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Research Highlights

News & Insights

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.

squid

Listening to fish with passive acoustics

September 30, 2020

Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and NOAA Fisheries combine forces to adapt technologies used to detect marine mammals for fisheries management.

deep water corals

Why we explore deep-water canyons off our coast

September 16, 2020

WHOI biologist Tim Shank joins NOAA Fisheries, the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, the National Ocean Service, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) to study the ecological diversity and economic value laden in the 90 underwater canyons along the northeast U.S. continental shelf

Exploring the shipwrecks of Stellwagen Bank

August 21, 2020

Join us live 8/25-8/27, as WHOI and NOAA scientists partner with Marine Imaging Technologies to explore the living shipwrecks of this marine sanctuary. Send in your questions and have them answered in real time to learn more about the diverse marine communities that call these ships home

diver and kelp

Can Seaweed Fuel the Future?

August 13, 2020

Fuels generated from kelp could provide a low-emission alternative to fossil fuels, and WHOI is breeding new strains of kelp and developing autonomous robots to monitor kelp farms

News Releases

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.

Shark Week 2021: Sharks and the Ocean’s Twilight Zone

July 11, 2021

How large marine predators use the twilight zone to thrive, and survive Woods Hole, MA (July 11, 2021) — Sharks are some of the largest fish in the ocean, known as apex predators, that steal the show in films, television…

Study Shows that Lobsters Can Detect Sound

July 7, 2021

A new study demonstrates that lobsters can detect low-frequency sound and suggests that anthropogenic noise could affect lobsters. The study comes out at a time when the construction of more offshore wind farms, with their associated underwater pile driving noise, is being considered in New England.

Harmful algal bloom

First Global Statistical Analysis of Harmful Algal Blooms

June 8, 2021

The first-ever global statistical analysis of trends in harmful algal blooms (HABs) has shown that, worldwide, there is no significant increase in HABs events, but that in some regions, events that include toxic species of algae affecting humans and wildlife…

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Wants Everyone to “Keep it Weird”

May 27, 2021

Click here for a link to hi-res images, b-roll and captions, credits. Woods Hole, Mass. (May 27, 2021) – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) wants to keep the ocean twilight zone weird. Known for its rigorous science and advanced engineering,…

Oceanus Magazine

squid pair

The surprising social lives of squid

September 23, 2021

Like humans, squid have a lot of options when it comes to expressing their emotions. Learn how they draw from a collection of more than a dozen different body patterns to make friends, fend off enemies, and survive life below the surface.

Measuring the great migration

September 23, 2021

A bioacoustic mooring will use sound to help estimate life migrating in the ocean’s twilight zone as part of a new long-term observation network in the Atlantic

Fascinating facts about emperor penguins

September 2, 2021

We might chuckle at the sight of penguins waddling over ice, but these flightless birds would put Olympic swimmers to shame. Learn more about emperor penguins, the largest penguin in the world and permanent residents of Antarctica.

Sperm Whale

Keeping an ear out for entangled whales

August 26, 2021

To help mitigate the impacts of illegal fishing off the Sicilian coast, a WHOI scientist and his collaborators are attaching acoustic tags to drift nets so sperm whales can be located and tracked for disentanglement crews.

Cells Under Microscope

A dragnet for toxic algae?

July 26, 2021

To keep a close eye on harmful algal blooms, shellfish farmers are relying on a WHOI-developed camera system that spies on toxic species below the surface and sends alerts when they’re present.

Life at Rock Bottom

July 22, 2021

This digital photo essay brings you the forms, figures, and facts of life more than a mile and half deep

Lauren Dykman

Falling in love with deep-sea parasites

July 14, 2021

At hydrothermal vents there are body-snatchers, intestinal hitchhikers, and chest-bursters, but something about them is still alluring to Lauren Dykman

Sea of Hazards

A Sea of Hazards

October 22, 2020

How ocean scientists are working to safeguard us from the perils of a changing ocean

Eleonora Van Sitteren

Experts Explore the Ocean-Human Health Link

October 8, 2020

Experts Explore the Ocean-Human Health Link November 9, 2020 Eleonora Van Sitteren Guest Student, Lindell Lab I work with the Lindell Lab group at WHOI on a selective breeding program with sugar kelps. These can be used as a carbon-neutral,…

Walking on polar ice

Oceans of Change

February 27, 2020

Oceans of Change WHOI scientists learn how the ocean shapes—and is shaped by—global climate By Madeline Drexler (Photo by Simon Buchou on Unsplash) “THE SEA NEVER CHANGES, AND ITS WORKS, FOR ALL THE TALK OF MEN, ARE WRAPPED IN MYSTERY.”…