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toxins story

Are natural toxins in fish harmful?

May 28, 2020

Are natural toxins in fish harmful? Researchers investigate ‘PCB-like’ chemicals made by Mother Nature By Evan Lubofsky | May 26, 2020 Illustration by Natalie Renier, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution A thick slab of whale blubber weighing as much as...

Working from Home: Matt Long

May 7, 2020

For this marine chemist, being homebound doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish big things. WHOI scientist Matthew Long’s hobby and scientific interests overlap significantly, allowing him to continue some of his MACHINE Lab (Marine Chemistry, Instrumentation, and Engineering) operations at home. He has constructed...

Our Radioactive Ocean: Ken Buesseler

April 30, 2020

Why Sunlight Matters for Marine Oil Spills

April 30, 2020
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Finding answers in the ocean

March 19, 2020

In times of uncertainty, the deep sea provides potential solutions By Elise Hugus | March 19, 2020 Deep-sea hydrothermal vents harbor diverse microbes whose enzymes can be used in diagnostic tests, like the ones to detect the novel coronavirus and...

Kalina Grabb studies some of the ocean’s most reactive chemicals

February 6, 2020

By Daniel Hentz | February 5, 2020 MIT-WHOI Joint Program student, Kalina Grabb, works with a portable measurement system, DISCO, to discern the levels of highly reactive chemical agents that exist in the water column, namely superoxides. (Photo by Daniel...

The oceans are losing oxygen, and faster than we thought

December 12, 2019

WHOI scientists weigh in on IUCN ocean deoxygenation report By Evan Lubofsky | December 11, 2019 Low-oxygen “dead zones” and phytoplankton blooms like those shown here extending into the Gulf of Mexico are expanding in the global ocean due to...

Ken Buesseler

The Ocean Twilight Zone’s crucial carbon pump

December 11, 2019

When CO₂ enters the ocean, where does this heat-trapping gas go? By Madeline Drexler | January 9, 2020 WHOI marine chemist Ken Buesseler (left) and research specialist Steven Pike prepare to deploy a sediment trap to gain insight into the...

Shells

Ocean acidification gets a watchful eye in New England aquaculture ‘hot spot’

December 5, 2019

By Evan Lubofsky | December 3, 2019 Coastal ocean acidification sets off a chain of chemical reactions that lowers the ocean’s pH, making it more acidic. Acidification can affect many marine organisms, especially those that build their shells from calcium...

Julie Huber and Bill Nye Science Guy

WHOI’s Julie Huber on Science Rules! with Bill Nye

November 7, 2019

Oceanus Magazine

A DISCO in the Ocean

A DISCO in the Ocean

January 30, 2019

How do you measure a chemical in the ocean that exists for less than a minute? This was the conundrum facing Colleen Hansel, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). She studies superoxide, a molecule so unstable that...

Investigating Oil from the USS Arizona

Investigating Oil from the USS Arizona

December 7, 2018
Sweat the Small Stuff

Sweat the Small Stuff

December 3, 2018

An estimated eight million tons of plastics enter our oceans each year, yet only one percent can be seen floating at the surface. This is the first in a three-part article series about how researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution...

Journey to the Bottom of the Sea

October 4, 2018

My eyelids were tightly pressed down as I mustered all the tricks I could think of to get myself to sleep. I rolled around with no sign of getting close to slumber. I had no ticking bedside alarm clock to...

Marshes, Mosquitoes, and Sea Level Rise

Marshes, Mosquitoes, and Sea Level Rise

October 2, 2018

In the 1930s, the Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project dug approximately 1,500 miles of ditches across marshes on the Cape to drain their water and reduce the number of ponds where mosquitoes can breed. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution biogeochemist Amanda...

The Unseen World on Coral Reefs

The Unseen World on Coral Reefs

September 18, 2018

The waters around a coral reef are brimming with life. Not just with the bounty of fish, sea urchins, and anemones we see when we snorkel, but with innumerable unseen microbes in the waters surrounding them—a microbiome that is inextricably...

A Change Has Come in the Arctic

A Change Has Come in the Arctic

June 18, 2018

I was about fifteen minutes into my nap when I heard the announcement: “Polar bear. Port beam. One hundred yards. Huge.” I paused to consider: Would this be worth losing some of the only precious moments of sleep I could...

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....

A Long Trail of Clues Leads to a Surprise About Oil Spills

A Long Trail of Clues Leads to a Surprise About Oil Spills

April 25, 2018

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was unquestionably a tragic disaster. But many scientists found silver linings—a way to extract some good from a bad situation. This unprecedented oil spill provided a unique opportunity to...

Reassessing Guidelines for Oil Spill Cleanups

Reassessing Guidelines for Oil Spill Cleanups

April 25, 2018

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) disaster released more oil into the Gulf of Mexico than any other spill in United States history. When oil spills happen, one of the first things responders do is refer to their guidance documents about...

News Releases

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...

New geochemical tool reveals origin of Earth’s nitrogen

April 15, 2020

Volcanic gas emissions in Northern Iceland. The research team collected gas samples here that were analyzed as part of this study. (Photo by Peter Barry, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Novel analysis method may also be useful for monitoring volcanic...

Healy, Polarstern

A rapidly changing Arctic

April 8, 2020

Shelf sediments, freshwater runoff from rivers brings more carbon, nutrients to North Pole A new study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their international colleagues found that freshwater runoff from rivers and continental shelf sediments are bringing...

Buesseler sediment trap

The ocean’s ‘biological pump’ captures more carbon than expected

April 6, 2020

Scientists have long known that the ocean plays an essential role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, but a new study shows that the efficiency of the ocean’s “biological carbon pump” has been drastically underestimated. (Video by Elise Hugus, UnderCurrent...

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...

WHOI-engineered DISCO allows scientists to measure highly reactive superoxide on coral reefs

December 12, 2019

Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) successfully conceived and tested a portable device, DISCO, that performed the first in situ measurements of a highly reactive type of oxygen, known as superoxide, which may play an integral role in the...

Laura Weber collects a syringe sample from seawater surrounding an Orbicella faveolata coral colony in Jardines de la Reina, Cuba.

New Study Finds Distinct Microbes Living Next to Corals

May 21, 2019

Symbiotic algae living inside corals provide those animals with their vibrant color, as well as many of the nutrients they need to survive. That algae, and other microbes within the bodies of corals, have been extensively studied—yet until now, researchers...

Biofilm in a natural seep in Costa Rica. Credit: Peter Barry.

Microbes May Act as Gatekeepers of Earth’s Deep Carbon

April 24, 2019

Two years ago an international team of scientists visited Costa Rica’s subduction zone, where the ocean floor sinks beneath the continent and volcanoes tower above the surface. They wanted to find out if microbes can affect the cycle of carbon...

Sunlight Reduces Effectiveness of Dispersants Used in Oil Spills

Sunlight Reduces Effectiveness of Dispersants Used in Oil Spills

April 25, 2018

Two new studies have shown that sunlight transforms oil on the ocean surface more significantly and quickly than previously thought. The phenomenon considerably limits the effectiveness of chemical dispersants, which are sprayed during oil spills to break up floating oil...