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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

WHOI and NOAA Fisheries Release New North Atlantic Right Whale Health Assessment Review

February 25, 2021

North Atlantic right whales are a critically endangered species with less than 366 left on the planet Woods Hole, Mass. (February 25, 2021) — Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) along with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries have released...

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...

Oceanus Magazine

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...

Illuminating the Ocean with Sound

Illuminating the Ocean with Sound

April 26, 2017
The Amazing Acquired Phototroph!

The Amazing Acquired Phototroph!

April 20, 2017

Bent over her microscope, Holly Moeller finds the single-celled organisms she examines “utterly charming to look at.” They are fringed all around with hairlike cilia. “It looks like they’re wearing a hula skirt, and they use the skirt to propel...

The Hotspot for Marine Life

The Hotspot for Marine Life

April 13, 2017
Spring Arrives Earlier in the Ocean Too

Spring Arrives Earlier in the Ocean Too

March 20, 2017

Warmer oceans are triggering phytoplankton to start their annual blooms up to four weeks earlier than usual—a signal of how climate change can have far-reaching impacts on marine ecosystems. From 2003 to 2016, scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution monitored...