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Research Highlights

News & Insights

Understanding the threat of harmful algal blooms

January 12, 2022

Calling all scientists!

December 8, 2021

We’re hiring up to 10 scientific, tenure-track staff to join the WHOI community

Book reading event: “We Are All Whalers”

November 24, 2021

Join us tonight for a special event with author Michael Moore, Nov. 30, 2021 7:00 p.m. ET

A virtual exhibit

October 19, 2021

Get your free ticket and join guest speaker, MIT researcher Aditi Wagh PhD tonight for a discussion about the importance of art in communicating science to youths, Oct. 21, 2021 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. EDT

Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales Getting Smaller, New Research Finds

June 10, 2021

A report out this week in Current Biology reveal that critically endangered North Atlantic right whales are up to three feet shorter than 40 years ago. This startling conclusion reinforces what scientists have suspected: even when entanglements do not lead directly to the death of North Atlantic right whales, they can have lasting effects on the imperiled population that may now number less than 400 animals. Further, females that are entangled while nursing produce smaller calves.

right whales

Rare Drone video shows critically endangered North Atlantic right whales

May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021   During a joint research trip on February 28 in Cape Cod Bay, Mass., WHOI whale trauma specialist Michael Moore, National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry, and scientists from New England Aquarium, witnessed a remarkable biological event: North…

A checkup for the oceans reveals threats to human health

December 7, 2020

The health of the world’s ocean is in serious decline—and human health is suffering as a result. A comprehensive report from the Monaco Commission and co-authored by several WHOI researchers investigates the impacts of ocean pollution and recommends actions to safeguard human health.

Unicorns of the Arctic face a new potential threat

December 1, 2020

Narwhals and other marine mammals could be vulnerable to a new threat we’ve become all too familiar with: COVID-19

WHOI working to help save critically endangered North Atlantic right whales

November 10, 2020

North Atlantic right whales are in crisis. There are approximately 356 individuals remaining, and with over 80% bearing scars of entanglements in fishing line, the race to save this species is more critical than ever.

WHOI oceanographer completes epic Arctic mission

October 13, 2020

The largest Arctic science expedition in history has ended, with the return of the German icebreaker Polarstern to its home port of Bremerhaven more than one year after it departed Tromso, Norway.

News Releases

Earth BioGenome Project begins genome sequencing in earnest

January 19, 2022

The Deep-Ocean Genomes Project is an ambitious effort co-led by WHOI and the University of Connecticut (UConn) to obtain fundamental new knowledge of the organization, evolution, functions, and interactions of life in one of Earth’s least-understood regions: the deep ocean.

New book by WHOI marine scientist offers a grim look at an endangered whale species

October 29, 2021

A new book by Michael Moore, veterinarian, and marine scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), examines the plight and future of the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most critically endangered species on the planet, and draws on Moore’s 40 years of fieldwork to offer possible solutions.

Environmental DNA is a reliable way to learn about migration from the twilight zone

October 28, 2021

Woods Hole, MA — The mid-ocean “twilight zone” holds the key to several tantalizing questions about the marine food web and carbon-sequestering capacity of the ocean. But studying this vast and remote area is extremely difficult. Many inhabitants of the…

Study Finds Growing Potential for Toxic Algal Blooms in the Alaskan Arctic

October 4, 2021

A warming Arctic presents potential new threats to humans and marine wildlife in the fast-changing region   Changes in the northern Alaskan Arctic ocean environment have reached a point at which a previously rare phenomenon—widespread blooms of toxic algae—could become…

WHOI collaborates to bring video installation to United Nation Headquarters

September 15, 2021

Vertical Migration by artist group SUPERFLEX will be projected onto the facade of the United Nations’ 505-foot tower in New York, on 21-24 September 2021, coinciding with the 76th General Assembly and Climate Week NYC. The projection seeks to draw global attention to the critical role of the ocean in global climate, a primary focus of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Ocean Twilight Zone Project.

Flipping the “genetic paradox of invasions”

September 14, 2021

A new study led by Carolyn Tepolt, an associate scientist of biology at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is investigating the adaptive mechanisms of the green crab along the west coast of North America, where it has shown extensive dispersal in the last decade despite minimal genetic diversity.

Some coral reefs are keeping pace with ocean warming

September 7, 2021

Some coral communities are becoming more heat tolerant as ocean temperatures rise, offering hope for corals in a changing climate. After a series of marine heatwaves hit the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) in the central Pacific Ocean, a new study finds the impact of heat stress on the coral communities lessened over time.

Emperor penguins, recommended as threatened species under Endangered Species Act

August 3, 2021

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced a proposal to list the emperor penguin as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Emperor penguins will be pushed towards extinction by the climate crisis melting the sea ice they need for survival and reproduction.

New Study Finds Emperor Penguins Increasingly Threatened by Climate Change

August 3, 2021

A new study published today in Global Change Biology provides valuable new data that highlights how species extinction risk is accelerating due to rapid climate change and an increase in extreme climate events, such as glacial calving and sea ice loss.

What happens to marine life when oxygen is scarce?

July 26, 2021

A new study co-led by WHOI postdoctoral scholar Maggie Johnson looks closely at the changes occurring in both coral reef and microbial communities near Bocas del Toro during sudden hypoxic events, which occur when there is little to no oxygen in a given area of water.

Oceanus Magazine

Ocean data gives Northeast fishermen an edge against a warming ocean

January 3, 2022

Fishermen successfully brace against warm water wave from Gulf Stream, thanking greater access to data from the WHOI Shelf Fleet Program

an ocean of opportunity

An ocean of opportunity

December 7, 2021

Ocean experts explore the potential risks and rewards of ocean-based solutions to climate change

A curious robot is poised to rapidly expand reef research

December 1, 2021

WHOI scientists with the Coral Catalyst Team are leveraging a new, artificially intelligent robot to automate coral reef health assessments

A coral reef kickstart

November 23, 2021

WHOI’s Reef Solutions Initiative takes a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate solutions for ailing coral reefs

Five times the ocean helped us learn about the human body

November 10, 2021

For people studying the human body, big ideas can sometimes come in small, briny packages

Mr.-Crabs

Burrows on the beach

October 26, 2021

Rebuilding after a hurricane isn’t easy—especially for those pale, stalk-eyed creatures known as ghost crabs

Jaida Elcock: diversity is essential–in the marine ecosystem and in science

October 20, 2021

MIT-WHOI Joint Program student Jaida Elcock always knew she was going to work with sharks. Oceanus caught up with her to find out more about why sharks—and representation—matter.

For Mark Baumgartner, Whale Safe is the natural evolution of WHOI’s work with passive acoustics

October 19, 2021

Mark Baumgartner is a senior scientist and marine ecologist in the biology department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who focuses on studying the behavior of the ocean’s top predators. In the last decade, his lab has deployed buoys and gliders…

Five marine living fossils you should know about

October 7, 2021

After living for millions of years, these species may have mastered evolution in our ocean

squid pair

Speaking in colors

September 23, 2021

How squid use a dazzling array of colors and body patterns to make friends, fend off enemies, and survive life below the surface.