The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, non-profit facility dedicated to the study of all aspects of oceanographic research and engineering and to the education of future marine scientists. 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 five departments (Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering, Biology, Geology & Geophysics, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry, and Physical Oceanography), four institutes focused on interdisciplinary areas of study (ocean life, coastal ocean, ocean and climate change, and ocean exploration), and a Marine Policy Center. The bulk of the Institution’s funding comes from peer-reviewed grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation and other government agencies, augmented by foundations and private donations.
WHOI-operated ships carry research scientists around the globe to study all aspects of the world’s oceans. The WHOI fleet includes two large research vessels (R/V Atlantis and the soon-to-arrive R/V Neil Armstrong); coastal craft, including R/V Tioga; and a wide range of underwater vehicles, including assets maintained and operated by the National Deep Submergence Facility—the human-occupied submersible Alvin, remotely operated vehicle Jason, and autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry.
WHOI also offers graduate and post-graduate studies in virtually all areas of marine science through a joint program with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as Semester at WHOI and Summer Student Fellowship program for undergraduates majoring in science- or engineering-related fields. Additional education and outreach programs offered through WHOI and its Ocean Science Exhibit Center cater to teachers, K-12 students, as well as casual visitors of all ages.