Skip to content
For WHOI personnel, vendors, and visitors: COVID-19 Guidelines

Research Highlight


Research suggests giant kelp has different factors that bear on its growth dynamics

The macroalga giant kelp, which is an iconic and important ecosystem-structuring species found off the coast of California and many other coastlines, can grow 100-feet long within 1-2 years. Now, researchers using novel remote sensing observations have found that different factors may bear on the spatial growth dynamics of the Macrocystis pyrifera kelp, which is the largest species of algae in the world.

Read More

Tropical fish…up north? How ocean physics play a role in altering water temperature and salinity

A study led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists is explaining why warm and salty water along with warm water fish species, such as the deep-sea dwelling Gulf Stream flounder and Black Sea bass, were found far inshore in New England in the middle of winter 2017. How did this happen? Researchers say it is due to an intrusion of offshore water from the open ocean onto the Northeast U.S. Shelf, caused by eddies (a circular current of water) and wind.

Read More

Study outlines challenges to ongoing clean-up of burnt and unburnt nurdles along Sri Lanka’s coastline

When a fire broke out on the deck of the M/V XPress Pearl cargo ship on May 20, 2021, an estimated 70-75 billion pellets of preproduction plastic material, known as nurdles, spilled into the ocean and along the Sri Lankan coastline. That spill of about 1,500 tons of nurdles, many of which were burnt by the fire, has threatened marine life and poses a complex clean-up challenge. A new peer-reviewed study characterizes how the fire modified the physical and chemical properties of the nurdles and proposes that these properties affected their distribution along the coast.

Read More

A coral reef kickstart

WHOI’s Reef Solutions Initiative takes a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate solutions for ailing coral reefs

Read More

WHOI multidisciplinary team selected for prestigious National Science Foundation Program

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has been selected by the U.S National Science Foundation (NSF) for phase one of a two-part Convergence Accelerator Program, a $21 million investment to advance use-inspired solutions addressing national-scale societal challenges. WHOI is one of sixteen teams across the US chosen to participate in Track E: The Networked Blue Economy, which aims to create a smart, integrated, connected, and open ecosystem for ocean innovation, exploration, and sustainable utilization.

Read More

Measuring the great migration

A bioacoustic mooring will use sound to help estimate life migrating in the ocean’s twilight zone as part of a new long-term observation network in the Atlantic

Read More

Flipping the “genetic paradox of invasions”

A new study led by Carolyn Tepolt, an associate scientist of biology at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is investigating the adaptive mechanisms of the green crab along the west coast of North America, where it has shown extensive dispersal in the last decade despite minimal genetic diversity.

Read More

A recent reversal in the response of western Greenland’s ice caps to climate change

New collaborative research from the WHOI and five partner institutions published today in Nature Geoscience, reveals that during past periods glaciers and ice caps in coastal west Greenland experienced climate conditions much different than the interior of Greenland. Over the past 2,000 years, these ice caps endured periods of warming during which they grew larger rather than shrinking.

Read More

Sunlight can break down marine plastic into tens of thousands of chemical compounds, study finds

Sunlight was once thought to only fragment plastics in the marine environment into smaller particles that chemically resemble the original material and persist forever. However, scientists more recently have learned that sunlight also chemically transforms plastic into a suite of polymer-, dissolved-, and gas-phased products. Now, a new study finds that this chemical reaction can produce tens of thousands of water-soluble compounds, or formulas.

Read More

Some coral reefs are keeping pace with ocean warming

Some coral communities are becoming more heat tolerant as ocean temperatures rise, offering hope for corals in a changing climate. After a series of marine heatwaves hit the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) in the central Pacific Ocean, a new study finds the impact of heat stress on the coral communities lessened over time.

Read More

Surviving extreme heat

A team led by Anne Cohen, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, received $1.75M in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study how coral reefs survive extreme heat events caused by climate change. The multidisciplinary project taps into expertise across four WHOI departments to uncover the oceanographic and biological processes that enable corals to survive marine heatwaves.

Read More