At The Museum

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Break On Through

"Break On Through" was taken by Wendy Wolf at California's Pfeiffer Beach. This photo was a winning selection in the Portraits of Planet Ocean Flickr contest. Credit: Wendy Wolf I took this shot at...

December in Malibu

"December in Malibu" by Andrew Richards Credit: Andrew Richards Shooting seascapes often involves hiking on very delicate rock formations near tidepools and reefs full of plant and marine life. The photographer has to be...

Take a Virtual Submarine Dive to the Deep

You can explore the Curasub from your computer! Inspect, launch, board and recover to get an idea of what it's like to mann an underwater submersible. Credit: Courtesy of Curasub A manned submersible is...
A submersible explores the deep reefs off of Curacao in the Caribbean.

Keeping Exploration Alive With Manned Submersibles

Video of Why are manned submersibles important? Smithsonian research zoologist Carole Baldwin answers the question "why are manned submersibles important?" The Ocean Portal was lucky enough to join the Deep Reef Observation Project team...
An unidentified earplug from the National Museum of Natural History collection.

Whale Earwax: What You Can Learn From Strange Collections

An unidentified earplug from the National Museum of Natural History collection. The light and dark layers come from a build up of keratin and lipids and can be used to estimate whale age. Credit:...

Biocubes: Life In One Cubic Foot

Credit: © David Liittschwager How much life can you find in one cubic foot? The answer will surprise you. It turns out, quite a lot! Biocubes are hollow one foot cubic frames, that can...
Aegina, a type of jellyfish, swims through the water.

The Surprising Elegance of Midwater Sea Life

Imagine a hollow cube, measuring one foot on each side, suspended in the ocean at a depth roughly three football fields below the surface. From here, the seafloor is another 4,000 feet (or 1,200...
Corals, sponges, and algae are the major components of most coral reef communities as shown in this picture.

World Ocean Day 2016 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Here at the Ocean Portal, we celebrate the ocean every day. But one time a year—for World Ocean Day—we invite you to join us in special celebrations honoring that great, salty body of water...
The colorful parrotfish sculpture is made entirely of ocean plastic trash.

Turning Ocean Trash to Treasure

Decided you want to make a difference? World Ocean Day is a great day to begin! You can start with a few simple changes .
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When Did Today’s Whales Get So Big?

More recently than you might think, say scientists who scoured the fossil record Two skulls belonging to extinct marine mammal herbivores used in the new study, both from the Smithsonian’s collections. Credit: A. Boersma...

The Smithsonian Marine Collections

A behind the scenes look at the NMNH ocean-related collections and their importance to research and discovery.
Turbinolia stephensoni

Ocean Objects of Wonder

An unidentified earplug from the National Museum of Natural History collection. The light and dark layers come from a build up of keratin and lipids and can be used to estimate whale age. Credit:...
A variety of plankton images from the Gulf Stream

STREAMCODE – Planktonic Diversity of the Gulf Stream

A powerful ocean current, the Gulf Stream, transports warm seawater, nutrients and organisms from the Gulf of Mexico northward along the U.S. East Coast and across the North Atlantic up towards Europe. The movement...
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It’s All in the (Jellyfish) Family

They may not all look the same, but cnidarians all have cells that are specially designed for stinging. Credit: Allen Collins, Smithsonian By Kalila Morsink With their huge number of venomous stinging cells, jellyfish...
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A Microscopic Identity Crisis

Using DNA to identify larval species in the Gulf Stream When swimming in the water, the planktonic sea snail, Diacria trispinosa , flutters two wings much like a butterfly. When they retract their bodies...
Fish app

There’s an App for That: Using Phones to Help Make Fishing Sustainable

Video of Linking Communities to Fisheries Science By Emily Frost There’s an app for everything these days. Many of our modern-day problems can be matched with modern-day technology. So, when looking at the issue...
Walter Adey and the NMNH coral reef tank

The Evolution of a Reef Aquarium

Adey in front of the original reef microcosm in the National Museum of Natural History. Credit: Smithsonian Institution Archives In the late 1970s, Walter Adey, a paleobiologist and coral reef researcher at the National...

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