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Research Highlights

News & Insights

Working from Home: Scott Lindell

June 25, 2020

Research assistant Sam Bowman (background) records data while project leader Scott Lindell (foreground) measures kelp blades to characterize specially-bred families of sugar kelp. (Photo by Ken Kostel, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Justin Ossolinski (Senior Research Assistant in Marine Chemistry...

Bottlenose dolphins continue to compensate for humans in spite of pandemic

June 11, 2020

By Daniel Hentz | June 10, 2020 Recreational boats gather by Passage Key at the mouth of Sarasota Bay in Florida, a now common scene on weekends during the pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Randall Wells) Recreational boats gather by Passage...

Carin Ashjian

Arctic researcher returns home to a pandemic

May 28, 2020
Becker working remotely

Lab shutdowns enable speedier investigation of coral disease

May 20, 2020

Microbiologists make big strides studying Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease from home By Evan Lubofsky | May 20, 2020 MIT-WHOI Joint Program student Cynthia Becker works out her “pop-up” biology lab in a rental home in St. Thomas, USVI (left)...

As ice melts, emperor penguins march toward extinction

May 12, 2020
skomal and thorrold

Ocean Encounters: Sharks!

May 11, 2020
carin ashjian

Boston Globe: WHOI scientist’s stay in the Arctic extended due to coronavirus

May 11, 2020
right whale video

WHOI joins effort to accelerate marine life protection technology

April 22, 2020

By Elise Hugus | April 22, 2020 Critically endangered North Atlantic right whales swim in the waters off Massachusetts in February 2019. WHOI biologist Michael Moore uses drone technology to identify, track, and even take samples from the whales’ exhaled...

beach

Summer’s coming: Will Cape Cod beaches be safe?

April 15, 2020

By Evan Lubofsky | April 14, 2020 Towns across Cape Cod have closed beach parking lots to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As the summer beach season approaches, residents are wondering if local beaches will be safe...

carin ashjian

Imagining Home: scientist’s stay in the Arctic extended by coronavirus

April 13, 2020

By Ken Kostel | April 22, 2020 Members of Leg 3 of the Multi-disciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) line the rails of the Russian icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn prior to the ship’s departure from Tromsø, Norway,...

Oceanus Magazine

Down to the Sea on (Gene) Chips

Down to the Sea on (Gene) Chips

May 25, 2005

A half-century ago, James Watson and Francis Crick (aided by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins) discovered the double-helical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Other scientists soon showed how DNA—through a triplet code of nucleotide bases on the DNA “spiral staircase”...

Voyages into the Antarctic  Winter

Voyages into the Antarctic Winter

April 25, 2005

At the extreme ends of the Earth, Antarctica is a vast, rocky continent, mostly ice-covered and barren. Surrounding Antarctica, the Southern Ocean is equally vast, cold, and ice-covered. But unlike the land, it teems with life, ranging from microscopic plankton...

How to See What Whales Hear

How to See What Whales Hear

April 19, 2005

On summer nights, if you sit quietly at the edge of a field or watch the edges of the light pools around street lamps, you will see bats swooping through shadowy darkness in search of moths or other flying prey....

Big Trouble from Little Squirts

Big Trouble from Little Squirts

April 7, 2005

Sandwich Town Beach was empty at low tide on a winter afternoon when scientist Mary Carman yanked on hip boots and waded among the eel grass and barnacles, her brown eyes scanning the clear water. Spotting a butter-colored mass on...

Run Deep, But Not Silent

Run Deep, But Not Silent

March 16, 2005

Whales are among the most elusive animals that humans have ever hunted. Pursuing whales across the seas and centuries, whalers made careful observations of whale behavior whenever and wherever they surfaced. But sperm whales, for example, spend about 95 percent...

Playing Tag with Whales

Playing Tag with Whales

March 16, 2005

The challenge of designing a device to learn what marine mammals do on dives is the stuff of dreams for an electronics engineer. In the spring of 1999, the time was right to build the digital acoustic recording tag, or...

Little Things Matter A Lot

Little Things Matter A Lot

March 11, 2005

When people think of bacteria, they usually think of germs—disease-causing agents that threaten human health. In reality, they make life on Earth possible. One group of bacteria—the cyanobacteria—has completely transformed Earth’s environment through their long history. Three billion years ago,...

Tracking Fish to Save Them

Tracking Fish to Save Them

February 15, 2005

For decades, the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) was one of the most sought-after fish species in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, from the Bahamas to Central America. These large, delicious fish live among coral reefs and have a breeding...

Coral Gardens in the Dark Depths

Coral Gardens in the Dark Depths

February 7, 2005

The words “coral reefs” conjure up images of a tropical paradise: shallow, warm, aquamarine waters, bright sunlight, white coral sand, and colorful, darting fish. But corals also live deep in the sea, in regions where the sun doesn’t penetrate and...

New Instrument Sheds Light on Bioluminescence

New Instrument Sheds Light on Bioluminescence

January 27, 2005

On a 1995 research cruise in the Arabian Sea, WHOI Research Engineer Paul Fucile asked an innocent question, just to satisfy his curiosity. He had been watching a three-person Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) team use a deck-mounted winch and a...

News Releases

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...

Corals

New study measures how much of corals’ nutrition comes from hunting

September 17, 2019

A polyp of the smooth cauliflower coral (Stylophora pistillata), uses the stinging cells in its tentacles to capture a small shrimp, which is then pulled into the mouth of the polyp and digested. Coral colonies contain thousands of individual polyps...