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News Releases


Evidence of Ancient Life Discovered in Mantle Rocks Deep Below the Seafloor

Ancient rocks harbored microbial life deep below the seafloor, reports a team of scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Virginia Tech, and the University of Bremen. This new evidence was contained in drilled rock samples of Earth’s mantle – thrust by tectonic forces to the seafloor during the Early Cretaceous period. The new…

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WHOI, NEAQ Embark on Expedition to the Phoenix Islands

A research team led by the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are heading out on a 6,000-mile expedition to one of the most remote places on Earth—the Phoenix Islands in the central Pacific Ocean. Throughout the month of September and in the midst of a strengthening Pacific El Nino, researchers…

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Examining the Fate of Fukushima Contaminants

An international research team reports results of a three-year study of sediment samples collected offshore from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in a new paper published August 18, 2015, in the American Chemical Society’s journal, Environmental Science and Technology. The research aids in understanding what happens to Fukushima contaminants after they are buried on…

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New AUV Plankton Sampling System Deployed

Traditionally, pumps and nets are used for sampling plankton, which require sampling at predetermined stations or towing nets behind a ship, followed by visually sorting collected organisms into taxonomic groups. Samples generally combine organisms collected throughout horizontal or vertical tracks, making it impossible to detect small gradations or species-specific patterns in larval distribution.  The sampling…

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Heat Release from Stagnant Deep Sea Helped End Last Ice Age

The build-up and subsequent release of warm, stagnant water from the deep Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas played a role in ending the last Ice Age within the Arctic region, according to new research led by an international team of scientists. The study, published today in Science, examines how the circulation of the combined Arctic…

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Ultrasounds for Coral Reefs?

In a study, published Aug. 6, 2015 in Marine Ecology Progress Series, scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) used low-cost autonomous underwater recorders over four months to collect “soundscapes” of reefs in in the U.S. Virgin Islands. They showed how the collective sound recordings of reef inhabitants painted vivid pictures of the reefs’ abundance…

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River Buries Permafrost Carbon at Sea

As temperatures rise, some of the carbon dioxide stored in Arctic permafrost meets an unexpected fate—burial at sea. As many as 2.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year are swept along by a single river system into Arctic Ocean sediment, according to a new study led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)…

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Shifting Winds, Ocean Currents Doubled Endangered Galapagos Penguin Population

New research suggests shifts in wind currents over the past three decades, possibly due to climate change and natural variability, have nudged the Equatorial Undercurrent north. The changing current expanded the nutrient-rich, cold water farther north along the coasts of the two islands, likely bolstering algae and fish numbers in the cold pool. This allowed…

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Whale Research Takes Flight

A research team has successfully demonstrated a new non-invasive tool to obtain hard-to-get health measurements of large endangered whales in the wild: Using a small remote-controlled hexacopter, scientists for the first time collected both breath samples from the whales’ spouts combined with aerial photos of their body condition.

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John W. Farrington Named 2015 American Geophysical Union Fellow

John Farrington 2015

John W. Farrington of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has been elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).Farrington, Dean emeritus and an emeritus member in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department, is among 60 new fellows who will be honored for “exceptional scientific contributions and attained acknowledged eminence in the fields of…

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Carbon Dioxide Pools Discovered in Aegean Sea

The waters off Greece’s Santorini are the site of newly discovered opalescent pools forming at 250 meters depth. The interconnected series of meandering, iridescent white pools contain high concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and may hold answers to questions related to deepsea carbon storage as well as provide a means of monitoring the volcano for…

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Air Travel and Climate: A Potential New Feedback?

Global air travel contributes around 3.5 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions behind/driving anthropogenic climate change, according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  But what impact does a warming planet have on air travel and how might that, in turn, affect the rate of warming itself? A new study by researchers at the…

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WHOI Announces 2015 Ocean Science Journalism Fellows

Seven writers and multimedia science journalists from the U.S. have been selected to participate in the competitive Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Ocean Science Journalism Fellowship program. The program takes place September 13-18, 2015, in Woods Hole, Mass., on Cape Cod.

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Where Iron and Water Mix

A new study by researchers from University of Washington (UW), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and the University of Southern California, demonstrates that chemical-laden plumes erupted from vents at one section of Mid Ocean Ridge in the SE Pacific can be traced all the way across the Pacific for more than 4000 kilometers.  Further, the…

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WHOI Earns 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountabilityand transparency haveearned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the 13th time that WHOI has earned this top distinction in the last 14 years.    

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Deep-Sea Images Give New View of Arctic Ocean Methane Seeps

Working with colleagues from the Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE) in Norway, Dan Fornari from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s (WHOI) Geology & Geophysics Department collected nearly 30,000 high definition images at known methane release sites in the Arctic Ocean north of Norway.  The detailed images will provide new insights into the…

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WHOI Names Mark Abbott President and Director

The Board of Trustees of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) announces that Dr. Mark Abbott has accepted the position of president and director of the institution. Abbott becomes the tenth director in WHOI’s 85-year history. Abbott will assume the office October 1, 2015, succeeding Susan Avery, who served from 2008 to 2015.

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Camera’s Eye Sees Large Numbers of Young Scallops Off Delaware Bay

NOAA researchers and colleagues from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have reported what appears to be a banner year for young sea scallops off the Delmarva Peninsula in mid-Atlantic waters of the U.S. NOAA’s HabCamV4, a towed imaging and sensor platform, has photographed miles of sea bottom packed with as many as 350 sea…

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Accelerated Warming of the Continental Shelf Off Northeast Coast

A new study by physical oceanographers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, shows that water temperatures in this continental shelf region have been trending upward, with unprecedented warming occurring over the last 13 years. The study also suggests a connection between sea level anomalies and water temperature along…

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Making Organic Molecules in Hydrothermal Vents in the Absence of Life

In 2009, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution embarked on a NASA-funded mission to the Mid-Cayman Rise in the Caribbean, in search of a type of deep-sea hot-spring or hydrothermal vent that they believed held clues to the search for life on other planets. They were looking for a site with a venting process that…

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Diverse Corals Persist, But Bioerosion Escalates in Palau’s Low-pH Waters

As the ocean absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) released by the burning of fossil fuels, its chemistry is changing. The CO2 reacts with water molecules, lowering ocean pH in a process known as ocean acidification. This process also removes carbonate ions, an essential ingredient needed by corals and other organisms to build their skeletons and…

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