Guest Blog Posts

The Ocean Blog

Sea stars are important members of marine ecosystems, especially in the tropics. We may think of tropical coral reefs as being home mainly to fish and corals, but in fact these habitats are home to a...
You are not alone if you don’t know what forams (short for foraminifera) are, so let’s start with the basics. Simply put, forams are single-celled organisms related to the familiar amoeba that...
My father once told me that the world is divided into two kinds of people: those who believe that the world is divided into two kinds of people and those who don’t. Wherever you come down on this...
Whales swimming in the ocean are never really alone. Even if one swims by itself with no other whales for miles around, it still has company—the tiny microbes that live on its skin. For a long time,...
It blew in for two solid days: a flotilla of plastic forks, soda bottles, rubber gloves, and other refuse. I tried to pick everything up off the beach, but when I turned around, you couldn’t tell...
The year 2010 will likely be remembered as a tragic time for the ocean. Yet, despite the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, I have hope for our ocean’s future. Last week President Obama signed an...
Welcome to Citizens of the Sea , a new blog series where ocean life comes to life. Our book by the same name came out in September, but no sooner had it gone off to the printer than new ocean stories...
Most people have never heard of the Hawaiian petrel , an endangered, crow-sized seabird that spends the majority of its life searching for food over the North Pacific Ocean. Nevertheless, this bird...
I have been at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History since 1966, studying and reporting on all kinds of octopuses and squids . But I’ve always had a particular fascination with the...
Not all slugs (snails without shells) are slimy brown pests found in your backyard garden. In the ocean they come in a huge variety of colors — some match the background and are hard to spot, but...
Depending on whom you talk to, jellyfish are either fascinating, a nuisance, a toxic menace, or some combination of the above. Jellyfish plop into the media spotlight when their presence causes beach...
Sunday, November 21 marks World Fisheries Day , an annual occasion observed in many fishing communities around the world. It’s a great opportunity—even for those of us who do not fish for a living—to...
Scientists don’t often get the opportunity to travel through time. But nestled among the beautiful coral reefs of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a place that provides a glimpse today of what could be the...
Diving can be a wild ride that evokes more than a little trepidation, especially in the Pacific Ocean's famously big, cold waves. Waves that are otherwise fun for my weekend surfing can turn a...
Microbes are some of the most important organisms in the sea. These miniscule organisms provide an important link in the food web between the dissolved nutrients in the ocean and larger organisms...
Over the past several decades, Florida’s coastal wetlands have been changing. Along the eastern shore, researchers have seen small mangrove trees appearing in areas further north than they usually...
How do you explain a scientific paper in three minutes or less? What if you were being judged by a bunch of middle-schoolers in classrooms around the world… and you only had a month to do it? The...
I became interested in weather phenomena when I took physics in high school. At the time, I just wanted to understand how various things in nature worked. Unfortunately, most information about...
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