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The Ocean Blog

This creek lined with mangroves is located near the Smithsonian Institution’s field station in Bocas del Toro , Panama. The tangled roots support an amazing array of life. Learn m ore about mangroves...
Fitting nine of anything on two fingers is impressive. These mollusks and echinoderms are a teeny-tiny sample of the ocean's biodiversity. The Census of Marine Life estimates that there are at least...
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...
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...
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)...
Dip your head below the water's surface in a mangrove forest and an entirely new ecosystem is revealed. The twisting mangrove roots, which appear to float unrooted in the water, support a great...
There are different types of beaches and multiple factors that influence the formation of sand. Many beaches may look alike, but they are actually very different from each other. Wave patterns,...
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...
We have arrived as the advanced scouting party to the scene of this year's field work location: Pemuteran, a small fishing village in northwest Bali. More importantly, we are sitting squarely at 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,...
Hermit crabs, like this one collected in Moorea, usually protect their soft, vulnerable abdomens from predators by reusing empty snail shells. They are picky home owners and they will trade shells...
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)...
It may be the last place you’d expect to find corals—up to 6,000 m (20,000 ft) below the ocean’s surface, where the water is icy cold and the light dim or absent. Yet believe it or not, lush coral...
The island of Moorea is a natural laboratory for scientists on a quest to catalog every life form big enough to pick up with tweezers. Head out into the field and watch as researchers use cutting-...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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