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Research Highlights

News & Insights

Mining ancient dust from the ocean’s loneliest spot

September 24, 2020

Researchers investigate dust from the ocean’s farthest point from land to reconstruct the climactic history of the Southern Hemisphere, and understand how micronutrients have influenced biological productivity in this oceanic desert.

Working from Home: Mallory Ringham

July 2, 2020

WHOI-MIT joint program student outfits her basement to do vital work on a marine carbon sensor

oil spill

A dangerous leak of diesel fuel in the Arctic

June 18, 2020
plastics by the numbers

The many lifetimes of plastics

June 15, 2020

Infographics strive to give us a sense of how long plastic goods will last in the environment. But is this information reliable? The findings of a new study from WHOI may surprise you.

toxins story

Are natural toxins in fish harmful?

May 28, 2020

Marine life has been naturally producing toxic chemicals well before chemical companies were manufacturing PCBs. But are these naturally-produced compounds as harmful as man-made environmental pollutants, and do those pose a human health threat?

Working from Home: Matt Long

May 7, 2020

A marine chemist spends his time at home tinkering on a high-tech buoy in the basement, proving that being homebound doesn’t mean you can’t think big.

Our Radioactive Ocean: Ken Buesseler

April 30, 2020

Ken Buesseler joins the hosts of Future Hindsight Podcast to talk about the safety of the Pacific Ocean, the natural occurrence of radioactivity in our environment, and a citizen scientist project for oceanic testing.

Why Sunlight Matters for Marine Oil Spills

April 30, 2020

A decade of research since the Deepwater Horizon disaster has revealed how sunlight—its importance long understated in oil spill science—substantially alters petroleum floating at the sea surface.

per

Finding medical answers in the ocean

March 19, 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.

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

February 6, 2020

A marine geochemist discusses her passion for coral reefs, how volatile compounds in the ocean affect their health, and a new type of sensor that is shedding light on these interactions.

News Releases

Porites coral

Ocean acidification causing coral ‘osteoporosis’ on iconic reefs

August 27, 2020

Scientists have long suspected that ocean acidification is affecting corals’ ability to build their skeletons, but it has been challenging to isolate its effect from that of simultaneous warming ocean temperatures, which also influence coral growth. New research from the...

New paper addresses the mix of contaminants in Fukushima wastewater

August 6, 2020

Nearly 10 years after the Tohoku-oki earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant and triggered an unprecedented release radioactivity into the ocean, radiation levels have fallen to safe levels in all but the waters closest to the...

Benjamin Van Mooy

WHOI receives $2.7M from Simons Foundation to study nutrients, microbes that fuel ocean food web

July 23, 2020

The Simons Foundation has awarded Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists Dan Repeta and Benjamin Van Mooy two grants totaling $2.7 million to study key processes that help fuel the health of our ocean and planet. Repeta’s research will focus...

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....

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...

Oceanus Magazine

Uncovering the Ocean's Biological Pump

Uncovering the Ocean’s Biological Pump

April 25, 2014

Dan Ohnemus clearly remembers the highlight of his fourth-grade class in Bourne, Mass. He and his classmates made a satellite call to scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) who were off the Galápagos Islands testing a new generation of...

Drug Discovery in the Ocean

Drug Discovery in the Ocean

April 17, 2014
Of The River and Time

Of The River and Time

March 26, 2014

The Fraser River in western Canada is flowing with tiny time capsules. Inside them is a fascinating history of Earth’s landscape and climate. For the past four years, I have travelled across the river basin to gather these time capsules...

The Mesocosm Lab

The Mesocosm Lab

February 20, 2014
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...

Behold the 'Plastisphere'

Behold the ‘Plastisphere’

December 17, 2013

Scientists have discovered a diverse multitude of microbes colonizing and thriving on flecks of plastic that have polluted the oceans—a vast new human-made flotilla of microbial communities that they have dubbed the “plastisphere.” In a study published July 2013 in...

An Oddity about Lyme Disease Bacteria

An Oddity about Lyme Disease Bacteria

November 6, 2013

Scientists have confirmed that the pathogen that causes Lyme disease can exist without iron, a metal that all other life needs. By substituting manganese for iron to make essential enzymes, the bacteria can elude immune system defenses. To cause disease,...

Corals' Indispensable Bacterial Buddies

Corals’ Indispensable Bacterial Buddies

October 30, 2013

Coral reefs have long been viewed as complex undersea communities, bustling with life. But that vibrant image is more than skin deep, says Amy Apprill. “Generally, when people think of reefs, they think of corals and fish, but there is...

Mining Marine Microbes for New Drugs

Mining Marine Microbes for New Drugs

October 10, 2013
The Scientist and the Poet

The Scientist and the Poet

June 13, 2013

Alice Alpert, a graduate student in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program, studies what the chemistry of coral skeletons can tell us about the ocean in the past. Before coming to WHOI, she worked in Antarctica as a lab technician. There she...