Research Highlights

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grey seal in gillnet

Underwater cameras tackle tough questions for fishery

September 3, 2019

Ocean scientists and fishermen team up to document seal-fishing net interactions By Evan Lubofsky | September 4, 2019 Depredation—when seals and other marine animals prey on fish caught in net—can be costly both economically and ecologically. It can reduce the...

WHOI in the Christian Science Monitor: How the deep sea could unlock outer space

August 28, 2019

“When hydrothermal vents were discovered in 1977, it very much flipped biology on its end,” says Julie Huber, an oceanographer who studies life in and below the seafloor at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) on Cape Cod. “People knew that...

Blue shark

A tunnel to the Twilight Zone

August 2, 2019

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, wouldn’t it be nice to just...

Once more into the Twilight Zone

August 1, 2019

On July 25, scientists embarked on the 2019 Ocean Twilight Zone expedition aboard NOAA Ship  Henry B. Bigelow. A team made up of WHOI and NOAA Fisheries researchers departed Newport, R.I., Thursday morning and headed south towards the edge of...

Fish with Flashlights

May 30, 2019

3 ways ocean twilight zone creatures use bioluminescence By Evan Lubofsky | May 30, 2019 Animation by Natalie Reiner and Craig LaPlante, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Animation by Natalie Reiner, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution In 1637, when French philosopher and...

clinging Jellyfish

Scientists investigate global spread of stinging jellyfish

May 22, 2019

Transportation and warmer ocean temperatures could play a role By Evan Lubofsky | May 22, 2019 A clinging jellyfish spreads its tentacles as it drifts downwards. (Video by Björn Källström, Gothenburg Marine Biological Laboratory) A clinging jellyfish spreads its tentacles...

Many ocean twilight zone animals have adapted to their dark surroundings with larger-than-normal eyes. (Photo by Paul Caiger, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Bringing Light into Darkness

May 15, 2019

Ocean twilight zone scientists tackle the challenge of bringing light to a place of perpetual darkness By Evan Lubofsky | May 15, 2019 WHOI scientists and engineers are testing out different types of LED lights in the ocean twilight zone...

Virgin Island Corals in Crisis

May 7, 2019

Fast-spreading coral disease ravages reefs of St. Thomas By Evan Lubofsky | May 7, 2019 Brain corals in the U.S. Virgin Islands, like the one shown here, are exhibiting the same types of large, stark-white lesions as diseased corals in...

A disentanglement team attempts to free a right whale from fishing gear. EcoHealth Alliance, NOAA Permit #932-1905.

Untangling Impacts on Right Whales

May 3, 2019

Whale scientists look for new ways to mitigate entanglements of North Atlantic Right Whales in fishing lines By Hannah Piecuch, Evan Lubofsky | May 07, 2019 A disentanglement team attempts to free a right whale from fishing gear. EcoHealth Alliance,...

Marine ecologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is exploring new, non-invasive approaches to measuring the body mass of gray seals. Photo by Michelle Shero

Seal Spy

May 1, 2019

Drones helps WHOI scientist measure the body mass of mother and pup seals during lactation By Evan Lubofsky | May 1, 2019 Marine ecologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is exploring new, non-invasive approaches to measuring the body mass of...

Oceanus Magazine

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...

The Secret Tuna Nursery

The Secret Tuna Nursery

November 20, 2018

It was a little after 10 p.m., and several hundred miles off the coast of Massachusetts, Chrissy Hernandez was counting eyeballs. Scattered across a dinner plate-sized sieve in front of her was the harvest from yet another tow with a...

A Lobster Trap for Microbes

A Lobster Trap for Microbes

October 22, 2018

When you sprinkle even a few tiny flakes of fish food into an aquarium, it’s pretty easy to gauge how fish react. They typically swim fast and furiously straight toward the sinking particles and chow down before the food can...

The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

August 21, 2018

In 2015, 239 poisoned sea lions washed ashore on the California coast. The culprit? A single-celled organism one-tenth the width of a human hair. The microscopic organism is a tiny cell with a long Latin name: Pseudo-nitzschia. On its own, one...

Life at the Edge

August 14, 2018

What makes the shelf break front such a productive and diverse part of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean? To find out, a group of scientists on the research vessel Neil Armstrong spent two weeks at sea in 2018 as part of...

Sharks Take 'Tunnels' into the Depths

Sharks Take ‘Tunnels’ into the Depths

July 23, 2018

As the Gulf Stream current curves away from North America and heads east across the Atlantic, it swirls at its edges. If one of these swirls is large enough, it will pinch off, sending a whirling pocket of water—more than...

The Discovery of Hydrothermal Vents

The Discovery of Hydrothermal Vents

June 11, 2018

“Wait a minute. What is that?” It was February 1977, and Robert Ballard, a marine geologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), sat aboard the research vessel Knorr 400 miles off the South American coast, staring at photos before him....

News Releases

Establishing World-Class Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring in Okinawa

September 13, 2013

Enduring two typhoons over a three-week period in August, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers, working in partnership with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), have successfully deployed an OceanCube Observatory System in waters off Motobu...

Acidifying oceans could spell trouble for squid

June 1, 2013

Acidifying oceans could dramatically impact the world’s squid species, according to a new study led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers and just published online in the journal PLOS ONE. Because squid are both ecologically and commercially important, that...

Study reveals how fishing gear can cause slow death of whales

May 21, 2013

Using a “patient monitoring” device attached to a whale entangled in fishing gear, scientists showed for the first time how fishing lines changed a whale’s diving and swimming behavior. The monitoring revealed how fishing gear hinders whales’ ability to eat...

New Robotic Instruments to Provide Real-Time Data on Gulf of Maine Red Tide

May 7, 2013

A new robotic sensor deployed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Gulf of Maine coastal waters may transform the way red tides or harmful algal blooms (HABs) are monitored and managed in New England. The instrument was launched at...

Experts Call for Network to Monitor Marine Biodiversity

April 22, 2013

A group of oceanographic experts is calling for the establishment of a national network to monitor the diversity of marine life, a key bellwether of ocean and human health. Their work is described in the April 11 issue of BioScience. Lead...

Research Enables Fishermen to Harvest Lucrative Shellfish on Georges Bank

April 10, 2013

Combined research efforts by scientists involved in the Gulf of Maine Toxicity (GOMTOX) project, funded by NOAA’s Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) program, and administered by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), have led to...

Researchers Issue Forecast for ‘Moderate’ New England Red Tide in 2013

March 25, 2013

New England is expected to experience a “moderate” red tide this spring and summer, report NOAA-funded scientists studying the toxic algae that cause blooms in the Gulf of Maine. The “red tide” is caused by an alga Alexandrium fundyense, which...

Scientists Use Marine Robots to Detect Endangered Whales

January 9, 2013

Two robots equipped with instruments designed to “listen” for the calls of baleen whales detected nine endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of Maine last month. The robots reported the detections to shore-based researchers within hours of hearing...

Study Looks at Gray Seal Impact on Beach Water Quality

December 18, 2012

Scientists from the newly created Northwest Atlantic Seal Research Consortium (NASRC) are using data collected by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to investigate whether seals may impact beach water quality along Outer Cape Cod. A growing population of...

Ketten

WHOI Biologist Ketten Named AAAS 2012 Fellow

November 29, 2012

Darlene Ketten of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. A marine...