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Research Highlights

News & Insights

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.

whale and glider

Teaming up for right whales

July 8, 2020

Researchers from WHOI and NOAA combine underwater gliders with passive acoustic detection technology to help protect endangered species from lethal ship strikes and noise from offshore wind construction

Working from Home: Scott Lindell

June 25, 2020

Though pandemic slows countless research projects, kelp breeding program can’t stop. A WHOI community rallies to help Scott Lindell and his lab sort over 2,200 blades.

Bottlenose dolphins continue to compensate for humans in spite of pandemic

June 11, 2020

Though vessel noise may be quieting down on the high seas, one coastal area in Florida is seeing an upswing in boat traffic according to local authorities, putting more pressure on the world’s longest-studied wild bottlenose dolphin community. A recent WHOI study suggests this is only the beginning of a larger trend.

News Releases

Study Sheds Light on Critically Endangered Beluga Whale Population

October 28, 2020

A team of scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and NOAA Fisheries are collaborating to help stem the decline of a critically endangered population of beluga whales in the Cook Inlet, Alaska.  A study recently published in Animal Microbiome outlines important first steps...

Epic Arctic Mission Ends

October 12, 2020

International climate research project marked by scientific surprises, logistical challenges  The German icebreaker Polarstern returned to its home port Oct. 12, 2020, after being frozen near the top of the world for nearly a year. The ship carried an international...

WHOI receives NOAA awards to study, predict harmful algal blooms

October 6, 2020

Projects will help enhance monitoring and determine socioeconomic impacts of blooms nationwide Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) were recently named in a list of 17 new research projects funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to...

WHOI Scientists Make Woods Hole Film Festival Appearance

July 17, 2020

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists appear in two shorts and a feature film at this year’s Woods Hole Film Festival (WHFF). In addition, scientists will also participate in Q&A sessions connected to three of the festival’s feature-length, ocean-themed entries....

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...

Oceanus Magazine

Risks and Remedies from the Sea

Risks and Remedies from the Sea

May 26, 2005

Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have embarked on a novel collaboration to investigate harmful algal blooms, ocean-borne pathogens, and potential pharmaceuticals from marine sources. Now in its...

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...