Marine Life

The Ocean Blog

Sometimes, a tragic event can become a powerful teaching opportunity. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has the potential to capture students’ attention and stimulate discussion...
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...
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...
Any floating object in the ocean tends to attract life; fishermen know this and deploy floating buoys to concentrate fish for harvesting. Plastic marine debris is no different and, at microscopic...
Lately we’ve been fielding questions from Smithsonian visitors wondering how they can help with the oil spill cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico. If there is any good news coming out of this situation, it...
Lying in water only a foot deep, I watched the shark meander lazily through the mangrove, already exuding the confidence inherent of the supreme creature within its domain. It was hot here in Bimini...
Sometimes called the rainforests of the sea, coral reefs are incredibly diverse and complicated systems. Because of this complexity, it can be a challenge to manage and protect reefs—and sometimes...
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...
We all know that hurricanes can have destructive effects on human communities and infrastructure—but what about their effects on coastal wetlands? Until Hurricane Katrina, no one had ever mapped...
Reef sharks rarely get any love. These sharks, comprising several species, loiter around coral reefs, snacking on small fish, squids and crustaceans. And while their size is nothing to smirk at—5-10...
In recent years, I have taken to watching flying fish along the Maine coast. Not the usual flying fish that skim over tropical seas, but fish dangling from the beaks of flying puffins. Puffins are...
The threat that climate change poses to polar bears has received a lot of attention, but they are not the only Arctic species at risk. Ice-loving seals, such as harp, hooded and ringed seals, are...
The open ocean is surprisingly barren to the naked eye. Every now and again you will encounter a school of fish and their attendant predators, but most of the life that you find is gathered around...
Happy International Mangrove Action Day! This occasion is a small but vibrant tradition that has been observed annually on July 26th for nearly a decade in countries around the globe, including the U...
Reef biologists over a certain age are haunted by memories of what glorious places Caribbean reefs once were. In our youth we studied them for all sorts of reasons but scarcely thought about reef...
We began this journey three months ago, a team of scientists and filmmakers traveling the East African coastline by boat to document and research the status of coral reefs from South Africa to Kenya...
The ocean is home to a phenomenal diversity of marine organisms. They have evolved to inhabit warm waters near the equator and the icy waters of the Earth’s poles. Marine life takes advantage of 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...
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