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Ideas: Transforming Ocean Science

Working in the fertile grounds of research that lie at the intersections of disciplines, WHOI scientists often take calculated risks—testing new theories, exploring undiscovered areas, and developing innovative technologies. Because of the Institution’s reputation for success and excellence, WHOI competes extraordinarily well in the federal funding arena for innovative ideas. Unfortunately, federal funding has become increasingly risk-adverse and too limited to support some of the most promising solutions to today’s complex problems. The features below represent just a handful of the ways in which WHOI ideas are transforming ocean science.

Ocean InstitutesWHOI's Ocean Institutes
WHOI’s four Ocean Institutes—Coastal Ocean, Deep Ocean Exploration, Ocean and Climate Change and Ocean Life—dedicate themselves to research and education that advance understanding of the ocean and communicate urgent societal and environmental issues around the globe.

Gulf Oil Spill Research Gulf Oil Spill Research
The Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest man-made release of oil into U.S. waters in history. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists played a leadership role in assessing the situation, advising the federal government, and studying the spills long-term effects.

Greenland Ice SheetThe Lakes of the Greenland Ice Sheet
Glaciologist Sarah Das explains explains how the Greenland ice sheet and its meltwater lakes create fractures that drain meltwater to the base of the ice sheet.

The Icebot: Flying Blind under Arctic IceThe Icebot: Flying Blind under Arctic Ice
The REMUS 100 was designed to be a near coastal vehicle. When WHOI scientists thought it might be the perfect tool for Arctic exploration under the ice, the team had to overcome a number of challenges to make it work.

The Rock Star of PhytoplanktonThe Rock Star of Phytoplankton
A fatty compound responsible for the rapid, mysterious death of phytoplankton in the North Atlantic may hold unexpected promise in cancer research.