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Research Highlights

News Releases

Antarctic Ice Sheet Loss Expected to Affect Future Climate Change

September 25, 2020

Research simulates dramatic climate impacts for future Antarctic ice sheet melt In a new climate modeling study that looked at the impacts of accelerated ice melt from the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) on future climate, a team of climate scientists...

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....

plutonic rocks

Microbes far beneath the seafloor rely on recycling to survive

March 11, 2020

Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) reveal how microorganisms could survive in rocks nestled thousands of feet beneath the ocean floor in the lower oceanic crust, in a study published on March 11 in Nature. The first analysis of...

Missoula floods

Study reveals Missoula Floods impact on past abrupt climate changes

February 28, 2020

A new study by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and colleagues shows for the first time how massive flood events in the eastern North Pacific Ocean—known as the Missoula Floods—may have in part triggered abrupt climate changes in...

For now, river deltas gain land worldwide

January 23, 2020

Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and colleagues found that delta areas worldwide have actually gained land in the past 30 years, despite river damming. However, recent land gains are unlikely to last throughout...

Study weighs deep-sea mining’s impact on microbes

January 16, 2020

The essential roles that microbes play in deep-sea ecosystems are at risk from the potential environmental impacts of mining, found a new paper by researchers at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and colleagues. The study...

Origin of Massive Methane Reservoir Identified

August 20, 2019

New research from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) published Aug. 19, 2019,  in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science provides evidence of the formation and abundance of abiotic methane—methane formed by chemical reactions that don’t involve organic matter—on...

NASA Makes Dual Investment in Ocean Worlds Research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

June 21, 2019

Agency funds five-year effort to understand the potential for life in outer solar system and establishes a new Network for Ocean Worlds The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will invest in a major new research program headquartered at the...

The mixing of organic-rich and sediment-rich waters of the Rio Negro and Solimoes River in the amazon basin.

Organic Carbon Hides in Sediments, Keeping Oxygen in Atmosphere

June 12, 2019

A new study from researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Harvard University may help settle a long-standing question—how small amounts of organic carbon become locked away in rock and sediments, preventing it from decomposing. Knowing exactly how...

Human-Engineered Changes on Mississippi River Increased Extreme Floods

Human-Engineered Changes on Mississippi River Increased Extreme Floods

April 4, 2018

A new study has revealed for the first time the last 500-year flood history of the Mississippi River. It shows a dramatic rise in the size and frequency of extreme floods in the past century—mostly due to projects to straighten,...

Oceanus Magazine

Who is Peter de Menocal? A Conversation with WHOI’s new President & Director

October 29, 2020

On October 1, 2020, Peter de Menocal assumed the role of President & Director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the 11th person to hold that title since the Institution was founded in 1930. In a wide-ranging conversation, we meet the...

How Do Corals Build Their Skeletons?

How Do Corals Build Their Skeletons?

November 12, 2018

Corals are under a lot stress these days—from pollution, overfishing, sea level rise, warmer seawater temperatures, and the increasing acidity of the oceans. Among these stressors, the impact of ocean acidification is often the most insidious and difficult to detect....

Searching for ‘Super Reefs’

Searching for ‘Super Reefs’

October 15, 2018

A newborn coral—shaped like a very tiny grain of rice—drifts through the open ocean. It gets one chance to choose a home where it might survive. After settling down, it never moves again. If it finds the right place, the...

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....

How Is the Seafloor Made?

How Is the Seafloor Made?

March 21, 2018

Board a ship in Los Angeles and head southwest until you lose sight of land. Then keep going, and going, and going, until you reach the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Ocean. There’s nothing to see there but water...

Unearthing Long-Gone Hurricanes

Unearthing Long-Gone Hurricanes

March 16, 2018

On Aug. 30, 2017, as the morning sun rose over the dusty savanna of West Africa, few were aware that the rustling breeze announced the birth of a terrifying but still unknown event. Who amongst us would recognize the gentle...

A Double Whammy for Corals

A Double Whammy for Corals

January 22, 2018

Scientists know that gradually rising ocean temperatures can push corals past a threshold and cause them to bleach. But combine this chronic stress with an acute short-term weather shift, and the amplified impacts can be sudden and devastating. That’s what...

Taking Earth’s Inner Temperature

Taking Earth’s Inner Temperature

January 22, 2018

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution wasn’t an obvious fit for Emily Sarafian. “I always felt a little out of place here, because I don’t study the ocean, really,” said Sarafian, a recent graduate student of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. At WHOI,...

Will Oxygen in the Ocean Continue to Decline?

Will Oxygen in the Ocean Continue to Decline?

January 22, 2018

The living, breathing ocean may be slowly starting to suffocate. The ocean has lost more than two percent of its oxygen over the past-half century, and oxygen-depleted “dead zones” continue to expand throughout the global ocean. This deoxygenation poses a...

Pop Goes the Seafloor Rock

Pop Goes the Seafloor Rock

June 20, 2017