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The Ocean Blog

Last week, the United Nations’ World Heritage Convention went blue. Two of the largest and healthiest marine protected areas on our planet—the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati and...
The ocean is home to a phenomenal diversity of marine organisms. They have evolved to inhabit warm waters near the equator and the icy waters of the Earth’s poles. Marine life takes advantage of the...
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,...
How biodiverse is one coral reef compared to another? To find out, in Spring 2012, Smithsonian scientist Chris Meyer his students in the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC) course counted...
As it clings to a red sea fan, a feather star ( Cenometra bella ) gently waves its slender arms—filtering bits of food from the water. Also known as sea lilies, feather stars are related to sea stars...
Enric Sala has spent much of his career looking for the ocean's "time machines" -- areas rich in biodiversity and largely unaffected by humans. In this recorded webcast , Sala, a National Geographic...
Discovering new species is an exciting quest, right? Well, some parts are—but after you find a cool-looking organism that you think is a new species, there's a lot more to be done. You have to...
Flattened against a leaf, a tree frog blends right in with the mangroves. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves featured story.
The incredible variety of marine life—in numbers, body form, behavior, and more—is at the heart of Citizens of the Sea , an irresistible plunge into the surprising world beneath the waves. Author...
The Papahānaumokuākea site in the United States was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2010. The site is a vast isolated cluster of small low-lying islands and atolls with its surrounding ocean...
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 ."
A variety of corals colonize the rocky surface of Manning Seamount, part of the New England Seamount Chain located in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This photo was...
Tropical coral reefs—found in warm, clear, shallow waters—support a rich diversity of marine life, such as these sea bass in the Red Sea. Learn more in the Ocean Portal's Coral Reefs section .
Collect, sort, identify, photograph, sample, record. Repeat a couple thousand times. This is what the students and researchers have been doing as the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC)...
Smithsonian zoologists inside the Curasub , a 5-person submersible. They're exploring the biodiversity of the deep reefs off Curaçao in the southern Caribbean. Read more and watch videos about the...
This month, our friends at National Geographic are featuring Smithsonian's own bio-scavenger, Chris Meyer and his work in one of our favorite places: Moorea , French Polynesia. In a beautiful meld of...
How do we know what coral reefs looked like hundreds of years ago? Often times, we are simply left wondering. Scientists can get an idea from naturalist recordings, but there are many unknowns and...
Bottom trawl treasures from the shallow Chukchi Seafloor near the Canada Basin: sea stars , brittle stars , clams, some snails and crabs. View the “Under Arctic Ice ” photo essay to learn more.
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