Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, nonprofit research and higher education facility dedicated to the study of all aspects of marine science and engineering and to the education of marine researchers. Established in 1930, it is the largest independent oceanographic research institution in the U.S., with staff and students numbering about 1,000. The Institution is organized into six departments, four ocean institutes—ocean life, coastal ocean, ocean and climate change, deep ocean exploration—the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Ocean Research, and a marine policy center. Its shore-based facilities are located in the village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and a mile and a half away on the Quissett Campus. The bulk of the Institution's funding comes from grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation and other government agencies, augmented by foundations and private donations.
WHOI scientists, engineers, and students collaborate to develop theories, test ideas, build seagoing instruments, and collect data in diverse marine environments. Working in all the world’s oceans, their research agenda includes: geological activity deep within the earth; plant, animal, and microbial populations and their interactions in the ocean; coastal erosion; ocean circulation; ocean pollution; and global climate change.
Ships operated by WHOI carry research scientists throughout the world’s oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels (RV Atlantis (AGOR-25), R/V Knorr), the coastal craft R/V Tioga, small research craft such as the dive-operation work boat Echo, the deep-diving human-occupied submersible Alvin, the tethered, remotely-operated vehicle Jason/Medea, and autonomous underwater vehicles such as the REMUS and SeaBED. A new ship, RV Neil Armstrong (AGOR-27) is under construction and is scheduled to be completed in 2014. The RV Neil Armstrong will also replace the R/V Knorr, which has been used by WHOI since 1970.
WHOI offers graduate and post-graduate studies in marine science. There are several fellowship and traineeship programs, and graduate degrees are awarded through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or by the Institution itself. WHOI also offers other outreach programs and informal public education through its Exhibit Center and summer tours. The Institution has a volunteer program and a membership program, WHOI Associates.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to research and education to advance understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the Earth system, and to communicating this understanding for the benefit of society.
In 1927, a National Academy of Sciences committee concluded that it was time to "consider the share of the United States of America in a worldwide program of oceanographic research." The committee's recommendation for establishing a permanent independent research laboratory on the East Coast to "prosecute oceanography in all its branches" led to the founding in 1930 of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
A $2.5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation supported the summer work of a dozen scientists, construction of a laboratory building and commissioning of a research vessel, the 142-foot (43 m) ketch Atlantis, whose profile still forms the Institution's logo.
WHOI grew substantially to support significant defense-related research during World War II, and later began a steady growth in staff, research fleet, and scientific stature. Over the years, WHOI scientists have made seminal discoveries about the ocean that have contributed to improving US commerce, health, national security, and quality of life.
On 1 September 1985, a joint French-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution identified the location of the wreck of the RMS Titanic which sank off the coast of Newfoundland 15 April 1912.
In February 2008, Dr. Susan K. Avery became the new president and director of the institution. Avery, an atmospheric physicist, is the ninth director in WHOI's 77-year history, and the first woman to hold the position.
- R/V Knorr (AGOR-15) - 279 feet long
- R/V Atlantis (AGOR-25) - 274 feet long, mothership of the Alvin submarine
- R/V Tioga (WHOI-owned) - 60 feet long
- RV Neil Armstrong (AGOR-27) (under construction) - 238 feet long
Small boat fleet
WHOI also operates many small boats, used in inland harbors, ponds, rivers, and coastal bays. All are owned by the Institution itself.
- Motorboat Echo - 29 feet long (mainly used as a work boat to support dive operations, also the newest small research craft at WHOI)
- Motorboat Mytilus - 24 feet long (mainly used in water too shallow for larger craft and is a versatile coastal research boat)
- Motorboat Calanus - 21 feet long (mainly used in local water bodies such as Great Harbor, Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Bay)
- Motorboat Limulus - 13 feet long (mainly used to shuttle equipment to larger craft and as a work platform for near-shore research tasks)
- Rowboat Orzrus - 12 feet long (mainly used in harbors and ponds where motor craft are not permitted)
WHOI also has developed numerous underwater autonomous and remotely operated vehicles for research:
- dsv-2 ALVIN – the most famous of their equipment, a human-occupied vehicle.
- Jason – a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).
- Sentry – an autonomous underwater vehicle and successor to ABE
- Nereus (HROV, a type of Remotely Operated Vehicle) – A hybrid autonomous underwater vehicle.
- Remus – Remote Environment Monitoring UnitS, an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).
- SeaBED – an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle optimized for high-resolution seafloor imaging.
- Spray Glider - a remotely operated vehicle, used to collect data about the salinity, temperature, etc. about an area
- Slocum Glider - another remotely operated vehicle, with functions similar to the functions of the Spray Glider
- CAMPER - a towed vehicle used to collect samples from the seabed of the Arctic Ocean
- Seasoar - a submarine towed by a ship
- TowCam - a submarine with cameras that is towed by a ship along the ocean floor to take photographs
- Video Plankton Recorder - a submarine with microscopic camera systems, towed along by a ship to take videos of plankton
- ABE – Autonomous Benthic Explorer, another Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.
- 52-Hertz whale
- Liquid Jungle Lab, a tropical research station in Pacific Panama operated by WHOI
- Marine Biological Laboratory, a neighboring but administratively unrelated institution in Woods Hole
- Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a similar research facility associated with the University of California, San Diego and located in La Jolla, California
- The Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, a smaller oceanographic facility located at Rutgers University in New Jersey
- "Departments, Centers, and Labs". whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- "Ocean Institutes". whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- "Ensuring the future of ocean science". whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- "History and Legacy". whoi.edu. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- "John Steele - obituary". The Telegraph. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
- Woods Hole Scientific Community Publications
- Woods Hole buildings, aerial photo of
- Oceanus Magazine, The Magazine that Explores the Oceans in Depth
- MIT/WHOI Joint Program
- Project Oceanology