News Releases


Study Finds Link Between River Outflow and Coastal Sea Level

Study Finds Link Between River Outflow and Coastal Sea Level

Sea levels in coastal areas can be affected by a number of factors: tides, winds, waves, and even barometric pressure all play a role in the ebb and flow of the ocean. For the first time, however, a new study led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has shown that river outflow could play a role in sea level change as well.

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Following the Fresh Water

Following the Fresh Water

A research team led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the fingerprint of a massive flood of fresh water in the western Arctic, thought to be the cause of an ancient cold snap that began around 13,000 years ago.

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Hearing Tests on Wild Whales

Hearing Tests on Wild Whales

Scientists published the first hearing tests on a wild population of healthy marine mammals. The tests on beluga whales in Bristol Bay, AK, revealed that the whales have sensitive auditory systems and showed less age-related hearing loss than is expected.

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Geologic History of Ayeyawady River Delta Mapped for the First Time

Geologic History of Ayeyawady River Delta Mapped for the First Time

The Ayeyawady River delta in Myanmar is home to millions of people, and is a hub of agricultural activity. Unlike other large rivers across the world, however, the Ayeyawady has been relatively untouched by large infrastructure and dam projects for the past 50 years, and its geologic evolution has never previously been studied.

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Fueling a Deep-Sea Ecosystem

Fueling a Deep-Sea Ecosystem

Miles beneath the ocean surface in the dark abyss, vast communities of subseafloor microbes at deep-sea hot springs are converting chemicals into energy that allows deep-sea life to survive, and even thrive, in a world without sunlight. Until now, however, measuring the productivity of subseafloor microbe communities (or how fast they oxidize chemicals and the amount of carbon they produce) has been nearly impossible.

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New Details on Discovery of San Jose Shipwreck

New Details on Discovery of San Jose Shipwreck

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) recently obtained authorization by Maritime Archaeology Consultants, Switzerland AG (MAC), and the Colombian government to release new details from the successful search for the three-century old San José 62-gun, three-masted Spanish galleon ship that sank with a cargo believed to be worth billions of dollars. The ship, which is often called the ‘œholy grail of shipwrecks,’ went down with a treasure of gold, silver, and emeralds in 1708 during a battle with British ships in the War of Spanish Succession.

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How Do Marine Mammals Avoid the Bends?

How Do Marine Mammals Avoid the Bends?

Deep-diving whales and other marine mammals can get the bends – ”the same painful and potentially life-threatening decompression sickness that strikes scuba divers who surface too quickly. A new study offers a hypothesis of how marine mammals generally avoid getting the bends and how they can succumb under stressful conditions.

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Sunlight Reduces Effectiveness of Dispersants Used in Oil Spills

Sunlight Reduces Effectiveness of Dispersants Used in Oil Spills

A research team led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that sunlight chemically alters crude oil floating on the sea surface within hours or days. In a follow-up study the team reported that sunlight changes oil into different compounds that dispersants cannot easily break up. The results of these two studies could affect how responders decide when, where, and how to use dispersants.

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Mountain Erosion May Add Carbon Dioxide to Atmosphere

Mountain Erosion May Add Carbon Dioxide to Atmosphere

Scientists have long known that steep mountain ranges can draw carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere as erosion exposes new rock, it also starts a chemical reaction between minerals on hill slopes and CO2 in the air, weathering the rock and using CO2 to produce carbonate minerals like calcite.

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WHOI Among First Funding Recipients of The Audacious Project

WHOI Among First Funding Recipients of The Audacious Project

What if we explored the ocean’s vast twilight zone, teeming with undiscovered life? Today, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) was awarded $35 million – ”the largest philanthropic gift in the Institution’s history – ”to do just that. The award comes from The Audacious Project, a bold new philanthropic collaboration housed at TED to fund critical ideas that have potential to create massive, global change.

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Atlantic Ocean Circulation at Weakest Point in 1,600 years

Atlantic Ocean Circulation at Weakest Point in 1,600 years

Atlantic Ocean Circulation at Weakest Point in More Than 1500 years New research led by University College London (UCL) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) provides evidence that a key cog in the global ocean circulation system hasn’t been running at peak strength since the mid-1800s and is currently at its weakest point in the past 1,600 years. If the system continues to weaken, it could disrupt weather patterns from the United States and Europe to the African Sahel, and cause more rapid increase in sea level on the U.S. East Coast.

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Penguins Go Through the Flow

Penguins Go Through the Flow

Colonies of breeding king penguins behave much like particles in liquids do, according to new study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and international colleagues. This “liquid ” organization and structure enables breeding colonies to protect themselves against predators while also keeping members together.

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Human-Engineered Changes on Mississippi River Increased Extreme Floods

Human-Engineered Changes on Mississippi River Increased Extreme Floods

Over the last century, many of the world’s major rivers have been modified for the purposes of flood control, power generation, and commercial navigation. A new study out of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution suggests that engineering modifications to the Mississippi River interact with the have increased the risk of extreme floods to unprecedented levels.

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Where Fresh is Cool in Bay of Bengal

Where Fresh is Cool in Bay of Bengal

Each summer, the South Asian monsoon transforms parts of India from semi-arid into lush green lands able to support farming. The annual infusion of rainfall and resulting runoff into the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and other rivers in the region also has a very different, but no less dramatic, impact on the Bay of Bengal in the northeast Indian Ocean.

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Rare Find from the Deep Sea

Rare Find from the Deep Sea

For the first time ever, a team of international researchers were given the rare opportunity to observe and film a dumbo octopus – ”measuring just a few centimeters – ”hatching from its egg during an expedition to explore a chain of underwater mountains off the U.S. East Coast in 2005. Their findings were published Feb. 19, 2018, in the journal Current Biology.

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Monitoring Bacteria on Whale Skin

Monitoring Bacteria on Whale Skin

Just like with humans, the skin on marine mammals serves as an important line of defense against pathogens in their environment. A new study sheds light on the skin microbiome – ”a group of microorganisms that live on skin – ”in healthy humpback whales, which could aid in future efforts to monitor their health.

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