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News Releases


Island Ferries Take on Role of Research Vessels Collecting Data about Nantucket Sound

Ferries that connect Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are taking on another role – research vessels. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist Scott Gallager and colleagues have installed a package of sensors on the 235-foot freight ferry Katama to measure water quality and to photograph plankton as the ferry crisscrosses…

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Natural Petroleum Seeps Offer Clues to the Past and the Future

Just a half mile off California’s coast near Santa Barbara, and in coastal areas around the world, natural petroleum seeps are releasing an astonishing amount of methane gas and oil into the environment each year—much more than accidental oil spills and runoff from roads on a worldwide basis. At the Santa Barbara seeps, about 5,000…

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A First Responder on the Ocean Floor

The Towed Digital Camera and Multi-Rock Coring System, or TowCam, was developed by scientists and engineers at WHOI to meet the U.S. oceanographic community’s need for an imaging and sampling system with both routine and rapid-response capabilities.  TowCam was recenly deployed in the Eastern Pacific Ocean to confirm that new lava flows had erupted on…

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Undersea Vehicles to Study Formation of Gold and Other Precious Metals On the Pacific Ocean Floor

An international team of scientists will explore the seafloor near Papua New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean later this month with remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles, investigating active and inactive hydrothermal vents and the formation of mineral deposits containing copper, gold and other commercially valuable minerals. The cruise is a joint expedition between…

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Woods Hole Engineering Team from Titanic Discovery to be Honored

the hull o fthe Titanic

The underwater research vehicle Jason Jr., which gained international attention for its exploration inside the wreck of the R.M.S. Titanic in July 1986, and its engineering team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will be honored July 14 with the 2006 GlobalSpec Great Moments in Engineering award. The honor comes on the 20th anniversary of…

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Study Looks at Ways to Sustain Lobster Fishery

In the world of the lobster fishery, less may indeed be more. A new study may give hope to lobstermen struggling with declining lobster stocks, suggesting new ways that might improve the sustainability of the New England lobster fishery and reduce the risk of entangling whales and other marine life in lobster trap gear. Research…

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A New Era in Observing the Ocean

Marine scientists have their fingers crossed that a long-planned Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) will make it through the federal budget process this summer and fall and become a reality. OOI, supported by the National Science Foundation, will enable the ocean sciences research community to work together to create a permanent presence in the ocean via…

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Silent Stingers

Summer brings millions to the beach, and among the creatures often found in coastal waters are jellyfish. One of the most beautiful but potentially dangerous is Physalia physalis, commonly known as the Portuguese man-of-war, or bluebottle in the southern hemisphere. Normally found in warm waters worldwide, the creature has been found as far north this…

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Arctic Adventure: Following Bowhead Whales

WHOI scientists will be working on the continental shelf near Barrow, Alaska from mid-August to mid-September, trying to determine the oceanographic conditions that make this region a favorable feeding environment for bowhead whales during their annual migration from the Canadian Arctic south to the northern Bering Sea.  The recurrence of bowhead whales near Barrow and…

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Caribbean Corals and Climate Change

Climate scientists are finding interesting clues to ancient climates in the corals of Honduras.  During a trip earlier this month, they drilled cores from Montastrea (star corals) and Diploria (brain corals), several as long as 1.6 meters (more than five feet) and possibly 200-250 years old.  Back in the lab in Woods Hole,  the researchers…

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Archaeology in the Aegean

An international team of scientists and engineers embarked on the Greek research vessel Aegaeo June 25 for a ten-day survey in local waters.  Project PHAEDRA, for Partnership for Hellenic-American Exploration in the Deep Regions of the Aegean, will pursue three areas of inquiry: archaeology in deep water, deep submergence technology development, and oceanographic science. Using…

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Hurricane Historians

With another hurricane season in full swing and a prediction for a high number of major storms, WHOI geologists are seeking clues from past hurricanes to learn more about the future.  Intense hurricanes, those category 3 or higher, are relatively rare in New England, striking generally one or twice a century because the cooler sea…

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A Whale Trail

Three marine research laboratories in Woods Hole have teamed up to sponsor a six-foot right whale sculpture,  one of more than 50 whale sculptures that are part of this summer’s Whale Trail, a free public art event on Cape Cod and the Islands. The Whale Trail will raise money for non-profit organizations while showcasing local…

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Underwater Microscope Finds Biological Treasures in the Subtropical Ocean

Scientists towing an underwater digital microscope across the Atlantic have found possible missing links to the global nitrogen cycle, which in turn is linked to ocean productivity. In a recent report in the journal Science, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found abundant colonies of Trichodesmium. The multi-celled, filamentous organism is thought to…

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WHOI Director Steps Down After 12 Years

Robert B. Gagosian announced today that he would step down as president and director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), a position he has held since 1994. Citing interests to advocate for the importance of ocean science at the national and international levels, and fulfillment of a seven-year strategic plan for the institution, Gagosian noted…

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Sperm Whale Lingo: Clicks and Buzzes Lead to Prey

Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland used digital tags (D-tags) attached with suction cups to the backs of sperm whales to record the sounds the whales made as they dive looking for food. The world’s largest deep-diving toothed whale, sperm whales feed mainly on squid, but…

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Humans, Mammoths and Horses: The Case of the Fossil Record

Were prehistoric horses extinct before humans arrived in Alaska, or were they hunted to extinction by humans?  In a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from WHOI and the United Kingdom applied a statistical method to the existing fossil record data to shed light on the late Pleistocene extinctions…

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Smoke and Sulfur: Undersea Vehicle Captures Footage of Volcanic Eruption

Dramatic new video of a long-term volcanic eruption in the western Pacific first discovered in 2004 has been captured during a recent cruise by the remotely operated vehicle JASON, developed and operated by WHOI’s Deep Submergence Laboratory. The ROV, capable of reaching depths to 6,500 meters (21,385 feet), is part of the U.S. National Deep…

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Ocean Technology Meets Business Needs

Marine scientists and engineers will brief investors, business development executives, commercialization partners and economic development leaders May 24 at a conference at WHOI aimed at showcasing marine technologies and concepts ready for commercialization or licensing.  Among the topics: maritime surveillance and homeland security, deep water sensors, networks and communications.

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Barcoding Biota: The CMarZ Cruise Finds New Species In the Ocean Depths

Trying to figure out what tiny creatures live in the ocean is no easy task, but thanks to technology, patience and hard work, scientists have explored a section of the tropical Atlantic between the U.S. east coast and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and found many new species in depths to 5,000 meters (more than 15,000 feet).…

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REMUS and the Coral Reefs

WHOI biologists and physical oceanographers joined forces in May to study the effect of ocean currents on fish larvae spawned on coral reefs in Belize. Collaboration for the pilot project included the use of an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) named REMUS, developed at WHOI, to take images and collect environmental data on the reefs.  Similar…

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Linking Climate Change Across Time Scales

What do month-to-month changes in temperature have to do with century-to-century changes in temperature?  At first it might seem like not much.  But in a report published in this week’s Nature, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have found some unifying themes in the global variations of temperature at time scales ranging from…

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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Launches On-Line Image Library

The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is increasingly true in today’s world as images are used throughout society to entertain, inform and educate. Locating just the right image can be difficult, but thanks to new technology, that job has gotten easier at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), which has millions of surface…

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