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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.


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 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

The Bottom of the Ocean On Top of Your Coffee Table

The Bottom of the Ocean On Top of Your Coffee Table

June 1, 2016

Here’s a way to journey to the seafloor without leaving your living room or classroom. Five deep-sea scientists have created a comprehensive, lavishly illustrated book that transports readers to Earth’s last frontier—where volcanoes, boiling hot springs, undersea mountain chains, bizarre...

Illuminating an Unexplored Undersea Universe

Illuminating an Unexplored Undersea Universe

June 1, 2016

Twenty-five years ago, the Hubble Telescope was launched to look out to the vast darkness of outer space. It captured thousands of images of previously unknown stars, galaxies, and clouds of matter, literally expanding the boundaries of human vision and...

A New Eye on Deep-Sea Fisheries

A New Eye on Deep-Sea Fisheries

June 1, 2016

Imagine that officials charged with setting deer-hunting limits had to assess the herd’s abundance by flying over forests at night. That’s a little like what the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) is up against to set fishing quotas for deep-sea...

A New Whale Species Is Discovered in the Wild

A New Whale Species Is Discovered in the Wild

June 1, 2016

Scientists have discovered a thriving population of Omura’s whales—a species that hadn’t even been identified until 2003 and had never before been documented in the wild. Omura’s whales were misidentified as similar-looking Bryde’s whales until thirteen years ago, when Japanese...

See Those Black Dots? They’re Penguins. Now Count Them.

See Those Black Dots? They’re Penguins. Now Count Them.

June 1, 2016

That’s exactly what a team of researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) did on a recent expedition to the Danger Islands off the Antarctic Peninsula. The islands are home to Adélie penguin “supercolonies” like this one, which can number...

Endangered Whales Get a High-Tech Check-Up

Endangered Whales Get a High-Tech Check-Up

May 2, 2016

Scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are studying the health of critically endangered whales—using drones. This spring, a research team led by WHOI biologist Michael Moore and NOAA researchers John Durban...

Journey Into the Ocean's Microbiomes

Journey Into the Ocean’s Microbiomes

March 18, 2016

The next time you encounter scientists, ask them about the Eureka moment that spawned their research pursuits. You might hear about ideas that emerged from scribbles on the back of napkins at a noisy bar or from bubbles during a...

Recipes for Antibiotic Resistance

Recipes for Antibiotic Resistance

February 11, 2016

As they trekked through a thick layer of snow, Megan May and her Ph.D. advisor Rebecca Gast lugged their water sampling equipment down an unplowed access road toward a frozen coastline. They drilled through the ice, fruitlessly hitting sand in...



January 13, 2016
Sex, Games, and the Evolution of Gender Gaps

Sex, Games, and the Evolution of Gender Gaps

January 4, 2016

Ever been unlucky in love? Well, biology might have slightly stacked the odds against you, especially if you’re a guy. About 105 boys are born for every 100 girls, which scales up to an extra 30 million men worldwide. That...