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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

Why Haven't the Cod Come Back?

Why Haven’t the Cod Come Back?

September 12, 2013

“This place is a historic treasure,” said Eric Robillard. But you wouldn’t think of it that way at first glance. The building is hard to find, a nondescript warehouse located on a street full of them. The only signals that...

An Ocean Instrument Is Born

An Ocean Instrument Is Born

September 5, 2013

Every new ocean instrument goes through growing pains. But the Submersible Incubation Device, nicknamed SID, has been a particularly long time coming. It started more than 30 years ago as a gleam in the eyes of microbiologist Craig Taylor and...

Seabirds Face Risks from Climate Change

Seabirds Face Risks from Climate Change

August 29, 2013

The research expedition ended in near-disaster. Stephanie Jenouvrier, aboard the ship Marion Dufresne II, was heading to the Southern Ocean to study seabirds. On Nov. 14, 2012, while making a stopover at tiny windswept Ile de la Possession in the...

Marine Mammals Meet Modern Medicine

Marine Mammals Meet Modern Medicine

August 23, 2013
Caller IDs for Whales

Caller IDs for Whales

July 25, 2013

Imagine extraterrestrials come to Earth, seeking to understand human life. They dangle recording devices beneath the clouds or occasionally tag people with retrievable recorders. They collect thousands of bits of conversations—from individuals and congregations of people, at cocktails parties, Thanksgiving...

Tangled Up in Fishing Gear

Tangled Up in Fishing Gear

May 21, 2013
Art Meets Science in a Book called Bloom

Art Meets Science in a Book called Bloom

May 15, 2013

When conditions of light and nutrients align in the surface waters of the ocean, tiny single-celled algae called phytoplankton respond with explosive growth and reproduction in a phenomenon known as a phytoplankton bloom. “As scientists looking in the microscope, we...

Decoding the Mystery Fish

Decoding the Mystery Fish

April 19, 2013

Few marine animals capture biologists’ imaginations more than the mysterious, almost mythical coelacanth, a 5-foot-long fish that was thought to have gone extinct in the age of dinosaurs—until a live one was found in 1938. This week an international team...

The Synergy Project, Part II

The Synergy Project, Part II

February 22, 2013

Back in my high school, and maybe yours too, kids naturally separated into cliques—jocks, punks, preppies, hippies, and at the extremes of the mythical left- and right-hemisphere brain spectrum, nerds and the artsy types. The latter two never spoke to...

The Synergy Project

The Synergy Project

February 15, 2013

Back in my high school, and maybe yours too, kids naturally separated into cliques—jocks, punks, preppies, hippies, and at the extremes of the mythical left- and right-hemisphere brain spectrum, nerds and the artsy types. The latter two never spoke to...