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Environmental Fluid Mechanics

Environmental fluid mechanics focuses on ocean circulation and the physical processes driving waves and currents. Fluid and sediment transport, gas transfer, and wave dynamics are investigated to further our knowledge of ocean physics, erosion, and global climate.

Observing Systems & Sensors

Observatories are becoming more popular for continuous, long-term monitoring of ocean and meteorological processes. These observation systems are stable platforms from which a variety of data such as water temperature, wave height, wind and current speed is collected and fed back to scientists for analysis.

Ocean Acoustics

Whether the objective is to map the ocean floor or determine the location of marine life, acoustics allows scientists to investigate large areas of the ocean or examine intricate water column properties.

Vehicles & Submarines

AOPE’s underwater vehicles and submarines allow the exploration of the ocean depths and vast regions of the seafloor that, until recently, had been relatively unknown. They contribute to ongoing investigations of hydrothermal vents, seafloor ridges, and trenches while allowing up-close study of ocean life and processes.

Engineering Services

AOPE engineers provide a range of services to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution community, including at-sea support and the development of oceanographic instrumentation.

Mooring Operations

The Mooring Operations, Engineering and Field Support Group offers shore-side and at-sea support. With more than 125 years of collective sea-going experience, this support group possesses expertise in all aspects of innovative mooring design, fabrication, cruise planning and logistics, and supervision of deck operations.

Advanced Engineering Laboratory

Engineers and scientists work together to develop oceanographic and meteorological instrumentation to monitor ocean and climate processes.

Deep Submergence Laboratory

Engineers develop systems for remote, manned and unmanned exploration of the undersea world of hydrothermal vents, ocean ridges and ranges, and unique marine species.


Marine robots live in a communication starved environment where autonomy is an absolute requirement for their deployment. WHOI's Autonomous Robotics and Perception Laboratory (WARPLab) is interested in algorithmic and machine learning challenges in making autonomous exploration robots that can perceive and understand their surroundings in order to plan their missions.

Alvin Operations

The Alvin Operations group is responsible for the upkeep and general maintenance of the U.S. Navy-owned Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Alvin.