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News Releases


WHOI Scientists and Engineers Explore “Lost City” in the Atlantic

Biologist Tim Shank of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is “at sea” once again studying marine life at the bottom of the ocean, but this time it is via television monitors in real time from the comfort of a shore-based facility thousands of miles away.  Shank and most of the researchers investigating the Lost…

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Astrobiology Exhibit Visits Woods Hole this Summer

Life on Earth and in the universe is the theme of a traveling exhibit on astrobiology at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Exhibit Center during July and August. The interactive exhibit focuses on clues for understanding how life evolved and its possible existence elsewhere in the universe by understanding present life here on Earth.…

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Endangered North Atlantic Right Whale Study Says Population in Crisis

Ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are threatening the survival of the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered whales with an estimated population of about 350.  With eight recorded deaths in the past 16 months and a population growth rate that has declined since 1980, scientists say that unless emergency management…

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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Celebrates 75th Anniversary in 2005

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is celebrating 75 years of ocean research, education and exploration in 2005 with a series of activities this summer and fall, ranging from an “unboat” regatta, public open house and science symposium, to publication of a book on the Institution’s history. Founded in 1930 to help advance the role…

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2005 New England Red Tide Media Briefings July 14

Contacts: WHOI:  Shelley Dawicki 508-289-2270   or 508-566-7017 (mobile) NOAA:  Ben Sherman 202-253-5256 (mobile) WHAT: Spring 2005 brought the worst “bloom” of the toxic alga Alexandrium fundyense since a massive outbreak occurred in 1972 in the New England region. Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution…

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A Natural Petroleum Spring

Bubbles stream from vents surrounding misshapen cones formed by thick liquid oozing from the sea floor. It may sound like a hydrothermal vent field near a mid-ocean ridge, but these vents are located in shallow water, only a kilometer (about a half mile) off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. This isn’t the usual volcanic…

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The Internal Weather of the Sea

Currents, fronts and eddies, often called the internal weather of the sea, are major components of ocean circulation and can change the chemical and biological environment in the ocean. Four cruises are being conducted as part of the Eddy Dynamics, Mixing, Export and Species composition (EDDIES) project to quantify the impacts of eddies and mixing…

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Life in Extreme Environments

Scientists have long known of organisms adapted to environments that appear inhosptable to any form of life, living in the 600-700??F waters of hydrothermal vents on the sea fl oor, in pitchdark mine shafts a mile below ground, or clinging to the frigid underside of polar ice sheets. But now, WHOI researchers have been surprised…

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Marine Task Force to Develop National Standards for Ocean Aquaculture Announced

Additional Contact: Justin Kenney The Pew Charitable Trusts 215-575-4816, jkenney@pewtrusts.org (Washington, D.C.) The Pew Charitable Trusts, in collaboration with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), announces the establishment of the Marine Aquaculture Task Force—comprising leaders from the worlds of science, industry, conservation and government—to develop national aquaculture standards to guide future development of our oceans.…

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How Much Excess Fresh Water Was Added to the North Atlantic in Recent Decades?

Large regions of the North Atlantic Ocean have been growing fresher since the late 1960s as melting glaciers and increased precipitation, both associated with greenhouse warming, have enhanced continental runoff into the Arctic and sub-Arctic seas.  Over the same time period, salinity records show that large pulses of extra sea ice and fresh water from…

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Scientists Map Ocean Floor Near Palmer Station in Antarctica

Using inflatable boats, a portable depth sounder with GPS, and a REMUS autonomous underwater vehicle, a team of scientists and engineers has created the first detailed, comprehensive chart of the ocean floor around Palmer Station in Antarctica, revealing previously unknown submerged rocks. The new chart, the first in 50 years, was made by a research…

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Blooms of a Different Sort

Commonly called “red tides,” harmful algal blooms, or HABs, are an abundance or “bloom” of single-celled marine algae called phytoplankton that grow and multiply under the right conditions. Among the thousands of phytoplankton species, most are harmless and only a few dozen are known to be toxic. Coastal waters around the world have experienced an…

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Hurricanes and the Coastal Zone

With hurricane season arriving June 1, along with predictions of an above normal number of major storms in the Atlantic and Gulf States, understanding how the ocean and atmospheric interact and what role changing climate has on the formation of hurricanes is critical. The 2004 hurricane season resulted in many deaths and tremendous destruction in…

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What is That in the Water?

As summer vacations approach, beachgoers might want to bring along a guide to what they and their children will see on the beach and in the water. WHOI scientists and educators have created Beachcomber’s Companion for adventures at the beach. It is an easy-to-use guide to common Atlantic coast marine invertebrates containing a set of…

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G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation Honored by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution recently honored The G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation of New York with the prestigious Cecil H. Green Award.  The award, named for Texas Instruments’ founder and philanthropist Cecil H. Green, is presented to those who have made outstanding contributions to oceanographic research at the Institution. “The Vetlesen Foundation has been engaged in…

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WHOI Scientists Monitor Largest Red Tide Outbreak in 12 Years in Massachusetts Bay

With shellfish beds from Maine to the Cape Cod coast closed from the largest outbreak of red tide in 12 years in Massachusetts Bay, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are studying the algae that causes these “red tides” and providing information to coastal managers using new molecular techniques and oceanographic models. After…

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New Underwater Volcano Found Near Samoa

An international  team of scientists, led by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of Oregon and University of Sydney, has discovered an active underwater volcano near the Samoan Island chain about 2,400 miles southwest of Hawaii. During a research cruise to study the Samoan hot spot, scientists uncovered a…

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Scientists Find Unusual Use of Metals in the Ocean

Cadmium, commonly considered a toxic metal and often used in combination with nickel in batteries, has been found to have a biological use as a nutrient in the ocean, the first known biological use of cadmium in any life form. Scientists have discovered cadmium within an enzyme from a marine diatom, an algae or plankton…

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WHOI Scientist Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Senior Scientist Stanley Hart of the Geology and Geophysics Department was recently elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest learned societies in the nation. Dr. Hart is among the 196 Fellows and 17 Foreign Honorary Members elected to the 225th Class, which…

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Diving to the Rosebud Vents – Galápagos Rift

In 2002, researchers diving in the submersible Alvin returned to the Galápagos Rift, a mid-ocean ridge about 250 miles from the Galápagos Islands in the eastern Pacific Ocean where hydrothermal vents and exotic organisms were first found in 1977. They discovered that seafloor lava had paved over a hydrothermal vent site called Rose Garden, named…

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Tiny Computer Tag Provides Insight to Reclusive Beaked Whales

A miniature computer weighing less than 5 ounces attached to the backs of beaked whales with suction cups is providing new clues to the behavior and sounds made by the deep-diving reclusive species. Little is known about these mid-sized toothed whales except that they have been involved in a number of mass strandings in recent…

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Exploring the Seas from Top to Bottom

WHOI research vessels are exploring the oceans this spring from Bermuda to the Bay of Fundy in the North Atlantic and from Mexico to the Galápagos Islands in the eastern Pacific, conducting studies related to climate change, harmful algal blooms, exotic marine life on the sea floor and the formation of the earth’s crust. Research…

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Salty Staircase in the Atlantic Provides Clues to Ocean Mixing

Layers of salty ocean water mix with layers of fresher water, creating a salty staircase or layering driven by small-scale convection known as salt fingers.  Although scientists have known about salt fingers since 1960, when they were discovered at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, they have not understood their role in ocean mixing and the…

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Sea Squirt Invasion: Scientists Gather at WHOI for First International Conference

Scientists, natural resource managers and students from four continents will gather at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) April 21 and 22 to discuss a growing global problem: the sea squirt. The mysterious filter feeding organism, a didemnid also known as an ascidian or tunicate because its body is covered by a tough “tunic”, first…

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