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News Releases


Deep Sea Floor Mining Is Subject of International Colloquium at WHOI

Scientists, policymakers, environmentalists, and industry representatives will gather next week at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to discuss the issue of mining precious metals from the seafloor. A public colloquium, which will feature keynote addresses from leading voices on the subject and a panel discussion, will be held on Thursday, April 2, from 2 to…

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You Don’t Call, You Don’t Write: Connectivity in Marine Fish Populations

Children of baby boomers aren’t the only ones who have taken to setting up home far from where their parents live. A new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences documents how larval dispersal connects marine fish populations in a network of marine protected areas – information that is…

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Elgar Named National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow

Steve Elgar

Steve Elgar, a senior scientist in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering department, was recently named a 2009 National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow (NSSEFF) by the Department of Defense (DoD). Elgar, who joined the WHOI staff in 1999, is the only oceanographer in the group of eight Fellows,…

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Warming Climate Impacts Base of Food Web in Western Antarctic Peninsula

A paper published this week in Science shows for the first time that the warming climate is changing the numbers and composition of phytoplankton—the base of the food web—along the western shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula. Summertime levels of phytoplankton have decreased by 12 percent over the past 30 years off the Western Antarctic Peninsula,…

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Right whale sedation enables disentanglement effort

On Friday, March 6, 2009, for the first time ever, a North Atlantic right whale that had been severely entangled in fishing gear, was administered a sedation mixture that made it possible for rescuers to remove 90 percent of the entanglement. The rescue involved the efforts of a multi-institutional team including the Woods Hole Oceanographic…

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Airborne pollutants can be toxic to marine algae

A newly published paper by ocean scientists shows that airborne particles off the continents can have deadly effect on some marine phytoplankton. The findings, published in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the week of March 9, 2009, have implications for atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and climate.…

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WHOI and RTDC Announce Technology Transfer Partnership

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Regional Technology Development Corp. (RTDC) of Cape Cod announced jointly today the signing of a technology transfer and entrepreneurial services agreement designed to accelerate the transfer of WHOI technology innovations to the marketplace. The alliance is a unique outsourcing arrangement intended to immediately and cost-effectively enhance licensing…

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Carbon Acts Like Rustoleum Around Hydrothermal Vents

The cycling of iron throughout the oceans has been an area of intense research for the last two decades. Oceanographers have spent a lot of time studying what has been affectionately labeled the Geritol effect ever since discovering that the lack of iron is a reason why phytoplankton grow lackadaisically in some of the most…

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Phytoplankton Cell Membranes Challenge Fundamentals of Biochemistry

Get ready to send the biology textbooks back to the printer. In a new paper published in Nature, Benjamin Van Mooy, a geochemist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and his colleagues report that microscopic plants growing in the Sargasso Sea have come up with a completely unexpected way of building their cells. Until…

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Emperor Penguins March toward Extinction?

Popularized by the 2005 movie “March of the Penguins,” emperor penguins could be headed toward extinction in at least part of their range before the end of the century, according to a paper by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers published January 26, 2009, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United…

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Danube Delta Holds Answers to Noah’s Flood Debate

Did a catastrophic flood of biblical proportions drown the shores of the Black Sea 9,500 years ago, wiping out early Neolithic settlements around its perimeter? A geologist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and two Romanian colleagues report in the January issue of Quaternary Science Reviews that, if the flood occurred at all, it…

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Bacterial Pathogens and Rising Temperatures Threaten Coral Health

Coral reefs around the world are in serious trouble from pollution, over-fishing, climate change and more. The last thing they need is an infection. But that’s exactly what yellow band disease (YBD) is—a bacterial infection that sickens coral colonies. Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and colleagues have found that YBD seems to…

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Media Advisory: Turtle Skulls Prove to be Shock-Resistant

Scientists and engineers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the U.S. Navy have discovered that sea turtles’ skulls and shells not only protect them from predators but also from extraordinarily powerful underwater shockwaves. The research, originally intended to help the Navy avoid harming turtles, could also point the way to designing improved body armor…

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Study links swings in North Atlantic Oscillation variability to climate warming

Using a 218-year-long temperature record from a Bermuda brain coral, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have created the first marine-based reconstruction showing the long-term behavior of one of the most important drivers of climate fluctuations in the North Atlantic. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is a wide-ranging pressure seesaw that drives winter…

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WHOI Physical Oceanographer Joe Pedlosky to Present Haurwitz Lecture at American Meteorological Society Meeting

Joseph Pedlosky, a physical oceanographer with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been awarded the Bernhard Haurwitz Memorial Lectureship at the American Metrological Society’s 89th Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on January 14, 2009. Bernhard Haurwitz Memorial Lecturer is selected in recognition of significant contributions to the understanding of atmospheric and oceanic fluid dynamics, the…

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Surprising Return of North Atlantic Circulation Pump

One of the “pumps” contributing to the ocean’s global circulation suddenly switched on again last winter for the first time this decade, scientists reported Tuesday (Dec. 23) in Nature Geoscience. The finding surprised scientists, who had been wondering if global warming was  inhibiting the pump—which, in turn, would cause other far-reaching climate changes. The “pump”…

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Partnership Provides Autonomous Vehicles to Enable New Era of Deep Sea Research

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has partnered with the Waitt Institute for Discovery to make deep-sea exploration technology and a world-class operations group broadly available for the oceanographic community. The collaboration, called the CATALYST Program, features the Waitt Institute’s two newly-built Hydroid REMUS 6000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), which can explore depths of up…

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Cold Water Corals Conference to be Held in Woods Hole

On October 24, 2008, scientists from North America and Europe will meet at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to develop the first coherent plan for studying and conserving cold-water corals in the Atlantic Ocean. The plan will lay the foundations for an international research program beginning 2010. As part of the Trans-Atlantic Coral Ecosystem…

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Study Reveals Microbes Dine on Thousands of Compounds in Oil

Thousands of feet below the bottom of the sea, off the shores of Santa Barbara, CA, single-celled organisms are busy feasting on oil. Until now, nobody knew how many oily compounds were being devoured by the microscopic creatures, but new research led by David Valentine of University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Chris…

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New Marine Mammal Center Formed at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has announced the formation of a new center for marine mammal research and conservation studies. The center combines scientific expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, and technological innovations to address both basic questions about marine mammal behavior, physiology and health as well as potential effects of human activities on marine mammals and…

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May 2008 Earthquake in China Could Be Followed by Another Significant Rupture

Researchers analyzing the May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China?s Sichuan province have found that geological stress has significantly increased on three major fault systems in the region. The magnitude 7.9 quake on May 12 has brought several nearby faults closer to failure and could trigger another major earthquake in the region.

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James R. Luyten Named Director of Red Sea Science and Engineering Research Center

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) today announced that Dr. James R. Luyten, one of the world’s most respected and accomplished oceanographic researchers, will become Director of the University’s Red Sea Science and Engineering Research Center (RSSERC).  He will assume his responsibilities at the Center this month. Dr. Luyten, 66, is currently the…

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