Ocean Life


Emperor Penguins’ First Journey to Sea

Emperor Penguins' First Journey to Sea

The paper, published Jan. 17, 2019, in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, also highlights the unique connection between juvenile diving behaviors and a layer of the ocean, known as the thermocline, where warmer surface waters meet cooler deep waters below and where their prey likely gather in groups.

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Groups of Pilot Whales Have Their Own Dialects

Groups of Pilot Whales Have Their Own Dialects

In humans, different social groups, cities, or regions often have distinct accents and dialects. Those vocal traits are not unique to us, however. A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has found that short-finned pilot whales living off the coast of Hawai’i have their own sorts of vocal dialects, a discovery that may help researchers understand the whales’ complex social structure.

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Junk Food

Junk Food

An estimated eight million tons of plastics enter our oceans each year, yet only one percent can be seen floating…

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Coral Larvae Use Sound to Find a Home on the Reef

Coral Larvae Use Sound to Find a Home on the Reef

Choosing a place to call home is one of the most consequential choices a coral can make. In the animal’s larval stage, it floats freely in the ocean, but once it settles down, it anchors itself permanently to the rocky substrate of a reef, and remains stuck there for the rest of its life. Exactly how these larvae choose a specific place to live, however, is largely unclear.

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Flounder Now Tumor-free in Boston Harbor

Flounder Now Tumor-free in Boston Harbor

In the late 1980s, more than three-quarters of the winter flounder caught in Boston Harbor – ”one of the most polluted harbors in America – ”showed signs of liver disease, many of them with cancerous tumors. But now, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has documented a dramatic rebound in flounder health spurred by decades of remediation efforts, including a $3.8 billion project to construct a sewage treatment plant and a 9.5-mile discharge tunnel with a 6,600-foot-long outfall diffuser. The findings appear in the Nov. 20, 2018 issue of the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.

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The Secret Tuna Nursery

The Secret Tuna Nursery

WHOI biologists and physical oceanographers combine expertise to reveal a place in the ocean where some tuna are born.

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How Do Corals Build Their Skeletons?

How Do Corals Build Their Skeletons?

WHOI scientists discovered precisely how ocean acidification affects coral skeletons’ a factor that will help scientists predict how corals throughout the world will fare as the oceans become more acidic.

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Study Tracks Severe Bleaching Events on a Pacific Coral Reef Over Past Century

Study Tracks Severe Bleaching Events on a Pacific Coral Reef Over Past Century

As climate change causes ocean temperatures to rise, coral reefs worldwide are experiencing mass bleaching events and die-offs. For many, this is their first encounter with extreme heat. However for some reefs in the central Pacific, heatwaves caused by El Nino are a way of life. Exactly how these reefs deal with repeated episodes of extreme heat has been unclear. A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has uncovered the history of bleaching on a reef in the epicenter of El Nino, revealing how some corals have been able to return after facing extreme conditions. The study was published October 26, 2018, in the journal Communications Biology.

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First Time Out

First Time Out

Postdoctoral investigator Eyal Wurgaft, research assistant Kate Morkeski, and MIT-WHOI Joint Program graduate student Mallory Ringham (left to right) lower…

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Sounds of the Reef

Sounds of the Reef

Engineer Rod Catanach sets up a four-channel acoustic recorder to measure coral reef soundscapes—a combination of biological and non-biological sounds…

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Bleached Corals

Bleached Corals

Hanny Rivera, a graduate student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, takes a tissue sample from a bleached coral. When ocean…

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Searching for ‘Super Reefs’

Searching for ‘Super Reefs’

Some corals are less vulnerable to ocean acidification. Can the offspring from these more resilient corals travel to other reefs to help sustain more vulnerable coral populations there?

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Looking for Resilience

Looking for Resilience

WHOI coral scientists Anne Cohen and Pat Lohmann extract core samples from a coral during a recent cruise to Kiritimati…

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The Unseen World on Coral Reefs

The Unseen World on Coral Reefs

We have learned that microbial communities on and within us—a microbiome—keep people healthy. Corals reefs also have their own microbiomes that they couldn’t function without.

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Canyon Explorers

Canyon Explorers

Yesterday, on the second anniversary of the founding of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, WHOI deep-sea biologist Tim…

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Welcome, Alucia

Welcome, Alucia

The research vessel Alucia arrived in Woods Hole, Mass., for the first time on Saturday, August 25. The ship was…

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The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

Harmful algal blooms can produce toxins that accumulate in shellfish and cause health problems and economic losses. They have increased in strength and frequency worldwide. Can we get advance warnings of when and where they will occur?

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