Scientists

The Ocean Blog

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...
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...
Many animals depend on their eyes to navigate, find food, locate mates, and for other important activities. But marine mammals often rely on sound—sometimes far more than sight—for such critical...
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...
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...
Whales swimming in the ocean are never really alone. Even if one swims by itself with no other whales for miles around, it still has company—the tiny microbes that live on its skin. For a long time,...
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...
In the ocean world, there are many women to celebrate during Women’s History Month. Consider Rachel Carson , who started her career as a marine biologist, Sylvia Earle (“Her Deepness”), or our very...
Last September, the Citizens of the Sea blog series brought you a story of doom and gloom from the reefs of Bocas del Toro, Panama. That is the time of year we typically study -- and celebrate -- the...
Traveling aboard the Charles W. Morgan , a 173-year-old whaling ship on its 38th Voyage, I’m struck by its paradox: this vessel which spent years chasing and killing whales is now helping us to study...
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,...
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...
I became interested in weather phenomena when I took physics in high school. At the time, I just wanted to understand how various things in nature worked. Unfortunately, most information about...
This week at the Smithsonian Ocean Portal we embark on an experiment we're calling "Make Me Care." The concept is simple: we ask a renowned expert to tell us why we should care about his or her...
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...
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...
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...
Alaska’s pristine coastline is ripe for an influx of invasive marine species such as the European green crab and the rough periwinkle (an Atlantic sea snail), warns a new study by a team of...
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