Biology Research Highlights


From Oceanus Magazine

The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

Many ingredients mix in the ocean to make toxic shellfish

Life at the Edge

Plankton growth at the shelf break front

Sharks Take 'Tunnels' into the Depths

Spiraling eddies offer conduits to food in the ocean twilight zone

The Discovery of Hydrothermal Vents

Scientists celebrate 40th anniversary and chart future research

The Bacteria on Your Beaches

Are more antibiotic-resistant bacteria getting into the ocean?

Mission to the Twilight Zone

The urgent quest to explore one of Earth's hidden frontiers

Scientists Reveal Secrets of Whales

Thar she sings!

Long-term Study Focuses on New England Ocean

Research to explore abundant, rapidly changing ecosystem

Tiny Jellyfish with a Big Sting

Scientists investigate where toxic invaders came from

How Do Fish Find Their Way?

Hatched in the ocean, larvae may use sound to settle on reefs

The Amazing Acquired Phototroph!

Stealing parts from their prey, these hunters turn into farmers

The Hotspot for Marine Life

Pioneer observatory investigates the continental shelfbreak

Eavesdropping on Whales

Acoustic buoy could one day help ships avoid collisions

A Big Decline of River Herring

Tiny stones in fish hold clues to help restore populations

Eavesdropping on Shrimp's Snap Chat

Tiny animals dominate the undersea soundscape

To Track a Sea Turtle

Underwater vehicles follow tagged turtles in the wild

A Slithery Ocean Mystery

Scientists gain grasp on the epic migration of eels

No Stone Unturned

'Ear stones' provide clues to help restore river herring

Shark Tales

Satellite tags reveal hidden world of ocean's largest fish

Endangered Whales Get a High-Tech Check-Up

Drones give researchers an unparalleled view of marine mammal health

Journey Into the Ocean's Microbiomes

A scientist examines a tango between marine animals and bacteria

Recipes for Antibiotic Resistance

A student examines the bacterial bouillabaisse in the coastal ocean


HABitat mapping CAMera system is a window to the sea floor


Exploring the secret life of endangered leatherback turtles

Setting a Watchman for Harmful Algal Blooms

New undersea technology offers ways to monitor toxic outbreaks

The Man Who Opened Our Ears to the Ocean

Historic archive of marine mammal recordings established

A Green Thumb for Ocean Microbes

Growing marine bacteria in the laboratory is a challenge

Sand, Seals, and Solitude

Scientists and teachers collaborate to inspire students

A Telescope to Peer into the Vast Ocean

Epic voyage begins to illuminate the micro-universe across the Pacific

Bringing a Lab to the Seafloor

New device probes deep-sea microbial life

The Waves Within the Waves

Scientists stalk the mysterious phenomenon of internal waves

Trouble in the Tropics

Scientist explores mysterious food-borne illness: ciguatera

Big Questions About Tiny Bacteria

Novel experiments probe how life thrives at the seafloor

On the Trail of an Invader

SSF Filip Buksa uses DNA to trace an invasion

It's Hard to Kill a Killifish

Tiny coastal fish remarkably resistant to toxic PCBs

A Summer of Science by the Sea, 2014 (Part II)

Summer Student Fellows dive into ocean research

Is Ocean Acidification Affecting Squid?

A key animal in the marine food web may be vulnerable

A Summer of Science by the Sea, 2014 (Part I)

Summer Student Fellows dive into ocean research

Swimming in Low-pH Seas

Does ocean acidification affect squid movement?

From Penguins to Polar Bears

The impacts of climate change in polar regions

A Haven for Whale Sharks

A rare glimpse of the world's biggest fish

Alvin's Animals

Hundreds of previously unknown species have been discovered by the sub

WHOI CSI Lab Investigates Rare Whales

Computerized Scanning and Imaging lab gets unusual double case

Can Squid Abide Ocean's Lower pH?

Experiments hint at harm to critical balance organs

Dropping a Laboratory into the Sea

Revolutionary Sensor Detects Toxic Marine Organisms

The Return of the Seals

Growing Herds Raise Questions on Sharks, Fish, and Poop

The Decline and Fall of the Emperor Penguin?

Climate Change and Shrinking Ice Threaten Polar Birds

Tiny. Ubiquitous. Vital. Delicate. Vulnerable.

All these words describe pteropods ("wing-foot")

An Ocean That's No Longer Wild

Tagging project aims to help conserve sharks, rays, and other fish

Sassy Scallops

How will shellfish fare as ocean conditions shift?

Why Haven't the Cod Come Back?

Preserved fish scales yield clues to ocean ecosystem changes

An Ocean Instrument Is Born

Meet SID: the Submersible Incubation Device

Seabirds Face Risks from Climate Change

Scientists who study birds in remote regions also confront danger

Marine Mammals Meet Modern Medicine

To study whales, scientists use instruments designed for humans

Caller IDs for Whales

Crowd-sourcing helps sort marine mammal vocalizations

Tangled Up in Fishing Gear

What scientists learned from a right whale named Eg 3911

Art Meets Science in a Book called Bloom

Scientist tries her hand at distilling research into poetry

Decoding the Mystery Fish

Scientists delve into the genome of the African coelacanth

The Synergy Project, Part II

More videos on collaborations among artists and scientists

The Synergy Project

A co-laboratory experiment among scientists and artists

Seismic Studies Capture Whale Calls

New software could reveal songs amid the sounds

Bacteria Hitchhike on Tiny Marine Life

Why do pathogens settle on animals called copepods?

A Day in the Life of a Phytoplankter

A conversation with WHOI biologist Sam Laney

What Is the Sound of 130 Wind Turbines Turning?

Researchers record undersea sound at offshore wind farm site

Brown Tides and Redfielders

Scientists probe the inner workings of harmful algae

Beneath Arctic Ice, Life Blooms Spectacularly

Pools of water atop ice act as lenses to focus sunlight

Ocean Explorers Probe Gulf of Mexico

Shipwrecks, cold seeps, and corals among the finds

Exhibit Spotlights Sea Butterflies

Scientist and sculptress share love of charismatic microfauna

Fats In Whales' Heads May Help Them Hear

Study shows first evidence for auditory fats in baleen whales

Are Jellyfish Populations Increasing?

... and other WHOI research news

Clues in Shark Vertebrae Reveal Where They've Been

Scientists take advantage of a silver lining in mushroom clouds

Whale Heads and Tales

A student probes the mysteries of whales' hearing

The Latest Fashion in Bowhead Whale Songs

Why do cetacean crooners change their tunes?

Into the Dark and Ice

First winter voyage to Chukchi and Bering Seas launched

A Drop in the Ocean is Teeming with Life

Scientists reveal hidden relationships among marine microbes

Shifting Sands and Bacteria on the Beach

Does ever-moving sand transport microbes along with it?

Life and Death in the Deep Sea

Does the Gulf oil spill threaten vital seafloor communities?

Does Oil Affect Animals' Cellular Machinery?

Scientists investigate genes activated by contaminants

Recycling Rare, Essential Nutrients in the Sea

Key marine bacterium appears to thrive by reusing scarce iron

Are Whales 'Shouting' to be Heard?

Whale calls get louder as noise levels rise in the ocean

Volunteer Gets an Oceanful of Experience

Student becomes immersed in expedition to find new deep-sea species

Scientists Find that Squid Can Detect Sounds

We knew they taste good, but how well do they 'hear'?

Tracking a Trail of Oil Droplets

WHOI devices create ways to see tiny things in a big ocean

Salps Catch the Ocean's Tiniest Organisms

Oh, what remarkably built internal mucus nets they weave

A Torrent of Crabs Running to the Sea

A student uncovers the natural history of a little-known species

Holography and Oceanography

An audio slideshow on a new way to use lasers to reveal tiny sea life

Inside the Open Ocean

An audio slideshow on blue water diving

The Squid, the Whale, and the Grad Student

A young scientist deciphers meaning embedded in sonar signals

The Mysterious Movements of Deep-Sea Larvae

How do the tiny progeny of seafloor animals disperse through the ocean?

Dye Sheds Light on Jet-Propelled Salps

A graduate student reveals locomotion in the ocean

Having Their Phosphorus and Eating It Too

Plankton's unusual ability may give it an ecological edge

Voyage to the Remote Phoenix Islands

Eight atolls in the Pacific represent the world's largest marine protected area

The Hunt for Microbial 'Trojan Horses'

Should we beware of protists bearing pathogens?

Supreme Court Weighs in on Whales and Sonar

Research offers best way to balance needs of marine mammals and the Navy


An expedition to an unexplored sea seeks new species

Turtle Skulls Prove to be Shock-Resistant

Could sea turtles help us design better helmets and body armor for soldiers?

A Most Ingenious Paradoxical Plankton

How do similar organisms co-exist in the same ecological niche?

Shellfish's Mysterious Pathways to Adulthood

A grad student peers into the lives of larvae, before they grow up to be scallops

A Tag Fit for a Porpoise

Grad students surmount big hurdles to build a device for a small marine mammal

One Man's Swamp Is a Fish's Nursery

Grad student examines otoliths (fish ear bones) to protect critical areas for juvenile coral reef fish

The Spiral Secret to Mammal Hearing

... and other recent research findings by WHOI scientists

Testing the Waters and Closing Beaches

Researchers seek faster, better ways to detect harmful bacteria

Biochemical Warfare on the Reef

In a co-evolutionary struggle, invertebrate adversaries develop weapon and counter-weapon

Sea Life Is Accumulating Pathogens

A wide range of marine animals also contains microbes that are resistant to antibiotics

Cytobot Gives Early Red Tide Warning

Automated underwater microscope detects unexpected harmful algal bloom

DMS: The Climate Gas You've Never Heard Of

Made by tiny plants in the ocean, dimethylsulfide helps make clouds in the sky

Seabirds Use Their Sense of Smell to Find Food

The not-so-sweet smell of a good meal in the ocean is a gas called dimethylsulfide

The Sound of Sonar and the Fury about Whale Strandings

Navy and scientists join efforts to learn more about marine mammals' response to sonar

Scientists Investigate Mysterious Duck Die-offs

Droves of eider ducks have died in five mass mortalities since 2006 on Cape Cod

Melting Ice Threatens Polar Bears' Survival

Decision to put bears on federal endangered species list is imminent

Pilot Study Examines Ciguatera Fish Poisoning

WHOI Tropical Research Initiative funds investigation of toxic algae

Eavesdropping on Whales' Mealtime Conversation

A graduate student journeys to Norway to investigate how orcas orchestrate their hunt

Following Whales Up a Creek

A conversation with marine mammal biologist Michael Moore

The Deepest Divers

D-tags give scientists in-depth records of whales in the depths

What Does It Take To Break a Whale?

Stress tests on whale bones aim to help endangered species

Would a Hagfish By Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?

A new species, Eptatretus strickrotti, is named for the Alvin pilot who captured it

Deep-sea Tubeworms Get Versatile 'Inside' Help

Scientists find first known organism that makes organic carbon by two different means

What Other Tales Can Coral Skeletons Tell?

Scientists strive to get into the genes of fossil corals to extract their evolutionary history

Legions of Legionella Bacteria

Scientists find a surprising number of microbes in the sea

New 'Eyes' Size Up Scallop Populations

The HabCam undersea camera system can help assess seafloor fish stocks

Lullaby for Larvae

A WHOI biologist becomes a midwife for Antarctic deep-sea corals

Ocean Microscope Reveals Surprising Abundance of Life

Widespread bacterial colonies may play crucial role in ocean ecosystem

Voyage Takes a Census of Life in the Sea

Scientists net a wealth of tiny marine animals, including species never seen before

Transparent Animal May Play Overlooked Role in the Ocean

Swarming by the billions, gelatinous salps transport tons of carbon to the depths

The Chicken and the Tern

Why is one bird species much more sensitive to dioxin poisoning?

Abandoned Walrus Calves Reported in the Arctic

Melting sea ice may be forcing mothers to strand their pups in deep water

Mass Strandings Keep New Marine Mammal Facility Busy

In its first season, WHOI lab becomes a hub for cetacean research

Caught in the Middle of the Marine Mammal Protection Act

A law designed to protect animals sometimes hinders research that could help them

What Brings the Food that Brings the Whales?

Scientists investigate delicately balanced ecosystem off Alaska

Graduate Student Discovers an Unusual New Species

Unlike other magnetotactic bacteria, the "barbell" bacterium heads in its own direction

To Find Whales, Follow Their Food

WHOI biologist employs an array of tools to reveal right whale feeding habits and habitats

Diving into the Right Whale Gene Pool

What is compromising the endangered species' ability to reproduce?

Doing the Right Thing for the Right Whale

WHOI Right Whale Initiative accelerates research to help conserve an endangered species

Scientific (and Surfing) Safari

On and off the job, a MIT/WHOI graduate student displays his passion for the ocean

A Mysterious Disease Is Infecting Northeast Clam Beds

...But a new technique is revealing the secrets of QPX ('Quahog Parasite Unknown')

Finding Nemo...and Other Endangered Fish

A new method to tag and track fish will help protect threatened species

Cold Comfort for Barnacles

Researchers are surprised to find that frozen barnacle larvae can revive

Big Whale, Big Sharks, Big Stink

R/V Tioga sent into action to perform whale necropsy at sea

A Whale Expert is Called in to Decipher Odd Elephant Calls

WHOI biologist's expertise in marine mammal communication proves useful in studies of other large (albeit terrestrial) mammals

Red Tide—Gone for Now, But Back Next Year?

WHOI researchers extend investigations of the Alexandrium bloom of 2005 and look for signs of future trouble

Settling on the Seafloor

Deep in the ocean, larvae search for 'home, sweet home'

On the Seafloor, a Parade of Roses

A third generation of scientists finds the third generation of hydrothermal vent sites

Seeing Red in New England Waters

WHOI researchers detect a massive bloom of algae before it hits the coast

Sensors to Make Sense of the Sea

An expanding variety of sensors is changing they way we monitor dynamic ocean systems

Risks and Remedies from the Sea

Scientists team up to study the ocean's effect on health

Down to the Sea on (Gene) Chips

The genomics revolution is transforming the way scientists can study life in the oceans

Voyages into the Antarctic Winter

Pioneering cruises into the pack ice of the Southern Ocean reveal secrets of its fertile ecosystem

How to See What Whales Hear

Biomedical imaging reveals new insights into marine mammal ears

Big Trouble from Little Squirts

WHOI scientist investigates a troublesome invasive species

Run Deep, But Not Silent

A new tagging device lets scientists 'go along for the ride' into the underwater world of whales

Playing Tag with Whales

Engineers overcome nightmarish specifications to create a dream instrument

Little Things Matter A Lot

Overlooked in the ocean until the 1970s, cyanobacteria are among Earth's most important organisms

Tracking Fish to Save Them

The Reef Fish Connectivity and Conservation Initiative

Coral Gardens in the Dark Depths

Scientists seek to learn more about these abundant, fragile, and now-threatened communities

New Instrument Sheds Light on Bioluminescence

A WHOI engineer invents a device to measure a critical but elusive ocean phenomenon

Can We Catch More Fish and Still Preserve the Stock?

Mathematical analyses offer new insights into age-old controversies on fishing restriction

A Fatal Attraction for Harmful Algae

Clay sticks to algae and sinks, offering a potential solution to an expensive and deadly problem

Rites of Passage for Juvenile Marine Life

Learning from the life-or-death journeys of barnacle, lobster, and clam larvae

The Growing Problem of Harmful Algae

Tiny plants pose potent threat to those who live in and eat from the sea

Scientists Muster to Help Right Whales

With time running out, an ambitious research plan is launched for an endangered species

Whither the North Atlantic Right Whale?

Scientists explore many facets of whales' lives to help species on the edge of extinction

Revealing the Ocean's Invisible Abundance

Scientists develop new instruments to study microbes at the center of the ocean food web

Shedding Light on Light in the Ocean

New research is illuminating an optically complex environment

Life in the Arctic Ocean

A unique, complex food web is fashioned by distinctive species and environmental factors

The Secret Lives of Fish

Scientists learn to read the 'diary' recorded in the ear bones of fish

Mixing Oil and Water

Tracking the sources and impacts of oil pollution in the marine environment

Is Life Thriving Deep Beneath the Seafloor?

Recent discoveries hint at a potentially huge and diverse subsurface biosphere

The Evolutionary Puzzle of Seafloor Life

Scientists are assembling critical pieces to reconstruct the history of life on the ocean floor

Deep-Sea Diaspora

The LARVE Project Explores How Species Migrate from Vent to Vent