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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

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

WHOI CSI Lab Investigates Rare Whales

WHOI CSI Lab Investigates Rare Whales

January 30, 2014

On a wintry Sunday morning in early January, a jogger came across what appeared to be a dolphin in shallow water, on a beach in Long Island, N.Y. He phoned the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, setting in...

Can Squid Abide Ocean's Lower pH?

Can Squid Abide Ocean’s Lower pH?

January 9, 2014

To most people, squid are calamari—delicious when fried. But to Max Kaplan and Aran Mooney, squid are linchpins of the ocean, and another reason to be concerned about climate change. “Squid are at the center of the ocean ecosystem—nearly all...

WHOI Scientists Garner Awards in 2013

WHOI Scientists Garner Awards in 2013

December 23, 2013

Scott Doney, senior scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department, received the 2013 A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science. The Royal Society of Canada gives the annual award to an oceanographer who has made significant contributions in...

Dropping a Laboratory into the Sea

Dropping a Laboratory into the Sea

December 12, 2013

A new instrument that can provide early warnings of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and other toxic organisms in the ocean has successfully passed its first long-term test at sea. The revolutionary instruments, called Environmental Sample Processors, or ESPs, are molecular biology...

The Return of the Seals

The Return of the Seals

November 26, 2013

There was once a bounty on gray seals in New England; hunters in Massachusetts and Maine got $5 if they turned in a nose or skin. From the 1890s until the 1960s, an estimated 135,000 seals were killed, and seals...

The Decline and Fall of the Emperor Penguin?

The Decline and Fall of the Emperor Penguin?

November 21, 2013

At nearly four feet tall, the Emperor penguin is Antarctica’s largest seabird—and thanks to films like “March of the Penguins” and “Happy Feet,” it’s also one of the continent’s most iconic. If global temperatures continue to rise, however, the large...

Tiny. Ubiquitous. Vital. Delicate. Vulnerable.

Tiny. Ubiquitous. Vital. Delicate. Vulnerable.

October 23, 2013
Tiny. Ubiquitous. Vital. Delicate. Vulnerable.

Tiny. Ubiquitous. Vital. Delicate. Vulnerable.

October 23, 2013
An Ocean That's No Longer Wild

An Ocean That’s No Longer Wild

October 18, 2013

Like most fathers, Simon Thorrold plays tag with his young daughter. But Thorrold, a biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, also plays tag with 30-foot-long whale sharks, like the one above that’s looking straight at you. Give us a brief...

Sassy Scallops

Sassy Scallops

October 9, 2013

Months of experiments gave Meredith White ample time to observe her laboratory subjects: scallops. And perhaps for them to observe her, too. Resting in their trays, drawing water across their gills for food and oxygen, the scallops reveal rows of...