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Research Highlights

News & Insights

The Search for Life

February 17, 2021

This week, NASA’s Perseverance Rover lands on Mars to continue the search for life on the Red Planet. At the same time, WHOI scientists and engineers are applying their experience exploring the deepest parts of planet Earth to the quest…

Can icebergs be towed to water-starved cities?

January 6, 2021

WHOI researchers are now investigating the feasibility of towing icebergs to alleviate water shortages.

Can seismic data mules protect us from the next big one?

October 7, 2020

Ocean scientists leverage game-changing technologies to improve our understanding of the global ocean’s most dangerous earthquake faults and enable more advanced warnings for seismic risk.

greenland ice

Will melting glaciers cool the climate?

July 29, 2020

As glaciers melt at unprecedented rates, WHOI’s Simon Pendleton is looking back to historical records to predict whether this new cool runoff will slow ocean circulation and cool the northern hemisphere––findings which could mean adjustments to some climate predictions.

Art Maxwell

Celebrating an oceanographic life

July 1, 2020

WHOI looks back at the legacy of co-founder of MIT-WHOI Joint Program, former Director of Research and Provost at WHOI, Art Maxwell

Anne Cohen named one of Eco Magazine’s top 15 coral researchers of 2020

June 23, 2020

WHOI’s Anne Cohen glean recognition from the coral community as notable researcher for her work on the Super Reefs Initiative

Marshall islands coral

New tool sheds light on coral reef erosion

May 13, 2020

The Marshall Islands is home to some pristine coral reefs, but storm-driven waves could erode these natural coastal barriers. A new wave abrasion simulator offers insights on coral erosion rates that could aid coastal planning in this low-lying island nation and elsewhere.

Working from home: Chris German

April 30, 2020

As I reached the end of April, I realized that too much of my time was getting consumed by zoom calls and email in a bid to over-compensate for not being able to interact with people on-site at WHOI. So…

Jim Broda

James E. Broda Receives 2019 Edward A. Flinn III Award

March 27, 2020

James E. Broda was awarded the 2019 Edward A. Flinn III Award at the AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 11 December 2019 in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given “for an individual or small group who personifies AGU’s motto of ‘unselfish cooperation in research’ through their facilitating, coordinating, and implementing activities.”

naked-scientists-podcast

Podcast on The Naked Scientists: Microorganisms discovered under seabed

March 24, 2020

Scientists have discovered life in the deepest parts of the rock floor under the oceans – tiny microorganisms that live in the ‘lower oceanic crust’. Melanie Jans-Singh reports for The Naked Scientists.

News Releases

A recent reversal in the response of western Greenland’s ice caps to climate change

September 9, 2021

New collaborative research from the WHOI and five partner institutions published today in Nature Geoscience, reveals that during past periods glaciers and ice caps in coastal west Greenland experienced climate conditions much different than the interior of Greenland. Over the past 2,000 years, these ice caps endured periods of warming during which they grew larger rather than shrinking.

Surviving extreme heat

August 19, 2021

A team led by Anne Cohen, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, received $1.75M in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study how coral reefs survive extreme heat events caused by climate change. The multidisciplinary project taps into expertise across four WHOI departments to uncover the oceanographic and biological processes that enable corals to survive marine heatwaves.

Study Examines the Role of Deep-Sea Microbial Predators at Hydrothermal Vents

July 15, 2021

Researchers Emphasize the Need for Baseline Information of Microbial Food Webs The hydrothermal vent fluids from the Gorda Ridge spreading center in the northeast Pacific Ocean create a biological hub of activity in the deep sea. There, in the dark…

Icebergs drifting from Canada to Southern Florida

June 16, 2021

A newly developed iceberg computer model helped the researchers understand the timing and circulation of meltwater and icebergs through the global oceans during glacial periods, which is crucial for deciphering how past changes in high-latitude freshwater forcing influenced shifts in climate. 

Some Forams Could Thrive with Climate Change, Metabolism Study Finds

May 27, 2021

Oceanic deoxygenation is increasingly affecting marine ecosystems. A new paper that examines two foram species found that they demonstrated great metabolic versatility to flourish in hypoxic and anoxic sediments where there is little or no dissolved oxygen, inferring that the forams’ contribution to the marine ecosystem will increase with the expansion of oxygen-depleted habitats.

WHOI President & Director Dr. Peter de Menocal Recognized as AAAS Fellow

November 24, 2020

Dr. Peter de Menocal, President and Director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Study reconstructs ancient storms to predict changes in a cyclone hotspot

November 16, 2020

Intense tropical cyclones are expected to become more frequent as climate change increases temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. But not every area will experience storms of the same magnitude

Antarctic Ice Sheet Loss Expected to Affect Future Climate Change

September 25, 2020

The research team reports that their new models with the added ice melt information reveal important interacting processes and demonstrate a need to accurately account for meltwater input from ice sheets in order to make confident climate predictions.

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 and colleagues reveal how microorganisms could survive in rocks nestled thousands of feet beneath the ocean floor in the lower oceanic crust.

Oceanus Magazine

Lily Sanborn

How historic hurricanes can help predict storm intensity

June 24, 2021

New research into past hurricanes could help predict the strength of future storms, and inform infrastructure planning and emergency management decisions in southern New England

From Mars to the deep

April 28, 2021

Navigation technology that helped NASA’s Perseverance rover land safely on Mars could guide robots in another unexplored terrain that’s much closer to home: the deepest trenches of the ocean.

Finding answers in the ocean

November 10, 2020

The test being used to diagnose the novel coronavirus—and other pandemics like AIDS and SARS—was developed with the help of an enzyme isolated from a microbe found in marine hydrothermal vents as well as freshwater hot springs.

Peter de Menocal

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

October 29, 2020

On October 1st, Dr. 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 man and the scientist—and get a glimpse of what WHOI’s future may hold under his leadership.

Art Maxwell

Celebrating an oceanographic life

July 1, 2020

WHOI looks back at the legacy of co-founder of MIT-WHOI Joint Program, former Director of Research and Provost at WHOI, Art Maxwell

Walking on polar ice

Oceans of Change

February 27, 2020

Oceans of Change WHOI scientists learn how the ocean shapes—and is shaped by—global climate By Madeline Drexler (Photo by Simon Buchou on Unsplash) “THE SEA NEVER CHANGES, AND ITS WORKS, FOR ALL THE TALK OF MEN, ARE WRAPPED IN MYSTERY.”…

How Do Corals Build Their Skeletons?

How Do Corals Build Their Skeletons?

November 12, 2018

WHOI scientists discovered precisely how ocean acidification affects coral skeletons’ a factor that will help scientists predict how corals throughout the world will fare as the oceans become more acidic.

Searching for ‘Super Reefs’

Searching for ‘Super Reefs’

October 15, 2018

Some corals are less vulnerable to ocean acidification. Can the offspring from these more resilient corals travel to other reefs to help sustain more vulnerable coral populations there?

The Discovery of Hydrothermal Vents

The Discovery of Hydrothermal Vents

June 11, 2018

In 1977, WHOI scientists made a discovery that revolutionized our understanding of how and where life could exist on Earth and other planetary bodies.

How Is the Seafloor Made?

How Is the Seafloor Made?

March 21, 2018

An ultrasound for the Earth? Using sound waves, a graduate student peers into the crystalline texture of the tectonic plates that cover our planet’s surface.