Biodiversity

The Moorea Biocode Project

Scientists on the tiny island of Moorea, in the Pacific, are gathering one of every life form large enough to pick up with tweezers. They're on a quest to build a detailed catalog of...
The Line Islands are one of the most remote places in the Pacific Ocean.

Expedition to the Line Islands

The Line Islands are one of the most remote places in the Pacific Ocean. Credit: Smithsonian Institution Remotely located in the central Pacific Ocean, south of Hawaii, the Line Islands provide a remarkable research...
Colorful fishes throng a reef in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Bizarre and Beautiful Coral Reef Animals

From parrotfish that cover themselves in a blanket of their own mucus to tiny pygmy sea horses, there are some bizarre sea creatures that live in coral reefs . In this slideshow you can...
A variety of corals cling to Manning Seamount, just off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Seamounts, A Deep-Sea Habitat

Thousands of seamounts—most of them undersea volcanoes—tower above the muddy seafloor. They provide something hard to come by in the deep ocean : a solid surface to cling to. This photo gallery shows some...
This new species of lobster (Dinochelus ausubeli) is blind and has bizarre claws. It was discovered about 300 meters (984 feet) deep in the Philippine Sea by a Census of Marine Life expedition.

Deep Ocean Diversity Slideshow

Deep sea animals have to live in a very cold, dark, and high-pressure environment where they can't see a thing! To survive there, they've evolved some very strange adapations. Some make their own light,...
A collage of the wildlife found in one cubic foot on the reef near Moorea, French Polynesia.

Finding Little Gems in the Sea

A collage of the wildlife found in one cubic foot on the reef near Moorea, French Polynesia. Credit: © David Liittschwager/National Geographic This month, our friends at National Geographic are featuring Smithsonian's own bio-scavenger,...

Welcome to the Moorea Biocode Project

Scientists journey to the isolated island of Moorea on a quest to catalog every life form big enough to pick up with tweezers—from mountaintop to seafloor. Get up close and personal with researchers in...
Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems.

Coral Reefs: One Species at a Time

Coral reefs are bustling cities of marine life, until rising ocean temperatures turn them into ghost towns. Can reefs spring back from devastating bleaching events? In this episode of the Podcast of Life ,...
Ocean Portal Logo

Citizens of the Sea

Order a copy of the book, Citizens of the Sea . Credit: National Geographic The incredible variety of marine life—in numbers, body form, behavior, and more—is at the heart of Citizens of the Sea...

Census of Marine Life Video Release

As 10 years of intensive research draw to a close, the Census of Marine Life has released the most comprehensive inventory of life in the ocean to date. This landmark collection of scientific papers...
Deep-sea dragonfish from Australia

Census of Marine Life: Wild and Wonderful Creatures

The Census of Marine Life was a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, “What lives in the sea?” The international effort to asses the diversity, distribution, and...
Coral Head Near Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Hawaii

World Heritage Goes Marine

A rainbow of tropical fish hovers over a coral head near the Pearl and Hermes Atoll, part of the Papahānaumokuākea World Heritage Site. Credit: Louiz Rocha Last week, the United Nations’ World Heritage Convention...

Forces of Change in the Ocean

The ocean covers more than 70 percent of the Earth and is essential to all life. But forces of change, from overfishing to climate change, are affecting the ocean and humanity's relationship with it...

Marine World Heritage Photo Gallery

Marine World Heritage is a prestigious list of 43 marine ecosystems and biodiversity treasures from across the globe, including countries such as Australia, Iceland, Russia, South Africa, the Phillippines, United States, and Yemen. Together,...

Medicines from the Sea

You may not think of the ocean as a pharmacy but scientists are developing exciting new medicines from the sponges, corals, and other marine organisms found in the sea. Explore other videos that capture...
Seven of the newly discovered Starksia blennies, small fish with elongated bodies

Scientists Discover Seven New Species of Fish

Using modern genetic analysis combined with traditional examination of morphology, scientists discovered that what were once thought to be three species of blenny in the genus Starksia are actually 10 distinct species of the...

The Last Wild Places In the Ocean Webcast

The ocean is not as natural as it once was. Where there used to be large predators that we took for sea monsters, now there are tiny fish and jellyfish. But there are a...

Diversity of Deep-Sea Corals

Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they differ in color, shape, and size. Explore more in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."