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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


— Biology

Scientists develop unique tag for tracking jellyfish and squid

How do you tag a jellyfish? It may sound like a metaphor for frustration, but it's a question that's occupying a team of scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The team has developed a new technology called Integrated Tracking of Aquatic orGanisms (ITAG), which is designed to place instruments on squid, jellyfish, and other small invertebrates as a way to provide detailed information about the animals and their habitat.

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— Environment

European climate at mercy of retreating sea ice

An international team of scientists has found that retreating sea ice between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans is linked to weakened air-sea heat exchange in the region. This, it warns, could result in a cooler climate in western Europe and an altered or slower Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which would have knock-on effects for the Gulf Stream and consequently for the atmosphere.

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— Robotics

Underwater robot provides first detailed, high-resolution 3D maps of Antarctic sea ice

Antarctic scientists have combined measurements provided by an underwater robot with existing satellite data to show that Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought. Their first-of-a-kind high-resolution 3D maps cover over 500,000 square meters in the Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land sectors of Antarctica, and they reveal heavy deformation in all three near-coastal regions that produces mean sea-ice draft (thickness of the submerged part of the ice) far in excess of ice drilling and ship-based measurements. This is a big leap forward in our ability to understand why and how the ice is changing on both small and large scales. Read More
— Marine

Upgraded Alvin submersible sets sail

You would think that a little sub built almost 50 years ago would be sitting in a museum somewhere, but Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Alvin, which launched in 1964, is still going strong. Owned by the US Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Alvin has completed a major US$41 million redesign and refit. The revamped submersible set sail on Saturday aboard its mothership R/V Atlantis for certification testing off the coast of Oregon and California. Read More
— Robotics

Autonomous marine robots used to detect and identify endangered whales

Every year between November and January, endangered North Atlantic right whales are thought to use an area off the coast of Maine known as the Outer Fall as a breeding ground. They are “thought to” because the ocean conditions at that time of year can make it difficult to locate them. Two autonomous marine robots called gliders have now been used as a real time whale-detection system for researchers and to warn boats in the area to slow down to avoid striking the marine mammals. Read More
— Science

Optical communications system and autonomous microscope to boost underwater research

It would definitely be an understatement to say that underwater research has its technical challenges. Remote-operated vehicles (ROVs) must be tethered to surface support vessels with unwieldy communications cables, deep-sea water samples have to be hauled to the surface for analysis ... or do they? Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution recently announced that it has partnered with two private companies, to market a couple of technologies that address both of those situations. Read More
— Marine

Using acoustic broadband to count fish in 'high-def'

It will be like going from black-and-white television to high definition color TV - that’s how researchers at America’s Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have envisioned an upcoming leap forward in undersea acoustic imaging. Tim Stanton and Andone Lavery have developed and tested two broadband acoustic systems that leave conventional single-frequency systems eating their dust... or water droplets, or whatever. Developed over 20 years, the new technology could revolutionize oceanography, and also has huge commercial and military potential. Read More
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