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Research Highlights

News & Insights

Red Sea ‘hotspot’ study reveals behaviors of whale sharks

November 25, 2019

A new study of whale shark movements near a known hotspot in the Red Sea sheds light on their behaviors and could help inform the conservation efforts of the largest known fish, which can reach lengths of 40 feet or more.

Searching for the limits of life: Taylor Heyl

November 7, 2019

A deep-sea biologist discusses her search for life in the deepest parts of our ocean, and why WHOI is the place she has chosen to carry out her research

orpheus

The Rise of Orpheus

November 7, 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.

A swordfish swims near the ocean’s surface off the coast of Miami, Florida. Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Washington tagged a group of five swords there to track their movements in and out of the ocean twilight zone, a dimly-lit layer of the ocean between 200 and 1000 meters deep (656 to 3,280 feet). (Photo by Steve Dougherty Photography).

Following the elusive sword

November 5, 2019

Satellite tags allow researchers to “see” how swordfish move in and out of the ocean twilight zone.

Marine fireworks

WHOI partners with 4Ocean to celebrate Jellyfish this month

November 5, 2019

Jellyfish play a vital role in a healthy ocean. But we need more insight into exactly what that role is–and how jellyfish fit into the changes taking place in the ocean every day.

WHOI Senior Scientist Joan Bernhard holds a synthetic model of a foram species known as Astrammina

Falling in love with foraminifera

October 30, 2019

A marine geobiologist falls for the ‘brains’ and beauty of an ancient single-celled creature that can change its shell into a variety of geometric shapes.

How do you study marine metamorphosis?

October 22, 2019

Kirstin Meyer-Kaiser is a marine benthic ecologist, whose primary research focus is on how invertebrates establish themselves along the seafloor.

whale tagging

Travel alongside whale researchers to the Antarctic Peninsula

October 17, 2019

Travel alongside whale researchers to the Antarctic Peninsula

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A new study observes the influence of internal waves on sharks

October 16, 2019

A new study provides insight into the behavior of small sharks when encountering a common ocean phenomenon known as internal waves.

The Rise of Orpheus (Part 1)

October 2, 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.

News Releases

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....

Fishing less could be a win for both lobstermen and endangered whales

May 27, 2020

A new study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that New England’s historic lobster fishery may turn a higher profit by operating with less gear in the water and a shorter season. The findings could provide a...

North Atlantic right whales are in much poorer condition than their Southern counterparts

April 26, 2020

A new study by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists and their colleagues reveals that endangered North Atlantic right whales are in much poorer body condition than their counterparts in the southern hemisphere. The international research team, led by Fredrik...

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...

Snapping shrimp

Warming oceans are getting louder

February 18, 2020

One of the ocean’s loudest creatures is smaller than you’d expect—and will get even louder and more troublesome to humans and sea life as the ocean warms, according to new research presented at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego,...

Report reveals ‘unseen’ human benefits from ocean twilight zone

January 22, 2020

Exclusive report Value Beyond View: Illuminating the human benefits of the ocean twilight zone Download now – it’s free! Did you know that there’s a natural carbon sink—even bigger than the Amazon rainforest—that helps regulate Earth’s climate by sucking up...

How microbes reflect the health of coral reefs

December 19, 2019

Microorganisms play important roles in the health and protection of coral reefs, yet exploring these connections can be difficult due to the lack of unspoiled reef systems throughout the global ocean. A collaborative study led by scientists at the Woods...

squid

Underwater pile driving noise causes alarm responses in squid

December 16, 2019

Exposure to underwater pile driving noise, which can be associated with the construction of docks, piers, and offshore wind farms, causes squid to exhibit strong alarm behaviors, according to a study by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers published Dec....

Whales may owe their efficient digestion to millions of tiny microbes

December 4, 2019

A study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that the microbial communities inside whales may play an important role in the digestion of one of the ocean’s most abundant carbon-rich lipids, known as a wax ester. Their...

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...

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...

Do Microplastics in the Ocean Affect Scallops?

Do Microplastics in the Ocean Affect Scallops?

January 24, 2019

WHOI scientist Scott Gallager is making field observations and conducting lab experiments to explore the possible effects of microplastics in the ocean on marine organisms. Specifically, he’s looking at sea scallops at different life stages to determine if the tiny...

To Tag a Squid

To Tag a Squid

January 3, 2019
Junk Food

Junk Food

December 17, 2018

An estimated eight million tons of plastics enter our oceans each year, yet only one percent can be seen floating at the surface. This is the third in a three-part series of stories about how researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic...

The Secret Tuna Nursery

The Secret Tuna Nursery

November 20, 2018

It was a little after 10 p.m., and several hundred miles off the coast of Massachusetts, Chrissy Hernandez was counting eyeballs. Scattered across a dinner plate-sized sieve in front of her was the harvest from yet another tow with a...

A Lobster Trap for Microbes

A Lobster Trap for Microbes

October 22, 2018

When you sprinkle even a few tiny flakes of fish food into an aquarium, it’s pretty easy to gauge how fish react. They typically swim fast and furiously straight toward the sinking particles and chow down before the food can...

The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

August 21, 2018

In 2015, 239 poisoned sea lions washed ashore on the California coast. The culprit? A single-celled organism one-tenth the width of a human hair. The microscopic organism is a tiny cell with a long Latin name: Pseudo-nitzschia. On its own, one...

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...

Sharks Take 'Tunnels' into the Depths

Sharks Take ‘Tunnels’ into the Depths

July 23, 2018

As the Gulf Stream current curves away from North America and heads east across the Atlantic, it swirls at its edges. If one of these swirls is large enough, it will pinch off, sending a whirling pocket of water—more than...

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....