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Press Room

Study to Assess Risk Factors of Vessel Collisions with Endangered Northern Right Whales

July 19, 2001

Scientists and engineers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their colleagues will use a new digital recording tag to study and assess the risk factors of vessel collisions with the endangered Northern right whale. Less than 300 of the whales remain.

Contaminated Sediments Topic of Congressional Hearing

July 18, 2001

Associate Director for Education, Dean of Graduate Studies and Senior Scientist John Farrington of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has been invited to testify July 19 before a Congressional committee on strategies to address sediments contaminated with PCBs and other toxic chemicals. The hearing, before the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, will begin at 9:30 a.m. in. in Room 2167 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.

WHOI Scientist to Testify July 12 on the Development and Implementation of Ocean Observing Systems

July 10, 2001

Senior Scientist Robert Weller will testify July 12 before a joint Congressional hearing on ocean exploration and the development and implementation of coastal and ocean observing systems. The hearing will start at 1 p.m. in Room 2318 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Receives U.S. Coast Guard Public Service Commendation

May 4, 2001

Citing assistance with a number of highly visible projects and a productive long-term relationship, RADM George Naccara of the U.S. Coast Guard presented the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) with its Public Service Commendation April 24, 2001, during dockside ceremonies at the Group Woods Hole facility. WHOI Director Robert Gagosian and Associate Director For Marine Operations Richard Pittenger accepted the award on behalf of the Institution.

Colonizing The Deep Sea: WHOI Scientist Helps Find Answers to Hydrothermal Vent Puzzle

May 4, 2001

For nearly 25 years, scientists have wondered how giant red-tipped tubeworms and other exotic marine life found at hydrothermal vents on the deep sea floor get from place to place and how long their larva survive in a cold, eternally dark place. Now Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Biologist Lauren Mullineaux and colleagues have helped answer those questions.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Web Sites Nominated For “The Oscars of the Internet”

May 4, 2001

Two web sites developed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are among the 135 sites nominated in more than two dozen categories for the 5th Annual Webby Awards, called by some A?the Oscars of the Internet.A? The 2001 awards will be presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences July 18 at a ceremony at San FranciscoA?s War Memorial Opera House.

Winter in Antarctica Waters: Biology in the Southern Ocean Focus of New International Research Program and Partnerships

April 27, 2001

As weather warms in New England and we dream of summer days, a team of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists has headed south to the frigid waters around Antarctica for the first of a series of international cruises to study the distribution and behavior of krill – the major food source for most animals in the Southern Ocean. The eight-member WHOI team is using a variety of new technologies including a remotely operated vehicle to study the small shrimp-like crustaceans that form the base of the food chain for whales, penguins, seals and other marine life.

Scientists Release First Images of Hydrothermal Vents Found in the Indian Ocean

April 5, 2001

Scientists exploring a remote area of the central Indian Ocean seafloor two and one-half miles deep have found animals that look like fuzzy snowballs and chimney-like structures two stories tall spewing super-heated water full of toxic metals. The findings, released on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Dive and Discover Web site ( were made at the start of a month-long expedition funded by the National Science Foundation. Images and data from the seafloor may provide critical answers to long standing questions about the diversity of life in the deep sea, how animals move from place to place and how the ocean crust is changing. A Japanese team is reported to have discovered hydrothermal vents in the Indian Ocean last fall, but little information has been publicly available.

Dive and Discover Web Site Puts Classrooms on the Frontier of Ocean Exploration

March 26, 2001

(Woods Hole, MA–3/26/01)A?The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) announces the launch on March 27 of an Internet expedition in the central Indian Ocean called Dive and Discover ( By following the daily activities and progress of the scientific mission, students and teachers in 22 states and Guam will be among the first to know of scientists’ discoveries at the seafloor in one of Earth’s most remote regions.

Dartmouth Resident Honored by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

January 24, 2001

Local resident Gratia R. “Topsy” Montgomery of South Dartmouth was honored recently by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) with its prestigious Cecil H. Green Award. The award, named for Texas Instruments’ founder and philanthropist, Cecil H. Green, is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to oceanographic research at the Institution.

After Three and One-Half-Years, R/V Atlantis and DSV Alvin Return Home December 15, 2000

December 12, 2000

WHAT: Research Vessel ATLANTIS and the Deep-Diving Submersible ALVIN will return home to Woods Hole December 15 after a record three and one-half year voyage of exploration and discovery. The ship and sub left Woods Hole June 2, 1997 for an extended voyage in the Atlantic and Pacific. Since then the ship has made 60 legs or separate cruises on Voyage #3 in the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and South Pacific as far south as Easter Island. ALVIN, which carries three people nearly 15,000 feet into the ocean and is the nationA?s only deep-diving human occupied submersible, made its first dive south of the Equator during the voyage. The sub will be lifted off the ATLANTIS December 19 and begin a scheduled overhaul, which happens every three years, in dock facilities. R/V ATLANTIS will depart Woods Hole December 27 for a Tampa, FL, shipyard for scheduled maintenance before returning to general oceanographic research cruises in early 2001.

Volcanic Activity Discovered at Samoan “Hot Spot”

December 12, 2000

Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Scripps Institution of Oceanography have discovered “strong evidence” for current volcanic activity at the Vailulu’u summit east of Samoa.

WHOI Honored as a Massachusetts Employer of the Year

October 20, 2000

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was honored today by Governor Paul Cellucci as one of 17 employers in the state cited for providing “a wide variety of employment opportunities for workers with disabilities.” The companies honored range from the nation’s largest mutual fund to a family-owned food market and an amusement park. The Institution was nominated for its efforts to help Associate Scientist Amy Bower of the Physical Oceanography Department, who is legally blind.

U.S. Navy to Launch Ship Named for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Scientist

October 17, 2000

It wonA?t be just another ship launching when the USNS MARY SEARS rolls down the ways at the Halter Marine Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, October 19. For the first time in its 225-year history, the Navy is naming one of its research vessels for a woman, Mary Sears. A marine biologist, the late Mary Sears was one of the first staff members at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI ) and a guiding force in its development. She remianed on staff for many years and was a Scientist Emeritus at the time of her death in 1997. A WAVE during World War II, she provided intelligence reports predicting the presence of areas of the ocean where submarines could help escape enemy detection.

Submersible ALVIN to Dive in Gulf of Mexico, Investigate Gas Hydrates and Unusual Marine Life

October 16, 2000

For the first time in eight years, the Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionA?s Research Vessel Atlantis and deep-diving submersible Alvin will spend the next two weeks investigating gas hydrates, a new potential energy resource, and unusual marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists from a number of universities, government agencies and research laboratories are aboard Atlantis for the expedition, which is scheduled to depart Galveston, Texas, today. The cruise will end in Key West, Florida, on October 31. Fourteen dives are planned during the two-week expedition, including a number of dives in previously unexplored deep waters of the Gulf.

Iron Fertilization in Southern Ocean Increased Growth of Algae that Absorb Greenhouse Gases, and Could Cool Climate

October 12, 2000

Scientists who fertilized a small patch of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica in 1999 to determine if the iron would stimulate growth of algae that consume carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, say their results show that iron supply does control algal growth during the summer but that the long-term fate of the carbon remains unknown.

U.S. Postal Service Issues Deep Sea Creatures Stamps

October 2, 2000

Alien life in the deep sea will soon be affixed to first class mail across the nation as the U.S. Postal Service issues five 33-cent commemorative stamps of deep-sea creatures this month. Three of the stamps are based on photographs taken by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Biologist Laurence Madin. The stamps go on sale at post offices nationwide tomorrow. A ceremony is planned at the Woods Hole Post Office at 11 a.m. October 3 to mark the occasion.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Director Applauds Clinton Signing of Oceans Act

August 7, 2000

President Clinton today signed bipartisan legislation establishing a high-level national advisory board to recommend policies to balance ocean ecology and economics by promoting the protection and sustainable use of America?s oceans and coastal resources. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Director Robert Gagosian, a long-time supporter of expanding understanding of how the oceans work and using them wisely, attended the signing ceremony at a U.S. Coast Guard station on Martha?s Vineyard.

WHOI Presents Stommel Medal to California Oceanographer Russ Davis

July 9, 2000

Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego
Sponored by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
In recognition of “his pioneering development of autonomous floats and their use to determine the ocean circulation.”

WHOI to Hold Commencement Exercises June 3

June 2, 2000

For the fourth time in its history, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will hold commencement ceremonies at the Institution. Thirty-three degrees will be awarded June 3, 2000 to students who completed their degree programs in September 1999 and February and June 2000 as part of the InstitutionA?s Joint Graduate Program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.