Skip to content

Research Highlights

News & Insights

Paul Caiger hunts for things that glow in the Ocean Twilight Zone

January 14, 2020

By Daniel Hentz Paul Caiger descends to the ocean twilight zone on the OceanX submersible, Nadir, with pilot Alan Scott at the controls. (Photo by © OceanX Media) Paul Caiger is a fish biologist, marine photographer and postdoctoral investigator at...

The Ocean’s Moveable Feast

January 8, 2020

Today, warming waters are redrawing the lines of the marine food web By Madeline Drexler | January 9, 2020 Warm ocean temperatures caused large-scale ecological disruption that affected different species, including lobster. (© AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty as...

Sea anemones with jet lag?

December 17, 2019

Not exactly, but scientists are investigating the internal clock that keeps inchworm-sized anemones ticking By Evan Lubofsky | December 18, 2019 (Illustration by Natalie Renier, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) For humans, light is a strong environmental time cue that keeps...

Bioacoustic alarms are sounding on Cape Cod

December 5, 2019

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 of four common dolphins on Scussett Beach,...

Red Sea ‘hotspot’ study reveals behaviors of whale sharks

November 25, 2019

A whale shark swims near Shib Habil reef in the Red Sea. (Photo by Simon Thorrold, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) A new study of whale shark movements near a known hotspot in the Red Sea sheds light on their behaviors...

Searching for the limits of life: Taylor Heyl

November 7, 2019

By Evan Lubofsky | October 23, 2019 WHOI deep-sea biologist Taylor Heyl (in foreground) explores Lydonia Canyon in the OceanX submersible NADIR during a dive in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument. (Photo by Luis Lamar for National Geographic)...

orpheus

The Rise of Orpheus

November 7, 2019

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 continental shelf during...

A swordfish swims near the ocean’s surface off the coast of Miami, Florida. Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Washington tagged a group of five swords there to track their movements in and out of the ocean twilight zone, a dimly-lit layer of the ocean between 200 and 1000 meters deep (656 to 3,280 feet). (Photo by Steve Dougherty Photography).

Following the elusive sword

November 5, 2019

Satellite tags allow researchers to “see” how swordfish move in and out of the ocean twilight zone By Evan Lubofsky | November 4, 2019 A swordfish swims near the ocean’s surface off the coast of Miami, Florida. Researchers from Woods...

Marine fireworks

WHOI partners with 4Ocean to celebrate Jellyfish this month

November 5, 2019
WHOI Senior Scientist Joan Bernhard holds a synthetic model of a foram species known as Astrammina

Falling in love with foraminifera

October 30, 2019

A marine geobiologist falls for the ‘brains’ and beauty of an ancient single-celled creature By Evan Lubofsky | October 29, 2019 WHOI Senior Scientist Joan Bernhard holds a synthetic model of a foram species known as Astrammina triangularis that changes...

Oceanus Magazine

A Summer of Science by the Sea, 2014 (Part I)

A Summer of Science by the Sea, 2014 (Part I)

September 18, 2014

It’s a science major’s dream job: live on Cape Cod for the summer and do ocean research with top-notch scientists as a Summer Student Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). This year, as in every summer since 1959, undergraduates...

From Penguins to Polar Bears

From Penguins to Polar Bears

August 12, 2014

As air and sea temperatures rise, the United States and other nations are experiencing more and bigger storms, droughts, and wildfires. But the effects of climate change may be greatest in Earth’s polar regions. In Antarctica and the Arctic, thinner...

A Haven for Whale Sharks

A Haven for Whale Sharks

July 30, 2014
Alvin's Animals

Alvin‘s Animals

July 2, 2014
WHOI CSI Lab Investigates Rare Whales

WHOI CSI Lab Investigates Rare Whales

January 30, 2014

On a wintry Sunday morning in early January, a jogger came across what appeared to be a dolphin in shallow water, on a beach in Long Island, N.Y. He phoned the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, setting in...

Can Squid Abide Ocean's Lower pH?

Can Squid Abide Ocean’s Lower pH?

January 9, 2014

To most people, squid are calamari—delicious when fried. But to Max Kaplan and Aran Mooney, squid are linchpins of the ocean, and another reason to be concerned about climate change. “Squid are at the center of the ocean ecosystem—nearly all...

WHOI Scientists Garner Awards in 2013

WHOI Scientists Garner Awards in 2013

December 23, 2013

Scott Doney, senior scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department, received the 2013 A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science. The Royal Society of Canada gives the annual award to an oceanographer who has made significant contributions in...

Dropping a Laboratory into the Sea

Dropping a Laboratory into the Sea

December 12, 2013

A new instrument that can provide early warnings of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and other toxic organisms in the ocean has successfully passed its first long-term test at sea. The revolutionary instruments, called Environmental Sample Processors, or ESPs, are molecular biology...

The Return of the Seals

The Return of the Seals

November 26, 2013

There was once a bounty on gray seals in New England; hunters in Massachusetts and Maine got $5 if they turned in a nose or skin. From the 1890s until the 1960s, an estimated 135,000 seals were killed, and seals...

The Decline and Fall of the Emperor Penguin?

The Decline and Fall of the Emperor Penguin?

November 21, 2013

At nearly four feet tall, the Emperor penguin is Antarctica’s largest seabird—and thanks to films like “March of the Penguins” and “Happy Feet,” it’s also one of the continent’s most iconic. If global temperatures continue to rise, however, the large...

News Releases

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...

Blue shark

Blue sharks use eddies for fast track to food

August 7, 2019

Researchers tagged more than a dozen blue sharks off the U.S. Northeast Coast and monitored them for nine months. (Video by Camrin Braun, University of Washington and Tane Sinclair-Taylor, James Cook University.)   Blue sharks use large, swirling ocean currents,...

Basking shark

SharkCam reveals secret lives of basking sharks in UK

August 6, 2019

Underwater footage captured by the REMUS SharkCam observing the behavior of basking sharks off the west coast of Scotland. (Credit: Amy Kukulya, @oceanrobotcam, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) known as the REMUS SharkCam has been used...

An illustration of an organism infected with the giant virus known as Mimivirus. Credit: Shutterstock

Surprising Enzymes Found in Giant Ocean Viruses

June 5, 2019

Findings could represent new drug targets for human pathogens A new study led by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Swansea University Medical School furthers our knowledge of viruses—in the sea and on land— and their potential to...

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...