Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is the world's leading, independent non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration, and education. Our scientists and engineers push the boundaries of knowledge about the ocean to reveal its impacts on our planet and our lives.

Our Vision and Mission

Quick facts

Founded: 1930

Location: Woods Hole, Massachusetts, U.S.A

Type of Organization: Independent non-profit

Funding: Government grants and contracts, foundation and private donations, industry contracts. Annual operating budget of $215 million

Research Areas: A wide range of topics related to ocean and earth science and marine policy; including interdisciplinary work related to the coastal ocean, ocean life, ocean exploration, and climate change

Departments & Divisions: Six research departments, four interdisciplinary institutes, more than 40 centers and labs

People: Approximately 950 employees, including more than 500 scientists, engineers, ship's crew, and technicians

Academics: Accredited by NEASC; Ph.D. and M.S. degrees offered in partnership with MIT; postdoctoral, undergraduate, summer, and guest student programs; more than 950 alumni/ae, including many in leadership positions in ocean science and policy worldwide

Ships: Global Class research vessel Atlantis, Ocean Class research vessel Neil Armstrong, coastal vessel Tioga, small boats

Underwater Vehicles: Human-occupied submersible Alvin; remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason/Medea; autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry; additional hybrid ROVs, AUVs, and towed vehicles

National Facilities: National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF); National Ocean Sciences Accelerated Mass Spectrometer (NOSAMS); Northeast National Ion Microprobe Facility (NENIMF)


Leading the Way in the Ocean


We have nearly 1,000 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support staff whose goal is to help improve understanding of the ocean's importance to the planet and to society. Their curiosity, creativity, and commitment make us one of the best known and most esteemed names in ocean science, research, and exploration.


WHOI combines an unparalleled breadth of experience, insight, and resources with a deeply ingrained culture of curiosity and innovation to pursue creative solutions to timely problems. This makes us one of the most tested and technically advanced centers of pure and applied ocean research and exploration.


At a time of unparalleled change and difficult decisions, WHOI is a source of reliable knowledge and insight for scientists, legislators, business people, and the public. We have the tools, experience, and perspective that improve understanding of the ocean and help develop solutions needed to meet global challenges.

A legacy of success

Since 1930, WHOI scientists and engineers have laid the groundwork for many of the discoveries that have revolutionized our knowledge about the ocean and its impacts on our planet and our lives. From the discovery of hydrothermal vents to the development of revolutionary ocean technology to mapping global ocean circulation, our research matters now more than ever before.

Our History and Legacy