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Research Highlights

News & Insights

Summer Resident

Chris Linder wins Photography Award for story on Adélie penguins

September 25, 2019

Expedition Multimedia Specialist Chris Linder wins Nature’s Best Photography Magazine’s Conservation Story Award on Adélie penguins

grey seal in gillnet

Underwater cameras tackle tough questions for fishery

September 3, 2019

Scientists, in collaboration with commercial fishermen, are using underwater video cameras to document the behavior of seals and other animals in and around fishing nets just east of Cape Cod—an area that has seen steady growth in gray seal populations over the past few years. 

WHOI in the Christian Science Monitor: How the deep sea could unlock outer space

August 28, 2019

“When hydrothermal vents were discovered in 1977, it very much flipped biology on its end,” says Julie Huber, an oceanographer who studies life in and below the seafloor at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) on Cape Cod. “People knew that organisms could live off of chemical energy, but they didn’t imagine they could support animal ecosystems.”

Scientists like Dr. Huber have continued to study those chemical-munching microbes. And it turns out, she says, a diverse set of microbes can be really good at making a living where the sun doesn’t shine. They make use of the chemicals available to them, even at some of the harshest vents, known as black smokers.

Blue shark

A tunnel to the Twilight Zone

August 2, 2019

Scientists track hungry blue sharks as they ride swirling currents down to the ocean twilight zone—a layer of the ocean containing the largest fish biomass on Earth

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.

Fish with Flashlights

May 30, 2019

Down in the dark and shadowy ocean twilight zone, countless species—bristlemouths, lanternfishes, jellies, and others—rely on bioluminescence for a variety of important functions, including finding their next meal, outsmarting predators, and looking for mates.

clinging Jellyfish

Scientists investigate global spread of stinging jellyfish

May 22, 2019

New invasions reported in New England and Sweden, prompting researchers to look at a variety of potential causes including transportation, warmer ocean temperatures, and a resurgence of eelgrass.

Many ocean twilight zone animals have adapted to their dark surroundings with larger-than-normal eyes. (Photo by Paul Caiger, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Bringing Light into Darkness

May 15, 2019

WHOI scientists and engineers tackle the challenge of illuminating life in the sunless waters of the ocean twilight zone

Virgin Island Corals in Crisis

May 7, 2019

A coral disease outbreak that wiped out nearly 80% of stony corals between Florida’s Key Biscayne and Key West during the past two years appears to have spread to the U.S. Virgin Islands (U.S.V.I.), where reefs that were once vibrant and teeming with life are now left skeleton white in the disease’s wake.

A disentanglement team attempts to free a right whale from fishing gear. EcoHealth Alliance, NOAA Permit #932-1905.

Untangling Impacts on Right Whales

May 3, 2019

Whale scientists look for new ways to mitigate whale entanglements in fishing lines

News Releases

WHOI and NOAA Fisheries Release New North Atlantic Right Whale Health Assessment Review

February 25, 2021

North Atlantic right whales are a critically endangered species with less than 366 left on the planet Woods Hole, Mass. (February 25, 2021) — Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) along with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries have released...

CINAR Fellows in Quantitative Fisheries and Ecosystems Science Announced

December 18, 2020

The Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region (CINAR), led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center are pleased to announce the appointment of five CINAR Fellows in Quantitative Fisheries and Ecosystems Science: Daniel Cullen...

New study takes comprehensive look at marine pollution

December 3, 2020

Paper finds ocean pollution is a complex mix of chemicals and materials, primarily land-based in origin, with far-reaching consequences for environmental and human health, but there are options available for world leaders   For centuries, the ocean has been viewed...

Study Sheds Light on Critically Endangered Beluga Whale Population

October 28, 2020

A team of scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and NOAA Fisheries are collaborating to help stem the decline of a critically endangered population of beluga whales in the Cook Inlet, Alaska.  A study recently published in Animal Microbiome outlines important first steps...

Epic Arctic Mission Ends

October 12, 2020

International climate research project marked by scientific surprises, logistical challenges  The German icebreaker Polarstern returned to its home port Oct. 12, 2020, after being frozen near the top of the world for nearly a year. The ship carried an international...

WHOI receives NOAA awards to study, predict harmful algal blooms

October 6, 2020

Projects will help enhance monitoring and determine socioeconomic impacts of blooms nationwide Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) were recently named in a list of 17 new research projects funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to...

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...

Oceanus Magazine

Sea of Hazards

A Sea of Hazards

October 22, 2020

A Sea of Hazards How researchers are safeguarding us from the perils of a changing ocean By Evan Lubofsky | October 20, 2020 Illustration by Natalie Renier, WHOI Creative, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution It had to have been the...

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.”...

Bioacoustic alarms are sounding on Cape Cod

December 5, 2019

Bioacoustic alarms are sounding on Cape Cod How a WHOI/IFAW study on dolphin sounds could help decrease mass strandings on the cape By Daniel Hentz  |  December 5, 2019 IFAW’s Marine Mammal Rescue Team and volunteers respond to a stranding...

Orpheus

The Rise of Orpheus

October 8, 2019

The Rise of Orpheus WHOI’s new hadal robot moves one step closer to exploring the limits of life on Earth and beyond By Evan Lubofsky | October 8, 2019 Orpheus, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is deployed off the New England...

Blue shark

A tunnel to the Twilight Zone

August 2, 2019

A tunnel to the Twilight Zone Blue sharks ride deep-swirling currents to the ocean’s midwater at mealtime By Evan Lubofsky | August 2, 2019 Video by Camrin Braun, University of Washington and Tane Sinclair-Taylor, James Cook University. When you’re hungry,...

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...