Tim Shank, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Transparent tubular animals, salps produce a feeding net of mucus that hangs inside their bodies. As they swim, they catch food particles on the net. (Photo by Larry Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Researcher Aran Mooney sets a squid into a tank where its neural response to sounds will be measured. The squid has been anesthetized and fitted with an electrode that will detect signals sent to the brain by nerves connected to sensory organs called statocysts. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Scientists use a long pole to attach temporary recording devices called “D-tags” to the backs of right whales. The tags record the whales’ calls and the background noise around them, as well as the animals’ movements. (Photo by Doug Nowacek)

Albatrosses exploit a phenomenon called dynamic soaring. They ascend from an essentially windless trough of a wave into an area with strong winds blowing above the wave. Crossing the boundary gives the birds a burst of kinetic energy that they use to climb to heights of 10 to 15 meters. (Photo by Phil Richardson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

From the deck of the research vessel Endeavor,Ben Van Mooy (right) and others survey the scene near the burning Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in June, 2010. Van Mooy was a member of a team of WHOI scientists who went to the Gulf to study aspects of the oil spill, including how fast it was flowing out of the ruptured wellhead and whether it was flowing in a deep plume of hydrocarbons. Van Mooy's experiments focused on whether microbes were eating oil in the surface slick and in the deep plume, and whether their activities were lowering oxygen levels enough to endanger fish and other marine life. (Photo by Dan Torres, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Diatoms like this one, Amphiprora sp., are one of several major types of marine phytoplankton. These microorganisms that live near the ocean surface and convert carbon dioxide into organic carbon via photosynthesis. They produce much of the oxygen we breathe and are the base of the marine food chain. They also play an important role in drawing heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the ocean. (Photo by Dawn Moran, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

In 1969, WHOI biologists Howard Sanders (left) and George Hampson mobilized a concerted study of the impacts of an oil spill off West Falmouth, Mass., on marine organisms. (Courtesy of WHOI Archives)

This is a chromatogram of oil that leaked from the Macondo well during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Each peak represents one of thousands of individual chemical compounds in the oil. The taller the peak, the more of that particular compound is in the oil. (Courtesy of Bob Nelson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

A bowhead whales surfaces and blows in the Bering Sea. Studying their song is a way to learn where their still unknown breeding grounds are so that these critical areas can be protected. (Photo by Carter Esch, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Getting samples from a dead whale isn't pretty and certainly not fragrant. (James Lucey)

A thin section cut from a shark vertebra shows distinct alternating light and dark layers of tissue, laid down sequentially over a shark’s lifetime. Similar to tree rings, the layers may preserve a chemical record of environmental conditions the shark was exposed to and reveal its habits and habitats. (Li Ling Hamady, MIT/WHOI Joint Program)

Basking sharks, the world’s second-largest fish, have become endangered. To devise effective strategies to protect the sharks, scientists are striving to gain basic knowledge about where they live, mate and give birth. (Greg Skomal, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries)

The aft end of Titanic's keel is deeply embedded in thick, clay-like sediment 12,000 feet below the surface of the North Atlantic. The port propeller is also visible in this view. (©2012 RMS Titanic, Inc. Produced by AIVL, WHOI)

Photomosiacs of Titanic from 2012 and 1987 show that the bow of Titanic has remained relatively intact compared with the stern. The top mosaic consists of approximately 1,500 high-resolution still images shot in 2010, revealing structural changes that have occurred to the bow section since the last effort to mosaic the wreck. The bottom image was the first complete image of Titanic on the seafloor and is made up of 100 images pieced together from the 53,000 taken by a towed camera sled. It took approximately 700 hours to make. (©2012 RMS Titanic, Inc. Produced by AIVL, WHOI)

U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmers and polar bear sentinels from the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy stand by as scientists take samples of sea ice and underlying seawater properties during NASA's 2011 ICESCAPE cruise in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. To their surprise, scientists discovered a  bloom of phytoplankton in presumably dark regions beneath the ice. The scientists concluded that the tourquoise pools of water atop melting ice in summer act like transient skylights and magnifying lenses focusing sunlight into water beneath the ice. (Sam Laney, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Louie Wurch extracts RNA from Aureococcus anophagefferens in Sonya Dyhrman's Phytoplankton and Marine Biogeochemistry Laboratory at WHOI. A research team including Wurch found that the harmful algal bloom species has a unique gene complement that allows it to outcompete other marine phytoplankton and thrive in ecosystems that have been changed by human activities. (Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WHOI marine chemist Matt Charette collects samples of groundwater flowing into Pamet Harbor in Truro on Cape Cod. He spent his childhood summers in Truro, which fostered his interests in the outdoors and coastal ocean. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WHOI's deep-diving vehicle Jason captured this image of shrimp massed around a hydrothermal vent at the Piccard hydrothermal vent site, 3.1 miles deep in the Caribbean. (Photo courtesy of Chris German, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

At Mid-Cayman Rise vent sites, scientists found three species of shrimp, two of them new to science. Females of one species were full of orange eggs, a clue to their reproductive timing. (Photo by Julia DeMarines, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

A team of researchers led by WHOI scientist Sébastien Bertrand took sediment samples from fjords in Chilean Patagonia to investigate how and why Gualas Glacier has been retreating. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Claudia Silva)


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