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Research Highlights

News & Insights

A checkup for the oceans reveals threats to human health

December 7, 2020

The health of the world’s ocean is in serious decline—and human health is suffering as a result. A comprehensive report from the Monaco Commission and co-authored by several WHOI researchers investigates the impacts of ocean pollution and recommends actions to safeguard human health.

Unicorns of the Arctic face a new potential threat

December 1, 2020

Narwhals and other marine mammals could be vulnerable to a new threat we’ve become all too familiar with: COVID-19

WHOI working to help save critically endangered North Atlantic right whales

November 10, 2020

North Atlantic right whales are in crisis. There are approximately 356 individuals remaining, and with over 80% bearing scars of entanglements in fishing line, the race to save this species is more critical than ever.

WHOI oceanographer completes epic Arctic mission

October 13, 2020

The largest Arctic science expedition in history has ended, with the return of the German icebreaker Polarstern to its home port of Bremerhaven more than one year after it departed Tromso, Norway.

squid

Listening to fish with passive acoustics

September 30, 2020

Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and NOAA Fisheries combine forces to adapt technologies used to detect marine mammals for fisheries management.

deep water corals

Why we explore deep-water canyons off our coast

September 16, 2020

WHOI biologist Tim Shank joins NOAA Fisheries, the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, the National Ocean Service, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) to study the ecological diversity and economic value laden in the 90 underwater canyons along the northeast U.S. continental shelf

Exploring the shipwrecks of Stellwagen Bank

August 21, 2020

Join us live 8/25-8/27, as WHOI and NOAA scientists partner with Marine Imaging Technologies to explore the living shipwrecks of this marine sanctuary. Send in your questions and have them answered in real time to learn more about the diverse marine communities that call these ships home

diver and kelp

Can Seaweed Fuel the Future?

August 13, 2020

Fuels generated from kelp could provide a low-emission alternative to fossil fuels, and WHOI is breeding new strains of kelp and developing autonomous robots to monitor kelp farms

seal eating fish

Scientists and fishermen team up to film seals in fishing nets

August 6, 2020

Seals find ease in taking a meal already ensnared in wall-like gillnets cast by fishermen, but at what cost? WHOI biologist Andrea Bogomolni works with the fishing community to record and observe this behavior with the hopes of mitigating marine mammal bycatch

Jellyfish

Jellyfish larger than blue whales?

July 14, 2020

Recent accounts in the media have described the appearance of lion’s mane jellyfish in waters and beaches in the Northeast as a surprising, sometimes troubling, event, with record sizes and numbers reported from Maine to the Massachusetts south coast. But is this event noteworthy? Or, as some have implied, is it a sign of failing ocean health? Three WHOI marine biologists weighed in to put events into perspective.

News Releases

whales

New Sub-species of Pilot Whale Identified in Pacific Ocean

June 3, 2019

Short-finned pilot whales are found over a wide swath of the world’s oceans, with habitats in the Indian, and Pacific, and North Atlantic oceans. Despite this wide distribution, the whales have been recognized as a single species—but a recent study...

New species of coral found in Lydonia Canyon

New Deep-Sea Coral Species Discovered in Atlantic Marine Monument

April 9, 2019

DNA analysis recently confirmed that Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists and their collaborators at OceanX, the University of Connecticut (UConn), and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) discovered two new species of deep-sea corals during a September 2018 expedition in...

Finding New Homes Won't Help Emperor Penguins Cope with Climate Change

Finding New Homes Won’t Help Emperor Penguins Cope with Climate Change

June 7, 2017

If projections for melting Antarctic sea ice through 2100 are correct, the vanishing landscape will strip Emperor penguins of their breeding and feeding grounds and put populations at risk.  But like other species that migrate to escape the wrath of...

Travel Distances of Juvenile Fish Key to Better Conservation

Travel Distances of Juvenile Fish Key to Better Conservation

May 15, 2017

Marine reserves—sections of the ocean where fishing is prohibited—promote coral reef sustainability by preventing overfishing and increasing fish abundance and diversity. But to be effective, they need to be sized right, and in a way that accounts for how far...

Don Anderson

Don Anderson Selected for Prestigious Ketchum Award for Coastal Research

April 3, 2017

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has selected Dr. Don Anderson, a senior scientist in the Biology Department at WHOI to receive the prestigious 2017 Bostwick H. Ketchum Award. The award honors an internationally recognized scientist who demonstrates an innovative...

A New Long-Term Ecological Research Site Announced for the Northeast U.S. Shelf

A New Long-Term Ecological Research Site Announced for the Northeast U.S. Shelf

March 1, 2017

The Atlantic Ocean off the Northeast U.S. coast is known for its productive fisheries and abundant harvests. As in other coastal oceans, human activities, short-term environmental variability, and long-term trends all affect the region’s complex food web and may threaten...

Some Fish Quickly Adapt to Lethal Levels of Pollution

Some Fish Quickly Adapt to Lethal Levels of Pollution

December 8, 2016

Evolution is working under pressure to rescue some coastal fish from a lethal, human-altered environment. Now, a new study has revealed the complex genetic basis for the Atlantic killifish’s remarkable resilience. The new findings, published Dec. 9 in the journal...

New 13-year Study Tracks Impact of Changing Climate on a Key Marine Food Source

New 13-year Study Tracks Impact of Changing Climate on a Key Marine Food Source

October 20, 2016

A new multiyear study from scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has shown for the first time how changes in ocean temperature affect a key species of phytoplankton. The study, published in the October 21 issue of the...

Scientists Now Listening for Whales in New York Waters With Real-time Acoustic Buoy

Scientists Now Listening for Whales in New York Waters With Real-time Acoustic Buoy

June 27, 2016

Scientists working for WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) New York Aquarium and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) now have an “ear” for the New York region’s biggest “voices and singers”— the whales of New York Bight. On Thursday, June 23rd,...

Swansea University Professor Receives Prestigious Fulbright Award to Study at WHOI

Swansea University Professor Receives Prestigious Fulbright Award to Study at WHOI

June 26, 2016

David Lamb, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Swansea University in Wales, will conduct research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) as part of an All Disciplines Scholar Fulbright Award—one of the most prestigious and selective scholarship programs...

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...