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News Releases


Mercury in the Global Ocean

Although the days of odd behavior among hat makers are a thing of the past, the dangers mercury poses to humans and the environment persist today. Mercury is a naturally occurring element as well as a by-product of such distinctly human enterprises as burning coal and making cement. Estimates of “bioavailable” mercury—forms of the element…

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DEEPSEA CHALLENGER Travels to NYC for Cameron Film Premiere

The co-star of the James Cameron’s latest film is not your typical Hollywood starlet. She’s 24-feet long, bright green and weighs approximately 11.8 tons. The one-of-a-kind, deep-diving submersible DEEPSEA CHALLENGER will travel from its home at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, on Mon., Aug. 4,…

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Newly Discovered Juvenile Whale Shark Aggregation in Red Sea

Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus)—which grow more than 30 feet long—are the largest fish in the world’s ocean, but little is known about their movements on a daily basis or over years. A newly discovered juvenile whale shark aggregation off Saudi Arabia is giving researchers a rare glimpse into the lives of these gentle giants.

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“Science Made Public” Lecture Series Celebrates Alvin’s 50th Year

This summer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s “Science Made Public” series celebrates the deep-diving submersible Alvin’s 50 years in operation. A venerable giant in deep ocean research, Alvin has logged many accomplishments over the years, from discovering hydrothermal vents to exploring the Titanic.  First launched in 1964, the sub underwent a significant upgrade over the last few…

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James Bellingham Appointed Director of WHOI Center for Marine Robotics

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has appointed James Bellingham as the first director of its Center for Marine Robotics. Bellingham will come to WHOI in early fall 2014 from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), where he was director of engineering and most recently chief technologist. Bellingham earned his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of…

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Tags Reveal Chilean Devil Rays Are Among Ocean’s Deepest Divers

Mainly thought to be surface dwellers, Chilean devil rays (Mobula tarapacana) are most often seen gliding through shallow, warm waters. But a new study by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and international colleagues reveals that these large and majestic creatures are actually among the deepest-diving ocean animals.

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Study Finds Emperor Penguin in Peril

An international team of scientists studying Emperor penguin populations across Antarctica finds the iconic animals in danger of dramatic declines by the end of the century due to climate change. Their study, published today in Nature Climate Change, finds the Emperor penguin “fully deserving of endangered status due to climate change.” The Emperor penguin is…

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Understanding the Ocean’s Role in Greenland Glacier Melt

The Greenland Ice Sheet is a 1.7 million-square-kilometer, 2-mile thick layer of ice that covers Greenland. Its fate is inextricably linked to our global climate system. In the last 40 years, ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet increased four-fold contributing to one-quarter of global sea level rise.  Some of the increased melting at the…

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Climate Change Winners and Losers

The Antarctic Peninsula, the northern most region of Antarctica, is experiencing some of the most dramatic changes due to climate warming, including population declines of some penguin species. This is not the first time that region has felt the effects of climate warming. How did penguins respond to the melting of snow and ice cover…

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How Do Phytoplankton Survive Scarcity of a Critical Nutrient?

Phytoplankton—tiny, photosynthetic organisms—are essential to life on Earth, supplying us with roughly half the oxygen we breathe.  Like all other life forms, phytoplankton require the element phosphorus to carry out critical cellular activity, but in some parts of the world’s ocean, P is in limited supply. How do phytoplankton survive when phosphorus is difficult to…

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Iconic Research Submersible Alvin Turns 50

We know more about the surface of other planets than we do about Earth’s ocean. And what is known about our ocean would not have been possible without the deep-sea submersible Alvin, one of the hardest working, most reliable vehicles for oceanography. Alvin, the iconic research submersible owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by…

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WHOI Scientist Collaborates with Falmouth High School Art Students

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist Dr. Rebecca Gast and Falmouth (Mass.) High School art teacher Jane Baker have teamed up to bring the excitement of polar research to Falmouth art students. Gast met with Baker’s Art Two and Advanced Studio Art students to share not only her knowledge of researching in Antarctica but her…

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Caswell Selected for Mindel C. Sheps Award

Caswell

The Population Association of America (PAA) selected biologist Hal Caswell of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to receive the 2014 Mindel C. Sheps Award for his contributions to mathematical demography. The PAA is the major professional society devoted to the study of human populations. The prestigious honor is awarded to one scientist biennially on…

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Scientists Test Hearing in Bristol Bay Beluga Whale Population

The ocean is an increasingly industrialized space. Shipping, fishing, and recreational vessels, oil and gas exploration and other human activities all increase noise levels in the ocean and make it more difficult for marine mammals to hear and potentially diminish their range of hearing. “Hearing is the main way marine mammals find their way around…

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Robotic Deep-sea Vehicle Lost on Dive to 6-Mile Depth

On Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 2 p.m. local time (10 pm Friday EDT), the hybrid remotely operated vehicle Nereus was confirmed lost at 9,990 meters (6.2 miles) depth in the Kermadec Trench northeast of New Zealand. The unmanned vehicle was working as part of a mission to explore the ocean’s hadal region from 6,000…

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WHOI Awarded Top Rating among Charities

WHOI

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has received the highest rating for sound fiscal management, accountability, and transparency by Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest charity evaluator. WHOI has earned the highest 4-star rating for seven consecutive years, a distinction attained by only 2 percent of all charities rated. “This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Woods…

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Scientific Mission Will Explore One of the Deepest Ocean Trenches

An international team of researchers led by deep-sea biologist Tim Shank of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will use the world’s only full-ocean depth, hybrid remotely operated vehicle, Nereus, and other advanced technology to explore life in the depths of the Kermadec Trench.

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Study Tests Theory that Life Originated at Deep Sea Vents

One of the greatest mysteries facing humans is how life originated on Earth. Scientists have determined approximately when life began (roughly 3.8 billion years ago), but there is still intense debate about exactly how life began. One possibility – that simple metabolic reactions emerged near ancient seafloor hot springs, enabling the leap from a non-living…

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Newly Upgraded Alvin Sub Passes Scientific Sea Trials

Scientists gave the rebuilt Alvin submarine two thumbs up after field-testing the nation’s only human-occupied deep-sea research vehicle for the first time after a major $42-million overhaul that dramatically upgraded the sub’s capabilities. 

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Scientists Identify Core Skin Bacterial Community in Humpback Whales

In a paper published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and colleagues identified a core skin bacterial community that humpback whales share across populations, which could point to a way to assess the overall health of these endangered marine mammals. 

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