|Enlarge ImageBuilt as the world's first deep-ocean submersible, Alvin has made more than 4,200 dives and can reach 63 percent of the global ocean floor (reaching depths of 14,764 feet/4,500 meters). (Mark Spear, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
|Enlarge ImageWHOI senior engineering assistant John Kemp is lowered in a basket to recover a buoy from the ice during a summer 2004 expedition to study the upper layers of the Arctic Ocean. (Richard Krishfield, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
|Enlarge ImageIt is a rare occasion when all three WHOI-operated, ocean-going research vessels are at home in their Woods Hole port. R/V Knorr is in the foreground, with R/V Oceanus and R/V Atlantis on the opposite side of the pier. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
in 1930, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is an independent marine research, engineering, and higher
education organization. The Institution provides international
leadership in advancing and communicating a basic understanding of the
oceans and their decisive role in addressing global questions.
is distinguished by its singular focus on ocean science and the
independence with which its scientists and engineers pursue that science. The Institution brings together a unique complement of
assets including world-class scientists; innovative engineers who
invent and implement leading-edge ocean instruments and technology;
research vessels and state-of-the-art deep-submergence vehicles that
give it exceptional access to the sea; and graduate students who learn
from the best in the field and, in turn, become leaders in
Research at the Institution is broadly divided into five academic departments:
Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering; Biology; Geology and Geophysics;
Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry; and Physical Oceanography. The
Institution also operates four interdisciplinary institutesOcean and
Climate Change, Coastal Ocean, Ocean Life, and Deep Ocean Explorationa Marine Policy Center, the Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human
Health, and a Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research (with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
of its location in a vibrant ocean science community, WHOI also
benefits from opportunities to collaborate
with other research and education institutions in the
areasuch as the Marine Biological Laboratory and the Woods Hole
Research Centerand with local branches of the National Marine
Fisheries Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Access to Tools, Talent, and the Sea
WHOI's capabilities in technology development and seafaring have put the Institution at the
vanguard of ocean science for more than 75 years. WHOI operates
four research ships, the world-famous deep-ocean submersible
Alvin, a fleet of remotely operated and autonomous vehicles, several
small surface craft, and a suite of oceanographic instruments. The Institution also hosts the U.S. National Deep Submergence Facility.
Scientists from WHOI and many other research laboratories use these
vessels, vehicles, and instruments for exploration and research in all marine disciplines.
WHOI's shore-based laboratories,
instrumentation, and national facilities include the National Ocean Sciences
Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility, the Northeast National Ion
Microprobe Facility, a dedicated computed tomography (CT) scanning
facility for marine mammal research, and an extensive deep-sea sediment core
repository, to name a few. WHOI also has extensive on-site capability
for the design, fabrication, and testing of oceanographic
instrumentation and moorings.
WHOI has attracted students from hundreds of U.S. and international universities to participate in
ocean research since 1930. In 1968, the
Institution's education role at the graduate level was formalized in an
agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a
Joint Program leading to master's, doctoral, and engineering degrees.
Staffing and Budget
staff members at WHOI number nearly 900, including more than 500
scientists, engineers, and technical staff supported by more than 100 marine
personnel and nearly 300 other support staff. In addition, more than
100 graduate students are enrolled in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program and contribute to WHOI research. Nearly 300 additional
graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral scholars and
fellows, visiting scholars, and guest investigators enhance WHOI's
scientific and educational work.
In 2006, WHOI had total
operating revenues of $140 million, of which $114 million (81%) came from
sponsored research grants and contracts. Nearly 90% of that research
funding, or $102 million, came from the U.S. federal government. Funding from private and philanthropic sources accounted
for $12 million in 2006, with endowment funds contributing the
remaining $14 million.
WHOI's endowment generates critical
income for staff salaries, graduate student aid, postdoctoral
fellows, seed money and matching funds for new research initiatives,
and support for the Institution's development and communications
efforts. As of December 31, 2006, the endowment totaled $350 million.
2007, operating revenues are budgeted at approximately $136 million,
with $109 million expected to come from sponsored research.