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The Ocean Blog

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...
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...
The Tubbataha Reefs National Park site in the Philippines was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993. The site is an example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100 m (330 ft)...
January 14, 1987: Phoenix is first spotted as she swims with her mother, Stumpy, off the coast of Georgia. More about right whales can be found in our Tale of a whale featured story .
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.
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...
How many animals swim in the sea? It's not easy to count them all. To get a feel for the ocean's diversity, scientists, such as those involved in the Census of Marine Life , sail out on research...
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 explore some...
Census of Marine Life researchers discovered this unusual transparent sea cucumber ( Enypniastes sp.) in the Gulf of Mexico at 2,750 meters depth. It creeps forward on its tentacles pretty slowly, at...
A candy basslet ( Liopropoma carmabi ) was just one of the specimens Smithsonian scientists collected from the deep reefs of Curaçao , in the southern Caribbean. To study biodiversity far below the...
Flower-like clusters of polyps make up this coral colony. Their pink color comes from the zooxanthellae living inside. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in our Coral Reefs featured story .
This brightly colored squat lobster collected in Moorea is a common find among the coral heads. Although called lobsters, this group of crustaceans is more closely related to hermit crabs than to...
Papahānaumokuākea, a chain of islands northwest of the main Hawaiian archipelago, is home to vibrant coral reefs with scores of fish species. It was designated a Marine World Heritage Site in August...
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...
Expedition data went to the Arctic Ocean Diversity database of the Census of Marine Life to establish a baseline that will help to document change in the poorly known Arctic Ocean. Scientist Kevin...
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...
Climate and sea changes in the Southern Ocean create conditions that favor the growth of salps over krill , the latter of which are a vital food source for seals, whales, and penguins. Salps are...
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...
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