WHOI's educational role, at the graduate level, was formalized in 1968 with a change in its charter and the signing of an agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a Joint Program leading to doctoral (Ph.D. or Sc.D.) or engineer's degrees. Joint master's degrees are also offered in selected areas of the program. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is also authorized to grant doctoral degrees independently.

New theses are added as they are published.

Recent Submissions

  • Storm signatures in coastal ponds and marshes over the late Holocene 

    Castagno, Katherine (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-09)
    Tropical cyclones pose a growing threat to coastal populations, especially as both populations and infrastructure are increasingly concentrated along the eastern coast of the United States. This thesis seeks to characterize ...
  • Geophysical and geochemical constraints on submarine volcanic processes 

    Jones, Meghan R. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-09)
    Submarine volcanic systems form new oceanic crust, host unique chemosynthetic ecosystems, concentrate rare metals, and provide a conduit for chemical transfer from the Earth's interior to hydrosphere. Although our understanding ...
  • Advancing the theory and applications of Lagrangian Coherent Structures methods for oceanic surface flows 

    Filippi, Margaux (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-06)
    Ocean surface transport is at the core of many environmental disasters, including the spread of marine plastic pollution, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Fukushima nuclear contamination. Understanding and predicting ...
  • Lagrangian dispersion and deformation in submesoscale flows 

    Essink, Sebastian (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-06)
    Submesoscale currents, with horizontal length scales of 1-20 km, are an important element of upper ocean dynamics. These currents play a crucial role in the horizontal and vertical redistribution of tracers, the cascade ...
  • The Response of Ocean Salinity Patterns to Climate Change: Implications for Circulation 

    Levang, Samuel J. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-06)
    Global patterns of ocean salinity arise from the exchange of freshwater between the sea surface and the atmosphere. For a quasi-steady state system, these surface fluxes are balanced by compensating transports of salt in ...
  • Impacts of developmental exposures to the harmful algal bloom toxin domoic acid on neural development and behavior 

    Panlilio, Jennifer M. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-06)
    Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can produce potent neurotoxins that accumulate in seafood and affect human health. One HAB toxin of concern is domoic acid (DomA), a glutamate analog produced by the marine diatom Pseudo-nitzschia ...
  • Stratified and Stirred: Monsoon Freshwater in the Bay of Bengal 

    Spiro Jaeger, Gualtiero (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-06)
    Submesoscale ocean dynamics and instabilities, with characteristic scales 0.1–10 km, can play a critical role in setting the ocean’s surface boundary layer thickness and associated density stratification. Submesoscale ...
  • A Modeling Study of the Marine Biogeochemistry, Plankton Dynamics, and Carbon Cycle on the Continental Shelf Off the West Antarctic Peninsula 

    Schultz, Cristina (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-06)
    Over the past several decades, the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) has undergone physical and ecological changes at a rapid pace, with warming surface ocean and a sharp decrease in the duration of the sea ice season. The ...
  • Characterizing bacterial antibiotic resistance, prevalence, and persistence in the Marine Environment 

    May, Megan K. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-02)
    Antibiotics are naturally occurring chemicals in bacteria that were recently discovered and utilized by humans. Despite a relatively short time of use, anthropogenic use of antibiotics has increased natural levels of ...
  • The Influence of Heat Transport on Arctic Amplification 

    Fleming, Laura Elizabeth (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-02)
    The Arctic surface air temperature has warmed nearly twice as much as the global mean since the mid-20th century. Arctic sea ice has also been declining rapidly in recent decades. There is still discussion about how much ...
  • Statistical Models and Decision Making for Robotic Scientific Information Gathering 

    Flaspohler, Genevieve Elaine (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2018-09)
    Mobile robots and autonomous sensors have seen increasing use in scientific applications, from planetary rovers surveying for signs of life on Mars, to environmental buoys measuring and logging oceanographic conditions in ...
  • Computational analysis of the biophysical controls on Southern Ocean phytoplankton ecosystem dynamics 

    Rohr, Tyler (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-02)
    Southern Ocean net community productivity plays an out sized role in regulating global biogeochemical cycling and climate dynamics. The structure of spatial-temporal variability in phytoplankton ecosystem dynamics is largely ...
  • Genetic connectivity, adaptation, and phenotypic plasticity of corals and anemones under thermal stress 

    Rivera, Hanny Elizabeth (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-02)
    Under global climate change, our oceans are warming at an unprecedented rate. Increased temperatures represent a severe source of stress for many marine organisms. This thesis aims to understand how corals and anemones ...
  • The Production and Fate of Nitrogen Species in Deep-sea Hydrothermal Environments 

    Charoenpong, Chawalit N. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-02)
    Nitrogen (N) species in hydrothermal vent fluids serve as both a nutrient and energy source for the chemosynthetic ecosystems surrounding deep-sea vents. While numerous pathways have been identified in which N-species can ...
  • Distributional models of ocean carbon export 

    Barry, Brendan (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-02)
    Each year, surface ocean ecosystems export sinking particles containing gigatons of carbon into the ocean’s interior. This particle flux connects the entire ocean microbiome and constitutes a fundamental aspect of marine ...
  • Perception-driven optimal motion planning under resource constraints 

    Sayre-McCord, Thomas (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-02)
    Over the past few years there has been a new wave of interest in fully autonomous robots operating in the real world, with applications from autonomous driving to search and rescue. These robots are expected to operate ...
  • Observing Microbial Processes at the Microscale with In Situ Technology 

    Lambert, Bennett (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-02)
    Marine microbes are key drivers of biogeochemical transformations within the world’s oceans. Although seawater appears uniform at scales that humans often interact with and sample, the world that marine microbes inhabit ...
  • The mineralogy and chemistry of modern shallow-water and deep-sea corals 

    Farfan, Gabriela A. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2019-02)
    The architecture of coral reef ecosystems is composed of coral skeletons built from the mineral aragonite (CaCO3). Coral reefs are currently being threatened by ocean acidification (OA), which may lower calcification rates, ...
  • Scavenging and transport of thorium radioisotopes in the North Atlantic Ocean 

    Lerner, Paul (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2018-09)
    Many chemical constituents are removed from the ocean by attachment to settling particles, a process referred to as “scavenging.” Radioisotopes of thorium, a highly particle-reactive element, have been used extensively ...
  • Radium isotopes as tracers of boundary inputs of nutrients and trace elements to the coastal and open ocean 

    Kipp, Lauren (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2018-09)
    Nutrients and trace metals are vital for supporting life in the ocean, but the boundary processes that control the distributions of these elements are poorly constrained. Radium isotopes are well suited to studying inputs ...

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