Marine Life

The Ocean Blog

Stare at a tide pool and you will often see a crust of pink coating the bottom. No, this is not bubblegum from some careless teenager’s shoe: it’s a stony kind of seaweed that, like other seaweeds,...
Good real estate is hard to find. This is as true underwater as it is on land. So when Smithsonian scientist Dr. Matthieu Leray built 18 potential homes for undersea creatures living on oyster reefs...
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...
Bacteria are everywhere in the ocean. They live in the water, on virtually every living and non-living surface, and even inside other organisms . There are 1 million bacterial cells in every...
The pre-industrial American landscape was once rightly described as a place where “the deer and the antelope roam.” On land, we take it for granted that the plant-eating deer and antelope far...
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...
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...
Even on an early winter morning, it was sunny and warm in southern Florida. This was great because, regardless of the weather, Dr. Jon Norenburg and I were going to walk chest-deep into the water to...
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...
Imagine: You’re in a small submersible, and you gently settle on the soft muddy bottom at a depth of 12,000 feet. It’s absolutely dark. What will you see when the exterior lights are turned on? Will...
Since late April, the world has watched a devastating oil spill from a BP drilling rig spread throughout the Gulf of Mexico and become one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the...
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...
When we think "Africa," we think of the "Big Five"—lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos—that crisscross the African Savannah. Few would imagine that there could be more natural beauty on...
Marine parasites may be small in size, but they can be present in very high numbers and put together can weigh even more than all the top predators in an estuary or bay ecosystem! They play an...
Since the dawn of seafaring, humankind has had to deal with the pesky creatures that settle on ships—seaweeds, barnacles, and others that take advantage of the empty real estate provided by a clean...
Oceanic birds are a rare treat to see because these birds are not casual visitors to our coastline—to see them you normally have to get on a boat. So late last spring I was amazed to find hundreds of...
For more than two centuries, Boston Harbor has been a dumping ground. In 1773, colonists famously dumped shiploads of tea to protest taxes. But in recent decades, the harbor has received less tea and...
Once upon a time, the ocean was considered the last place where we could still find an undisturbed environment. This was before the plague of man-made plastic trash flooded the seas. During my...
Subscribe to Marine Life