Marine Life

The Ocean Blog

As far back as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by sharks. My father introduced me to the ocean through books, documentaries and diving, and whenever we would see sharks on a dive in the...
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...
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...
Hopefully you've never bitten into a delicious hunk of snow crab meat and instantly spit it out because instead of crab you tasted... aspirin?! If you have, it might have been crab meat infected with...
How do we know where ocean animals swim day and night? Scientists are getting snapshots into the daily lives of whales , sharks , and even fish by tagging the animals to track their movements. You’ve...
Over the last few days, a video of hermit crabs stampeding across the rocky shores of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands has taken the internet by storm. Where are the hermit crabs going, and why?...
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...
In honor of Mother's Day, the Citizens of the Sea blog salutes ocean-going mothers everywhere. Especially a 60 year-old albatross named Wisdom. She holds the seabird records for both oldest bird and...
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...
Last week, we began asking visitors to the Ocean Portal a simple question: “How do you feel about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?" We’ve received one Haiku and a slew of other interesting...
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...
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...
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...
Have you ever seen a creature so unusual? This fish (22 cm long) is called a sea toad and studying them requires luck and the opportunity to descend into the deep waters where they live. Last week Dr...
Scientists at the Smithsonian and partnering organizations have discovered a remarkably primitive eel in a fringing reef off the coast of the Republic of Palau . This fish exhibits many primitive...
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...
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...
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...
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