Research Highlights

News & Insights

Robin Littlefield

Exploration Enabler: Robin Littlefield

November 13, 2019

This WHOI engineer discusses his passion for robots, the ocean, and adventure By Evan Lubofsky | November 12, 2019 For Robin Littlefield (pictured here) science needs a helping hand to get to the ocean floor – and that hand is...

The “sub” text of 45 years at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

October 30, 2019

Rick Chandler has made a career out of managing submersible operations at WHOI By Daniel Hentz | October 29, 2019 Rick Chandler, one of WHOI’s longest-serving employees, oversees support for the Alvin Group. (Photo by Daniel Hentz, Woods Hole Oceanographic...

Flight of the underwater falcon

October 24, 2019

How a remotely operated vehicle made by Saab is lending a watchful eye to scientific mooring operations By Daniel Hentz | October 23, 2019 WHOI Engineer Jared Schwartz pilots the remotely operated vehicle, Seaeye Falcon to investigate an unrecovered mooring...

The hive mind behind a swarm of submersibles

October 16, 2019

Erin Fischell explains her new vision for underwater science October 16, 2019 Erin Fischell readies an AUV a test mission at Ashumet Pond. Photo by Thomas N. Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution The vastness of our oceans demands extensive study...

orpheus

The Rise of Orpheus (Part 2)

October 16, 2019

WHOI’s new hadal robot moves one step closer to exploring the limits of life on Earth and beyond By Evan Lubofsky | October 15, 2019 Orpheus, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is recovered off the New England continental shelf during...

Erin Fischell tests a new autonomous underwater vehicle

Erin Fischell wins Moore Inventor Fellowship

October 15, 2019

Erin Fischell tests a new autonomous underwater vehicle at Ashumet Pond in Massachusetts. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Erin Fischell, an assistant scientist in Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been awarded...

Sloan's viperfish (Chauliodus sloani)

The Ocean’s Eerie Twilight Zone is in Murky Legal Water

September 10, 2019

Rapid Response at Sea

September 6, 2019

Long-endurance robots tested for oil detection in the event of a spill in the Arctic By Evan Lubofsky | September 18, 2019 Ocean engineers are developing undersea vehicles that are capable of tracking oil spills under the ice in the...

Robot Swarm

Underwater robots swarm the ocean

August 22, 2019

Researchers tackle a big problem for tiny ocean robots By Evan Lubofsky | August 21, 2019 (Illustration by Tim Silva, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Underwater robots do a lot these days. They can be programmed to go to remote, dangerous,...

Once more into the Twilight Zone

August 1, 2019

On July 25, scientists embarked on the 2019 Ocean Twilight Zone expedition aboard NOAA Ship  Henry B. Bigelow. A team made up of WHOI and NOAA Fisheries researchers departed Newport, R.I., Thursday morning and headed south towards the edge of...

Oceanus Magazine

The Deep-See Peers into the Depths

The Deep-See Peers into the Depths

February 20, 2019

In the ocean’s shadowy depths lies one of the Earth’s last frontiers: the ocean twilight zone. It’s a vast swath of water extending throughout the world’s oceans from 650 to 3,280 feet (200 to 1,000 meters) below the surface, and...

Coding Curiosity

Coding Curiosity

January 16, 2019
Warping Sound in the Ocean

Warping Sound in the Ocean

November 28, 2018

Star Trek fans would tell you that it is possible to travel faster than the speed of light using spatio-temporal warping. Honorable scientists would say that’s science fiction. However, some scientists like me have not discarded the ideas of spatio-temporal...

Life at the Edge

August 14, 2018

What makes the shelf break front such a productive and diverse part of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean? To find out, a group of scientists on the research vessel Neil Armstrong spent two weeks at sea in 2018 as part of...

The Discovery of Hydrothermal Vents

The Discovery of Hydrothermal Vents

June 11, 2018

“Wait a minute. What is that?” It was February 1977, and Robert Ballard, a marine geologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), sat aboard the research vessel Knorr 400 miles off the South American coast, staring at photos before him....

Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

April 17, 2018

Night falls over the open ocean. The sunlit blues and greens of its mercurial surface gradually fade to gray, then darken to inky black. Hundreds of feet below, a multitude of fish, squid, plankton, and other mid-ocean dwellers begin their...

To Track an Oil Spill

To Track an Oil Spill

February 8, 2018

Oil spills are bad enough, but imagine if one occurs in an ocean covered with sea ice. The Coast Guard sends up aircraft to survey the spill and mobilizes assets in a timely way to contain damage to the environment,...

Tracking Unexploded Munitions

Tracking Unexploded Munitions

February 1, 2018

Residents of coastal North Carolina woke on Sept. 25 to what you might call an explosive surprise: Hurricane Maria, passing in the night, had churned up two ancient naval munitions from beneath the waves and flung them onto nearby beaches....

Re-envisioning Underwater Imaging

Re-envisioning Underwater Imaging

January 22, 2018

A revolutionary new underwater imaging system developed at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution can generate ultrahigh-definition television video, 2-D mosaic images, and 3-D optical models—images that scientists can spin to view from all sides and zoom in on to visually explore around...

Aqua Incognita

Aqua Incognita

December 12, 2017

There is a jar of money in the conference room of the Mooring Operations & Engineering (MOE) team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. It is a United Nations kaleidoscope of bills and coins that MOE team members didn’t have time...

News Releases

SeaWorld & Busch Gardens conservation fund commits $900,000 to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales

November 14, 2019

The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund announced that it has committed $900,000 over the next three years in the fight to save the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale.  The announcement was made by Dr. Michael Moore of the Woods...

Basking shark

SharkCam reveals secret lives of basking sharks in UK

August 6, 2019

Underwater footage captured by the REMUS SharkCam observing the behavior of basking sharks off the west coast of Scotland. (Credit: Amy Kukulya, @oceanrobotcam, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) known as the REMUS SharkCam has been used...

Loral O'Hara

WHOI Research Engineer Selected for NASA Astronaut Program

June 7, 2017

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) research engineer Loral O’Hara was introduced today at Johnson Space Flight Center as a member of NASA’s most recent class of astronauts. O’Hara was one of just 12 to be selected from an applicant pool...

Ancient Skeleton Discovered on Antikythera Shipwreck

Ancient Skeleton Discovered on Antikythera Shipwreck

September 19, 2016

An international research team discovered a human skeleton during its ongoing excavation of the famous Antikythera Shipwreck (circa 65 B.C.). The shipwreck, which holds the remains of a Greek trading or cargo ship, is located off the Greek island of...

SharkCam Tracks Great Whites into the Deep

SharkCam Tracks Great Whites into the Deep

June 24, 2016

On the first trip to study great white sharks in the wild off Guadalupe Island in 2013, the REMUS SharkCam team returned with an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) tattooed with bite marks and some of the most dramatic footage ever...

Artifacts Discovered on Return Expedition to Antikythera Shipwreck

Artifacts Discovered on Return Expedition to Antikythera Shipwreck

June 20, 2016

An international research team has discovered spectacular artifacts during its ongoing excavation of the famous Antikythera Shipwreck (circa 65 B.C.) this month. The shipwreck is located off the Greek island of Antikythera in the Aegean Sea. Led by archaeologists and...

WHOI Technology Used in Locating El Faro Data Recorder

WHOI Technology Used in Locating El Faro Data Recorder

April 28, 2016

Technology and vehicles developed and operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists and engineers were instrumental in assisting the NTSB in locating the voyage data recorder (VDR) of El Faro. The cargo ship El Faro’s voyage data recorder was...

Steve Elgar

Steve Elgar Named National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow

April 14, 2016

Steve Elgar, a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has been selected as a 2016 National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow (NSSEFF) by the Department of Defense. Elgar, a physical oceanographer in the Applied Ocean Physics and...

Marine Archaeologists Excavate Greek Antikythera Shipwreck

September 24, 2015

Archaeologists excavating the famous ancient Greek shipwreck that yielded the Antikythera mechanism have recovered more than 50 items including a bronze armrest (possibly part of a throne), remains of a bone flute, fine glassware, luxury ceramics, a pawn from an...

New AUV Plankton Sampling System Deployed

August 17, 2015

A group of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers and engineers have developed and tested an innovative new system for sampling small planktonic larvae in coastal ocean waters and understanding their distribution. Results were published online July 30, 2015 in...