The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI, acronym pronounced /ˈhuːi/HOO-ee) is a private, nonprofit research and higher education facility dedicated to the study of marine science and engineering.
Established in 1930 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, it is the largest independent oceanographic research institution in the U.S., with staff and students numbering about 1,000.
The "new" building built in 1925 (left) and older Crane building on right.
The Institution is organized into six departments, 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, United States 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. Ships operated by WHOI carry research scientists throughout the world's oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels (Atlantis and Neil Armstrong), the coastal craft 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.
WHOI offers graduate and post-doctoral studies in marine science. There are several fellowship and training programs, and graduate degrees are awarded through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). WHOI is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. WHOI also offers public outreach programs and informal education through its Exhibit Center and summer tours. The Institution has a volunteer program and a membership program, WHOI Associate.
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. From 1950 to 1956, the director was Dr. Edward "Iceberg" Smith, an Arctic explorer, oceanographer and retired Coast Guardrear admiral.
In 1977 the institution appointed the influential oceanographer John Steele as director, and he served until his retirement in 1989.
The Institution has maintained a long and controversial business collaboration with the treasure hunter company Odyssey Marine. Likewise, WHOI has participated in the location of the San José galleon in Colombia for the commercial exploitation of the shipwreck by the Government of President Santos and a private company.
In 2019, iDefense reported that China's hackers had launched cyberattacks on dozens of academic institutions in an attempt to gain information on technology being developed for the United States Navy. Some of the targets included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The attacks have been underway since at least April 2017.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution develops technology for the United States Navy, including ocean battlespace sensors, unmanned undersea vehicles, and acoustic navigation and communication systems for operations in the Arctic. The Institution is also working on Project Sundance for the Office of Naval Research.
B. H. Ketchum Award
The B. H. Ketchum award, established in 1983, is presented for innovative coastal/nearshore research and is named in honor of oceanographer Bostwick H. "Buck" Ketchum. The award is administered by the WHOI Coastal Ocean Institute and Rinehart Coastal Research Center.
2004 David M. Karl (Professor of Oceanography, University of Hawaii) – for "his contributions to microbial oceanography, especially the development and leadership of long-term, integrated studies of chemical, physical, and biological variations in oceanic environments."
1996 Bill J. Jenkins (Senior Scientist, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry, WHOI) – for "his outstanding contributions to the development of the tritium-helium dating technique and its application to problems in ocean physics and biology and geochemistry, as well as his exceptional character and selfless dedication to the advance of science at WHOI."
1993 Robert Weller (Senior Scientist, Physical Oceanography; Director, CICOR; WHOI)
1992 Alice Louise Alldredge (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Mary Wilcox Silver (University of California, Santa Cruz) – for "their creative contributions to biological and chemical oceanography, particularly in demonstrating the importance of ‘marine snow’ as a major contributor to the vertical flux of particulate matter throughout the worlds oceans."
1988 Hans Thomas Rossby (University of Rhode Island) and Douglas Chester Webb (Webb Research) – for "Their creative contributions to ocean technology and oceanography, particularly in the development of the SOFAR float and advancing out knowledge of Lagrangian ocean dynamics."
1984 Arnold L. Gordon (Columbia University) for his "dedication in completing the Antarctic Circumpolar Survey"
1980 Holger W. Jannasch (WHOI) – for his "creative contributions to marine microbiology by providing us with an understanding of the fundamentals of microbial processes in the sea and the dynamics of oceanic food chains."
1979 Wolfgang Helmut Berger (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego) – for his "creative contributions to paleoceanography by opening the doors of perception on the controlling factors governing carbonate sedimentation in the oceans, and for providing us with a unifying conceptual model for interpreting the geological evolution of ocean basins."
^Kujawinski, Elizabeth B; Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (2000). The effect of protozoan grazers on the cycling of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in marine systems. Cambridge, Mass.; Woods Hole, Mass.: Massachusetts Institute of Technology ; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. OCLC 682113775.
^"Oil Spill Research : Chris Reddy's Lab". www.whoi.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
^Sosik, Heidi M. "Heidi M. Sosik | Speaker | TED". www.ted.com. Retrieved 2019-11-06.