Marine Life

The Ocean Blog

Fever. Aching muscles. Coughing. Sniffling. It’s flu season . Have you had your shot? If so, thank a horseshoe crab. In fact, if you’ve been put on an IV, had a medical device implanted, or received...
Sirenians , or seacows, are a group of marine mammals that include manatees and dugongs. In the modern ocean, only one species of seacow is found in each world region, however, the fossil record...
Last week, Smithsonian research zoologists Dr. Jerry Harasewych and Dr. Martha Nizinski were in Curaçao looking for deep-sea marine gastropods and decapod crustaceans , respectively. I learned they...
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...
Even if you aren't a hardcore birder, chances are you have some hidden love for penguins. These flightless birds have captured our hearts through countless movies, beautiful images and their adorable...
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...
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...
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (or the GBR as it is known to reef aficionados) stretches for more than 2,300 kilometers (over 1,429 miles) and can be seen from outer space. This largest barrier reef...
The evolution of whales represents one of the great stories in macroevolution. It's a narrative that has mostly benefitted from an extraordinary series of fossils recovered from rocks around the...
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...
Two years ago last week, on April 20, 2010, an explosion on the oil-drilling rig Deepwater Horizon caused the largest marine oil spill in history , gushing nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil over...
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...
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...
Animals, on land and in the ocean, live in a 3-D world, and they depend on their sense organs and brains to build the mental constructs that allow them to orient and navigate, which is crucial for...
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 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...
Monodontids, the group of whales that includes the belugas and narwhals swimming our ocean today, are emblematic symbols of the Arctic. However, their fossil record, although scarce, suggests that...
Recently, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History researcher Chris Mah and collaborators with the British Antarctic Survey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute used molecular tools...
Subscribe to Marine Life