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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

CINAR Fellows in Quantitative Fisheries and Ecosystems Science Announced

December 18, 2020

The Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region (CINAR), led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center are pleased to announce the appointment of five CINAR Fellows in Quantitative Fisheries and Ecosystems Science: Daniel Cullen...

New study takes comprehensive look at marine pollution

December 3, 2020

Paper finds ocean pollution is a complex mix of chemicals and materials, primarily land-based in origin, with far-reaching consequences for environmental and human health, but there are options available for world leaders   For centuries, the ocean has been viewed...

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,...

Oceanus Magazine

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...

Mixing Oil and Water

Mixing Oil and Water

June 23, 2004

Drop by drop—that is how most oil enters the oceans. Catastrophic spills make the headlines, but it is the chronic dribble, dribble, dribble of seemingly small inputs that supplies most of the oil polluting the world’s oceans. In recent decades...

Is Life Thriving Deep Beneath the Seafloor?

Is Life Thriving Deep Beneath the Seafloor?

April 12, 2004

In 1991, scientists aboard the submersible Alvin were in the right spot at the right time to witness something extraordinary. They had sailed into the aftermath of a very recent volcanic eruption on the seafloor and found themselves in a...

The Evolutionary Puzzle of Seafloor Life

The Evolutionary Puzzle of Seafloor Life

March 22, 2004

From the far reaches of their empire, the Romans brought back all sorts of beasts for their menageries and gladiator spectacles—lions from Africa, bears from northern Europe, and ibexes from the deserts of the Middle East. If the empire had...

Deep-Sea Diaspora

Deep-Sea Diaspora

December 1, 1998

1998— When spectacular biological communities were first discovered at hydrothermal vents in 1977, biologists puzzled over two main questions: How did these oases of large and abundant animals persist in the deep sea, where food is typically scarce? And how...