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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

Can We Catch More Fish and Still Preserve the Stock?

Can We Catch More Fish and Still Preserve the Stock?

January 19, 2005

Near the town of Webster in southern Massachusetts there is a small lake with a long name: Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. The correct translation, from the original Native American language, refers to Englishmen fishing at a certain place, near a boundary. But...

A Fatal Attraction for Harmful Algae

A Fatal Attraction for Harmful Algae

January 14, 2005

A Korean scientist once told me a folk tale about an ancient emperor who ordered servants to rid his garden ponds of an algal scum that killed his fish and blemished his kingdom. One perceptive servant noticed that whenever rain...

Rites of Passage for Juvenile Marine Life

Rites of Passage for Juvenile Marine Life

January 11, 2005

The childhood of a barnacle is fraught with challenges. It hatches in shallow waters close to shore as a tiny larva, no bigger than a speck of dust. Currents sweep it to deeper, choppy waters, sometimes miles offshore. In these...

The Growing Problem of Harmful Algae

The Growing Problem of Harmful Algae

November 12, 2004

July and August 2004 — At the height of the summer season, when New Englanders and thousands of tourists open their wallets to buy fresh “steamers” and fried clam strips, Maine’s shellfish beds are shut down. Concerned by the worst...

Scientists Muster to Help Right Whales

Scientists Muster to Help Right Whales

November 4, 2004

It is a sad irony that we have cataloged individual photographs of the remaining North Atlantic right whales and given each of them unique numbers and sometimes names, yet still know too little about their physiology, behavior, and habitats to...

Whither the North Atlantic Right Whale?

Whither the North Atlantic Right Whale?

November 3, 2004

For millions of years, the North Atlantic Ocean has been home to right whales. In winter months, they gave birth to calves off the shores of West Africa in the eastern Atlantic and off Florida and Georgia in the western...

Revealing the Ocean's Invisible Abundance

Revealing the Ocean’s Invisible Abundance

October 25, 2004

Microbes. They are invisible to the naked eye, but they play a critical role in keeping our planet habitable. They are everywhere, in abundant numbers, but are still difficult to find. They come in a multitude of varieties, but too...

Shedding Light on Light in the Ocean

Shedding Light on Light in the Ocean

October 15, 2004

Light in the ocean is like light in no other place on Earth. It is a world that is visibly different from our familiar terrestrial world, and one that marine animals, plants, and microbes are adapted to in extraordinary ways....

Life in the Arctic Ocean

Life in the Arctic Ocean

September 15, 2004

Capped with a formidable ice and snow cover, plunged into total darkness during the winter, buffeted by blizzard winds, and bitterly cold, the Arctic Ocean is one of the most inaccessible and yet beautiful environments on Earth. Life here endures...

The Secret Lives of Fish

The Secret Lives of Fish

August 27, 2004

The ocean’s once-abundant fisheries—a resource that helps feed the world and drives multi-billion-dollar economies—are rapidly being depleted. Seventy percent of the ocean’s fish are being fished at or above catch limits that would sustain the fish stocks, according to 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...