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The Ocean Blog

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 few untouched places left in...
These Pacific cephalopods illustrate the wide diversity among this group of mollusks. You can learn about a relative, the giant squid ( Architeuthis dux ), in our Giant Squid section.
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...
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,...
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...
In 1954 Smithsonian researchers dissected this squid specimen from the stomach of a lancetfish and added it to the Museum’s squid collection. Almost 50 years later, it helped scientists identify a...
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...
In the spring of 2011, a research crew from Oceana spent two months in the brackish Baltic Sea . The Baltic faces challenges from pollution, algae blooms, over fishing, and invasive species. Oceana...
Far away from the volcanic CO 2 seeps, a healthy coral reef flourishes with a diversity of coral species. Closer to the seeps where the water is acidic, the corals barely even grow. Read more about...
A specimen from the Smithsonian’s squid collection and videos of a mystery squid helped scientists identify a new family of deep sea squid—the Magnapinnidae, known as the bigfin squids. More about...
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...
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,...
Flattened against a leaf, a tree frog blends right in with the mangroves. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves featured story .
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...
About DROP DROP is a multidisciplinary Smithsonian project exploring the diversity of tropical deep reefs off the coast of Curaçao in the southern Caribbean. Deep reefs are natural extensions of...
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...
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...
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-...
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