Skip to content
For WHOI personnel and vendors: COVID-19 Guidelines

Research Highlights

News & Insights

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.

Working from Home: Scott Lindell

June 25, 2020

Though pandemic slows countless research projects, kelp breeding program can’t stop. A WHOI community rallies to help Scott Lindell and his lab sort over 2,200 blades.

Bottlenose dolphins continue to compensate for humans in spite of pandemic

June 11, 2020

Though vessel noise may be quieting down on the high seas, one coastal area in Florida is seeing an upswing in boat traffic according to local authorities, putting more pressure on the world’s longest-studied wild bottlenose dolphin community. A recent WHOI study suggests this is only the beginning of a larger trend.

Carin Ashjian

Arctic researcher returns home to a pandemic

May 28, 2020
Becker working remotely

Lab shutdowns enable speedier investigation of coral disease

May 20, 2020

Despite labs shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WHOI microbiologists are working fast to solve a different kind of outbreak—one travelling below the ocean’s surface and ravaging coral reefs from Florida to the Caribbean.

As ice melts, emperor penguins march toward extinction

May 12, 2020

“Under a business-as-usual scenario, emperor penguins are marching towards extinction,” says Stéphanie Jenouvrier, a seabird biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Her team’s research indicates that if carbon emissions remain unchecked, 80 percent of the emperor colonies could be gone by 2100, leaving little hope for the species’ survival.

skomal and thorrold

Ocean Encounters: Sharks!

May 11, 2020

New insights into an iconic ocean predator.

carin ashjian

Boston Globe: WHOI scientist’s stay in the Arctic extended due to coronavirus

May 11, 2020

WHOI biologist Carin Ashjian has been studying zooplankton aboard a German icebreaker attached to an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean. Now, she’s experiencing an additional two months on the ship, as another team of scientists go through a period of quarantining before she can be replaced. (Photo by Serdar Sakinan)

right whale video

WHOI joins effort to accelerate marine life protection technology

April 22, 2020

WHOI has teamed up with Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind to launch the Offshore Wind Challenge. The program, which is also partnering with New England Aquarium, calls on entrepreneurs to submit proposals to collect, transmit, and analyze marine mammal monitoring data using remote technologies, such as underwater vehicles, drones, and offshore buoys.

News Releases

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,...

Report reveals ‘unseen’ human benefits from ocean twilight zone

January 22, 2020

Exclusive report Value Beyond View: Illuminating the human benefits of the ocean twilight zone Download now – it’s free! Did you know that there’s a natural carbon sink—even bigger than the Amazon rainforest—that helps regulate Earth’s climate by sucking up...

How microbes reflect the health of coral reefs

December 19, 2019

Microorganisms play important roles in the health and protection of coral reefs, yet exploring these connections can be difficult due to the lack of unspoiled reef systems throughout the global ocean. A collaborative study led by scientists at the Woods...

squid

Underwater pile driving noise causes alarm responses in squid

December 16, 2019

Exposure to underwater pile driving noise, which can be associated with the construction of docks, piers, and offshore wind farms, causes squid to exhibit strong alarm behaviors, according to a study by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers published Dec....

Whales may owe their efficient digestion to millions of tiny microbes

December 4, 2019

A study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that the microbial communities inside whales may play an important role in the digestion of one of the ocean’s most abundant carbon-rich lipids, known as a wax ester. Their...

SeaWorld & Busch Gardens conservation fund commits $900,000 to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales

November 14, 2019

The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund announced that it has committed $900,000 over the next three years in the fight to save the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale.  The announcement was made by Dr. Michael Moore of the Woods...

Oceanus Magazine

A Telescope to Peer into the Vast Ocean

A Telescope to Peer into the Vast Ocean

February 6, 2015

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

Bringing a Lab to the Seafloor

Bringing a Lab to the Seafloor

December 24, 2014

If you can’t bring the ocean into the laboratory, you have no choice but to take the lab into the sea. Marine biologists have always sought to conduct experiments to peer into the inner workings of marine ecosystems. Their holy...

The Waves Within the Waves

The Waves Within the Waves

December 18, 2014

If the 30-foot wave we were looking for had tumbled across the ocean’s surface that July day, it might have been mistaken for a monstrous rogue wave. But that’s not where this wave rolled. This wave surged within the ocean—deep...

Trouble in the Tropics

Trouble in the Tropics

November 26, 2014

On a tropical island vacation, one of the last things you want to worry about is food poisoning. Yet for many, a trip to the tropics includes a painful education in a mysterious food-borne illness called Ciguatera Fish Poisoning, or...

Big Questions About Tiny Bacteria

Big Questions About Tiny Bacteria

November 3, 2014

It’s 3 a.m., and Jesse McNichol is struggling to stay awake. Since midafternoon, he’s been in his lab, tending to a jumble of glassware, plastic tubing, and metal cylinders filled with microbes. He sighs, rubs his bloodshot eyes, and heads...

It's Hard to Kill a Killifish

It’s Hard to Kill a Killifish

October 1, 2014

“Somehow I just keep ending up back here,” laughed Lily Helfrich when commenting on her third summer working in a laboratory in Woods Hole. An early interest in biological sciences led the Falmouth native to work at the Marine Biological...

On the Trail of an Invader

On the Trail of an Invader

October 1, 2014

Anyone who knows Filip Buksa is likely not surprised that he decided to travel all the way to Woods Hole from the shores of Croatia for the summer. “Marine science came to me as continuing to work with what I...

A Summer of Science by the Sea, 2014 (Part II)

A Summer of Science by the Sea, 2014 (Part II)

October 1, 2014

It’s a science major’s dream job: live on Cape Cod for the summer and do ocean research with top-notch scientists as a Summer Student Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). This year, as in every summer since 1959, undergraduates...

Is Ocean Acidification Affecting Squid?

Is Ocean Acidification Affecting Squid?

September 26, 2014
Swimming in Low-pH Seas

Swimming in Low-pH Seas

September 18, 2014

Doriane Weiler grew up on the coast of California and remembers spending so much time at the beach as a child that she often had to be pulled out of the water before the tide swept her away. Now starting...