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Research Highlights

News & Insights

Robin Littlefield

Exploration Enabler: Robin Littlefield

November 13, 2019

WHOI engineer Robin Littlefield is on a mission to increase the reach of science through the development and operation of autonomous underwater vehicles.

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

October 30, 2019

Rick Chandler is a senior submersible engineer and administrator for the Alvin Group at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he’s worked for more than 45 years.

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.

The hive mind behind a swarm of submersibles

October 16, 2019

The vastness of our oceans demands extensive study methods. Erin Fischell, an assistant scientist in the Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, has been experimenting with a swarm of autonomous underwater vehicles that aim to both minimize cost and maximize the scope of scientific assessment at sea.

orpheus

The Rise of Orpheus (Part 2)

October 16, 2019

WHOI’s new deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle moves one step closer to exploring the hadal zone—the deepest region of the ocean—to search for new clues about the limits of life on Earth, and possibly beyond.

Erin Fischell tests a new autonomous underwater vehicle

Erin Fischell wins Moore Inventor Fellowship

October 15, 2019

Erin Fischell, an assistant scientist in Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been awarded the Moore Inventor Fellowship for her work on ocean robotics.

Sloan's viperfish (Chauliodus sloani)

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

September 10, 2019

Scientists are trying to keep one of the world’s last great wildernesses intact

Rapid Response at Sea

September 6, 2019

As sea ice continues to melt in the Arctic and oil exploration expands in the region, the possibility of an oil spill occurring under ice is higher than ever. To help first responders cope with oil trapped under ice, ocean engineers are developing undersea vehicles that can map oil spills to improve situational awareness and decision making during an emergency.

Robot Swarm

Underwater robots swarm the ocean

August 22, 2019

Researchers test a new, acoustic-based navigation system to solve a problem that oceanographers have grappled with for years—getting multiple underwater robots to monitor the ocean cooperatively in swarm-like fashion.

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 the continental shelf. This will be the first full scientific mission into the ocean twilight zone for the towed underwater vehicle, Deep-See.

News Releases

WHOI Announces D’Works Marine Technology Initiative for Massachusetts Startups and Entrepreneurs

August 26, 2020

Massachusetts has long been known as a center of invention and technical innovation and, more recently, has gained attention for its vibrant marine robotics startup community. Now startup companies, entrepreneurs, and others in the Commonwealth who work in the marine...

WHOI Scientists Make Woods Hole Film Festival Appearance

July 17, 2020

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists appear in two shorts and a feature film at this year’s Woods Hole Film Festival (WHFF). In addition, scientists will also participate in Q&A sessions connected to three of the festival’s feature-length, ocean-themed entries....

WHOI researcher dives to Challenger Deep

June 26, 2020

Ying-Tsong Lin is the 12th person in history and the first person of Asian descent to visit ocean’s deepest seafloor A Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution researcher became one of just a handful of people to visit the deepest part of...

Ocean explorer and filmmaker James Cameron to host virtual event on Extreme Ocean Machines

May 18, 2020

Discussion with experts on ocean technology, exploration, and storytelling On May 20, ocean explorer and world-renowned filmmaker James Cameron will host a special edition of Ocean Encounters, a popular virtual event series from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Viewers of this special event,...

What did scientists learn from Deepwater Horizon?

April 20, 2020

Paper reviews major findings, technological advances that could help in next deep-sea spill.  Ten years ago, a powerful explosion destroyed an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and injuring 17 others. Over a span of 87...

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...

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...