Op-ed piece written by Mark Abbott, president and director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Chris Scholin, president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
As ocean acidification and climate change become the new reality, scientists wonder what will happen to the distribution and well-being of plants and animals. “Monitoring communities and ecosystems is going to be much easier done by DNA methods,” says Elizabeth Andruszkiewicz Allan, an environmental engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic. “You take one water sample and look for everything from microbes to whales.”
“Every time we deploy REMUS SharkCam, we learn something new about the species we are studying,” said Amy Kukulya, WHOI research engineer and SharkCam principal investigator.
Sarah Das, a glaciologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who’s used ice core records to reconstruct Greenland’s recent melt history, described the 2012 melt event that enveloped nearly the entire ice sheet’s surface as “unprecedented” in the last few centuries, perhaps within the last several thousand years. This summer, she said, “would be up there with  if not eclipsing it.”
A feature story on Carolyn Tepolt, an assistant scientist in the WHOI Biology Department, and her research on the invasive green crab.
An interview with Dan Zitterbart, a WHOI scientist who is testing a new thermal infrared imaging system to detection whales in busy waterways to prevent ship strikes.
“We control how much greenhouse gases we put in atmosphere,” said Sarah Das, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “If we can slow down emissions, we can slow down sea level rise.”
“Trying to understand the big picture on plastic and be able to weave a story together is going to take decades,” said Christopher Reddy, an environmental chemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who was not involved in the study.
To find out what causes these mass strandings of whales, WMNF interviewed Darlene Ketten, a senior research scientist at Boston University and at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Part of her research involves pathologies associated with whale strandings.
The first undersea video recordings of the creatures were made in 1999, and caught a surprise. Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Mass., had set up an undersea observatory in the North Pacific between California and Hawaii. It lay more than three miles down.
WHOI researchers deployed a REMUS 600 AUV to survey a subsea cable system in Buzzards Bay, Mass. The vehicle uses a propeller and fins for steering and diving, and relies on an internal navigation system to independently survey swaths of the ocean.
“The problem has expanded dramatically,” says Don Anderson, director of the U.S. National Office for Harmful Algal Blooms and a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Part of that expansion is due to advances in our understanding of toxic algal species, as well as our grasp on their ecological and economic cost; today, we know a diversity of harmful algae blooms occur in every state and across all seasons.
On the upside, it’s generally safe to swim in the ocean during red tide outbreaks “because you just can’t swallow enough of the algae to be dangerous,” says Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution biologist and algae expert Don Anderson.
Today, the U.S. is a powerhouse of ocean science research and marine engineering, led by organizations such as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, among others. These are the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Ames Research Center, and Goddard Space Flight Center of ocean exploration.
Researchers at MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have found evidence that tuna are spawning in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, covering an area of the central Pacific as large as Argentina.
Forty years ago, a group of climate scientists sat down at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts for the first meeting of the “Ad Hoc Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate.” It led to the preparation of what became known as the Charney Report – the first comprehensive assessment of global climate change due to carbon dioxide.
Entrepreneurs from around the world gathered at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution last week to hear about and discuss marine robotics and autonomous underwater vehicles.
In 1986, the world got its first look at the wreckage of the RMS Titanic resting on the ocean floor as videotape of the British luxury liner, which sank in 1912, was released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Whaling ships’ logs, which contain details like ship location, cloud cover, wind speed and direction, are being used by researchers at UMass Dartmouth and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to give context to climate models for some of the most data-poor regions of the world.
At Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, marine ecologist Amy Apprill and colleagues are scrutinizing the microbiomes of sick corals, as well as sediments and water circulating around the reefs in St. Thomas. Comparing that data with data from Florida corals may uncover similarities between the two outbreaks that can help narrow the list of culprits.
An increase in vessel traffic through the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, Canada is making whales more vulnerable to ship strikes, and researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are testing new technology to detect the presence of the marine mammals.