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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

The Bacteria on Your Beaches

The Bacteria on Your Beaches

May 7, 2018

The time had come to examine the dishes creating that noxious smell throughout the kitchen. It wasn’t coming from unwashed dishes in the sink; it came from the top of the refrigerator. That’s where I had put petri dishes growing...

Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

Mission to the Ocean Twilight Zone

April 17, 2018

Night falls over the open ocean. The sunlit blues and greens of its mercurial surface gradually fade to gray, then darken to inky black. Hundreds of feet below, a multitude of fish, squid, plankton, and other mid-ocean dwellers begin their...

Who Grows There?

Who Grows There?

January 26, 2018

If you’ve spent time by the ocean, you’ve probably seen the masses of barnacles, sponges, and other invertebrates that grow in abundance on submerged rocks, boats, docks, aquatic plants, and even the shells of snails and other marine life. Kirstin...

Scientists Reveal Secrets of Whales

Scientists Reveal Secrets of Whales

January 22, 2018

Researchers have known for decades that whales create elaborate songs. But a new study has revealed a component of whale songs that has long been overlooked—sort of a booming baseline to go along with the treble. Aboard a small research...

Long-term Study Focuses on New England Ocean

Long-term Study Focuses on New England Ocean

January 10, 2018

Off the Northeastern U.S. lies one of the most productive ocean regions on the planet—a hotspot for marine life, abounding in everything from microscopic organisms at the bottom of the food chain to sharks, turtles, whales, and commercial fisheries at...

Tiny Jellyfish with a Big Sting

Tiny Jellyfish with a Big Sting

January 3, 2018

People who want to know where their ancestors came from can sometimes find answers hidden in their DNA. Annette Govindarajan also uses DNA—to map the origins of a venomous stinging jellyfish that is becoming more prevalent off the coast of...

The Marine Reserve Goldilocks Problem

The Marine Reserve Goldilocks Problem

December 1, 2017

To protect coral reefs, governments and conservationists are looking to establish networks of marine reserves, where fishing is prohibited. But for the reserves to work, they need to be the right size and distance apart from one another. If a...

Scientists Reveal Secrets of Whales

Scientists Reveal Secrets of Whales

December 1, 2017

Using drones to fly into the misty “blows” of exhaling humpback whales, scientists have found for the first time that the whales had a common set of microorganisms—a respiratory microbiome that may help maintain their health. In recent years, scientists...

How Do Fish Find Their Way?

How Do Fish Find Their Way?

September 6, 2017

A day in the field for Justin Suca begins at 4:45 in the morning, just before the first stars begin to disappear from the sky over the island of St. John. He’ll spend the next five hours motoring around the...

PlankZooka & SUPR-REMUS

PlankZooka & SUPR-REMUS

June 1, 2017

Much of marine life begins as microscopic larvae—so tiny, delicate, and scattered in hard-to-reach parts of ocean that scientists have had a tough time illuminating this fundamental stage of life in the ocean. To see what’s out there, scientists have...

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...