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WHOI's best of 2021

Across the choppy seas of 2021, we went to work on ships and in the lab, and in waters both icy and warm. We devised solutions to protect vulnerable species, designed and deployed vehicles, and continued to push fundamental science forward. We presented at UN Climate Week, COP26, and collaborated on thousands of projects, meetings, and public events. These are just a few of the stories that most captured our attention and yours this year. Thank you for setting sail to explore with us this year, and here’s to even more discoveries in 2022!

WHOI's Top 5 stories of 2021

You want solutions and survivors. We think the ocean is a good place for both. This year our top stories discussed whale disentanglement efforts, ancient species that survived extinctions, open source ocean technologies, doing ocean science in extreme environments, and the books oceanographers are reading for fun.

These are the stories you read and shared the most.

The WHOI Editor's Choice is: An ocean of opportunity.

2. Five marine living fossils you should know about
3. Going the distance: Ocean science at the extremes
4. New glider design aims to expand access to ocean science
5. Five books WHOI researchers are reading right now

WHOI's Top 5 videos of 2021

You want hope, wonder, and imagination. We’ve given you rare sightings of critically endangered whales, animations of a future where entanglement isn’t a threat, a view into unmanned vehicle development, new ways to study the ocean twilight zone, and glimpses of new and unexpected ways of getting freshwater to water-starved cities.

These are the videos you watched the most this year.

The WHOI Editor's Choice is: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Deep Ocean: AUV Orpheus

Most Loved Instagram Photo

This cerianthid larva looks like a cross between a jellyfish and an octopus, but it is the juvenile stage of a tube-dwelling anemone. Although superficially similar to other sea anemones, cerianthids live in tubes in silty or sandy seafloor, rather than attached to rocks or hard surfaces. Before settling, they spend a fairly long time drifting through the water, catching prey with their tentacles, much like a jellyfish. #WeirdWednesday

@paulcaiger | © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution⁠

WHOI's Top 5 Ocean Topics of 2021

You’re always ready to soak up ocean knowledge. We have educational guides to Earth’s last unexplored frontier. This year you dove deep—to the deepest part of the ocean—and made Trenches our number one Ocean Topic.

But don’t stop just because you’ve reached the bottom! Explore topics for every depth and discipline in ocean science.


2. Ocean Twilight Zone
3. Phytoplankton
4. Ocean Acidification
5. Hydrothermal Vents