Research Highlights

News & Insights

The Rise of Orpheus (Part 1)

October 2, 2019

WHOI’s new hadal robot moves one step closer to exploring the limits of life on Earth and beyond By Evan Lubofsky | October 8, 2019 Orpheus, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is deployed off the New England continental shelf during...

Michael Moore

After 33 years, Michael Moore is still free to be curious at WHOI

September 26, 2019

By Daniel Hentz | September 26, 2019 Biologist Michael Moore, director of the Marine Mammal Center at WHOI, sits at the microscope he has used for more than 30 years. (Photo by Daniel Hentz, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Michael Moore...

Summer Resident

Chris Linder wins Photography Award for story on Adélie penguins

September 25, 2019
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...

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

Genetic Patterns of Deep-Sea Coral Provide Insights into Evolution of Marine Life

October 23, 2012

The ability of deep-sea corals to harbor a broad array of marine life, including commercially important fish species, make these habitat-forming organisms of immediate interest to conservationists, managers, and scientists. Understanding and protecting corals requires knowledge of the historical processes...

WHOI Scientists and Engineers Partner with World-Renowned Companies to Market Revolutionary New Instruments

July 19, 2012

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers have partnered with two companies to build and market undersea technology developed at WHOI: the Imaging FlowCytobot, an automated underwater microscope, and BlueComm, an underwater communications system that uses light to provide wireless transmission...

Tiny Protozoa May Hold Key to World Water Safety

December 9, 2010

Right now, it looks a little like one of those plastic containers you might fill with gasoline when your car has run dry. But Scott Gallager is not headed to the nearest Mobil station. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)...

Innovative Tagging Technique May Help Researchers Better Protect Fish Stocks

August 7, 2007

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are often hailed as a way to halt serious declines in the abundance of marine species that have been over-fished. But even as nations begin to set aside protected parcels of ocean for marine reserves, the...

Explorers to Use New Robotic Vehicles to Hunt for Life and Hydrothermal Vents on Arctic Seafloor

June 21, 2007

Scientists and engineers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have just completed a successful test of new robotic vehicles designed for use beneath the ice of the Arctic Ocean. The multidisciplinary research team will now use those vehicles to...

Sea Urchin Genome Yields New Understanding of “Chemical Defensome”

November 13, 2006

The Sea Urchin Genome Sequencing Consortium, a group of 240 researchers from more than 70 institutions in 11 countries, recently announced the sequencing of the California purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus.  Three biologists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)...

Beaked Whales Perform Extreme Dives to Hunt Deepwater Prey

October 19, 2006

A study of ten beaked whales of two poorly understood species shows their foraging dives are deeper and longer than those reported for any other air-breathing species.  This extreme deep-diving behavior is of particular interest since beaked whales stranded during...

Island Ferries Take on Role of Research Vessels Collecting Data about Nantucket Sound

August 29, 2006

Ferries that connect Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are taking on another role – research vessels.   Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist Scott Gallager and colleagues have installed a package of sensors on the...