Marine Life

The Ocean Blog

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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
For those of you who have had the opportunity to visit a coral reef , you know that it’s an experience you are unlikely to forget. Coral reefs are among the world’s most magnificent ecosystems. Their...
Cashes Ledge is a wild, special place in the heart of the Gulf of Maine. This underwater mountain range is home to a great diversity of life, with colors typically associated with a coral reef rather...
It’s hard not to identify with penguins as they waddle about upright on land, clad in their tuxedo-like plumage. In their crowded breeding colonies, they squabble with and show off to their neighbors...
All over the world, people have been witnessing gigantic blooms of tens of thousands of jellyfish where once there were only a few. Fishers find them clogging their nets and costing them dearly. In...
The Kemp’s ridley is a “riddler” among sea turtles . Although the species was initially recognized in 1880, scientists didn't know where it nested until 80 years later, when a film documenting about...
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...
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...
When snorkeling in the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA) in West Maui, I keep an eye out for certain kinds of fish. Not the brightest or the biggest, but those herbivores such as...
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...
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...
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,...
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...
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