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Research Highlights

WHOI in the News

A Rusting Oil Tanker Off the Coast of Yemen Is an Environmental Catastrophe Waiting to Happen. Can Anyone Prevent It?

May 14, 2021
Viviane Menezes, a marine scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, has described the Red Sea as being like a “big lagoon” with “everything connected.” An oil spill at any time of year would be disastrous, she says, but seasonally variable weather and tidal patterns make contingency planning difficult. In the summer, Red Sea currents would drag an oil slick south, threatening Eritrea and Djibouti, and potentially entering the Gulf of Aden. In winter, circular currents would swirl more of the oil north.

Right Camera Could Protect Endangered Whales

January 8, 2021

Scientist hopes his smart system can reduce ship collisions with North Atlantic right whales. A new technology on the horizon may help to reduce one of those threats, however.

Science is the way forward

November 30, 2020

By definition, science seeks to avoid bias, remain independent, refute falsehoods, and seek answers based on evidence, reason, and consensus. An editorial writen by Peter de Menocal and Richard W. Murray.

United States Contributions to Global Ocean Plastic Waste

October 25, 2020

MPC Research Specialist, Hauke Kite-Powell, has recently been appointed to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee to study U.S. contributions to global ocean plastic waste.

The Lungs of the Earth: Shifting a Metaphor from Superstition to Science

October 13, 2020
In a new article in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Aria Ritz Finkelstein and Oceanographer Emeritus Porter Hoagland address the discourse surrounding ocean deoxygenation. They argue that, while describing deoxygenation with sloppy policy metaphors can hinder effective marine governance, using well-constructed metaphors can help clarify ways that policymakers can effectively address the problem.

The $500 Billion Question: What’s the Value of Studying the Ocean’s Biological Carbon Pump?

September 15, 2020

new paper published in the journal Science of the Total Environment from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) puts an economic value on the benefit of research to improve knowledge of the biological carbon pump and reduce the uncertainty of ocean carbon sequestration estimates.

Marine Labs on the Water’s Edge Are Threatened by Climate Change

January 17, 2020

At the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, Robert S.C. Munier, the vice president for marine facilities and operations, said that the facility was feeling the effects of climate change already in a battering of the existing dock.

The Ocean’s Eerie Twilight Zone is in Murky Legal Water

September 5, 2019

“The most striking thing is just how far down it is and how the light dissolves away,” says Joel Llopiz, a biologist with Woods Hole Oceanographic.

The Lawless High Seas May Soon Gain Protections Under a Groundbreaking Ocean Treaty

August 20, 2019

The high seas are legally defined as waters that don’t fall under any single nation’s exclusive economic zone. That means they technically belong to everyone. It also means they’re hard to protect against activities like fishing or mining because they’re beyond any single nation’s jurisdiction, explained Porter Hoagland, a senior research specialist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Saving the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales

May 29, 2019

News & Insights

A canoe sits idle in Ulukhaktok, one of several Arctic Inuit communities trying to cope with food insecurity rates that are estimated to be five times the level of food insecurity measured for households in Canada. (Photo by Paul Labn, Oceans North)

Hunger in the Arctic prompts focus on causes, not symptoms

November 5, 2020

As Arctic Inuit communities try to cope with extreme food insecurity, researchers look for answers

Uncharted Water

Uncharted waters

July 16, 2020

Our global ocean will change dramatically over the next few decades. What might it look like, and how will humans adapt?

right whale video

WHOI joins effort to accelerate marine life protection technology

April 22, 2020

WHOI has teamed up with Greentown Labs and Vineyard Wind to launch the Offshore Wind Challenge. The program, which is also partnering with New England Aquarium, calls on entrepreneurs to submit proposals to collect, transmit, and analyze marine mammal monitoring data using remote technologies, such as underwater vehicles, drones, and offshore buoys.

Aria Finkelstein crafts policy to help legislators manage the twilight zone

April 15, 2020

Aria Ritz Finkelstein began her career hoping to help craft laws for the management of natural resources on land, until a fateful sailboat convinced her to do it for the sea

Shells

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

December 5, 2019

Shellfish aquaculture is thriving in New England, but future growth in the industry could be stunted as coastal waters in the region become more acidic. Researchers at WHOI have developed a way to link nutrient load reductions to improvements in the health of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, which may an important step toward cleaner and less acidic harbors in the Baystate.

Hauke Kite-Powell

Public Talk: Shellfish Aquaculture–Food and Economic Development in East Africa

August 1, 2019

To feed a growing population, the world needs more healthy protein from the sea. Nowhere is this more evident than in coastal communities of East Africa.

News Releases

U.S Naval Academy (USNA) vessels dock at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

July 16, 2021

Woods Hole, WHOI campus now a stop on the USNA summer sailing team’s route On Friday, July 15, five USNA sailing vessels carrying a total of 50 U.S. Navy personnel docked at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s waterfront facilities, the first…

WHOI and NOAA Release Report on U.S. Socio-economic Effects of Harmful Algal Blooms

April 7, 2021

Woods Hole, Mass. – Harmful algal blooms (HABs) occur in all 50 U.S. states and many produce toxins that cause illness or death in humans and commercially important species. However, attempts to place a more exact dollar value on the…

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…

The $500 billion question: what’s the value of studying the ocean’s biological carbon pump?

September 10, 2020

A new study puts an economic value on the benefit of research to improve knowledge of the biological carbon pump and reduce the uncertainty of ocean carbon sequestration estimates.

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.…

Report reveals ‘unseen’ human benefits from ocean twilight zone

January 22, 2020

A new report from researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) reveals for the first time the unseen—and somewhat surprising—benefits that people receive from the ocean’s twilight zone. Also known as the “mesopelagic,” this is the ocean layer just beyond the sunlit surface.

Bay State Aquaculture Projects Get Green Light from National Sea Grant Program

Bay State Aquaculture Projects Get Green Light from National Sea Grant Program

October 31, 2017

Two new grants to the Woods Hole Sea Grant program totaling more than $650,000 are part of a national strategic investment in aquaculture and will support research aimed at expanding aquaculture production in Massachusetts.

Oceanus Magazine

Dumping Iron and Trading Carbon

Dumping Iron and Trading Carbon

January 10, 2008

Debating the idea of fertilizing the ocean with iron can feel a little like riding a seesaw. On the up side is iron’s eye-catching potential to set off enormous plankton blooms, triggering large reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide. But further…

Lessons from Nature, Models, and the Past

Lessons from Nature, Models, and the Past

January 9, 2008

The first part of biogeochemist John Martin’s famous prediction—“Give me half a tanker of iron, and I’ll give you an ice age”—has been proved partly right: Iron is the only thing standing in the way of plankton blooms in some…

What Are the Possible Side Effects?

What Are the Possible Side Effects?

January 8, 2008

Most of the ocean food chain is too small to see, but that doesn’t mean the effects of iron fertilization will be, too. “The purpose, if one is going to do iron fertilization, is to increase the amount of marine…

Will Ocean Iron Fertilization Work?

Will Ocean Iron Fertilization Work?

January 7, 2008

In this age of satellites, it’s fairly easy to answer the basic question of whether adding iron to the ocean can stimulate a plankton bloom. When storms over land blow iron-rich dust into the sea, satellite images show marbled swaths…

Fertilizing the Ocean with Iron

Fertilizing the Ocean with Iron

November 13, 2007

“Give me half a tanker of iron, and I’ll give you an ice age” may rank as the catchiest line ever uttered by a biogeochemist. The man responsible was the late John Martin, former director of the Moss Landing Marine…

A Modest Proposal to Sustain Lobsters and Lobstermen

A Modest Proposal to Sustain Lobsters and Lobstermen

July 7, 2006

A new study by a WHOI scientist and a former lobsterman suggests a provocative lobster management strategy that offers economic benefits to the lobster fishermen, while invigorating lobster stocks.

Do Fishing Regulations Lead to More Accidents?

Do Fishing Regulations Lead to More Accidents?

May 25, 2006

Fishermen have argued that regulations about when and where they can catch fish have caused more sinkings and fatal accidents at sea. But a new statistical analysis by Woods Hole researchers has found no hard evidence to support that argument.

'Seasonal Pump' Moves Water Between Ocean and Aquifers

‘Seasonal Pump’ Moves Water Between Ocean and Aquifers

November 10, 2005

Hydrologists Ann Mulligan of WHOI and Holly Michael and Charles Harvey of MIT have cleared up a mystery of why so much salty water emerges from aquifers into the coastal ocean. The researchers discovered a counterintuitive seasonal pumping system at work.

A Whole New Kettle of Fish

A Whole New Kettle of Fish

August 25, 2005

With most of the world?s fisheries already fully exploited or overexploited, the wild catch will not meet increasing worldwide demand for seafood?which the U.S. Department of Commerce projects will triple by 2025. The United States also imports nearly 70 percent of the seafood Americans consume, resulting in an $8 billion shellfishing industry trade deficit.

In and Out of Harm's Way

In and Out of Harm’s Way

August 25, 2005

Just a few more miles or a few more minutes. That’s what scientists and some federal managers think it would take to improve the plight of the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale. No more than 350 survive, and ship…