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The Ocean Blog

This is the first photograph of a live giant squid ( Architeuthis ) in its natural habitat. It was taken in 2004 by two Japanese researchers who had suspended a long line from their research vessel...
Mangroves canopies support an amazing array of life—including this mangrove yellow warbler ( Dendroica petechia bryanti ), the most common songbird in the mangroves of the Caribbean’s Mangal Cay...
This photo of Kingman’s Reef in the Line Islands shows what a healthy coral reef should look like. The water is crystal clear. A variety of richly colored corals carpet the seabed. And a native...
Nudibranchs are mollusks that have evolved from shelled ancestors. Like the reddish-orange Coryphella verrucosa shown here, they're often noted for their vibrant colors and striking forms. View other...
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...
Sea stars are important members of marine ecosystems, especially in the tropics. We may think of tropical coral reefs as being home mainly to fish and corals, but in fact these habitats are home to a...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Researchers use Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) like this one to study the diversity of coral reef organisms. They leave the structures underwater for about a year. Then they retrieve...
Dr. Carole Baldwin , a research zoologist and fish expert with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, gives viewers an inside-look at the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). She and...
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...
Corals are just one of the many marine life forms that can be modeled in crochet. Jellyfish, like the one pictured here, starfish, sea snails, and kelp are some of the other organisms that...
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...
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...
Around 100 million years ago, grass from land adapted to live and reproduce while submerged in seawater—the modern-day seagrasses. This sea invasion by land plants happened four separate times,...
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...
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