More Biodiversity

Sea squirts, or ascidians, are a diverse class of marine invertebrates representing about 2,300 species. As adults they are sessile animals (attached to the bottom) that feed by filtering food from...
When we think "Africa," we think of the "Big Five"—lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos—that crisscross the African Savannah. Few would imagine that there could be more natural beauty on...
Of all of the species Haeckel described, he is most famous for his illustrations of radiolarians. Planktonic, unicellular marine eukaryotes, radiolarians are found in all of the world’s oceans. The...
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-...
Have you ever seen a creature so unusual? This fish (22 cm long) is called a sea toad and studying them requires luck and the opportunity to descend into the deep waters where they live. Last week Dr...
Cashes Ledge is a wild, special place in the heart of the Gulf of Maine. This underwater mountain range is home to a great diversity of life, with colors typically associated with a coral reef rather...
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...
Haeckel was inspired by nature to create not only stunning scientific illustrations but also decorative pieces for home interiors. Haeckel discovered a species of rhizostome jellyfish in Bellagemma,...
These star-shaped grains of sand, collected from southern Japan, look like miniature works of art -- but they were not sculpted by an artist. They are the shells of microscopic organisms called...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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,...
Dr. Clyde Roper, Smithsonian zoologist and squid expert, tries to measure up to a giant squid specimen (Architeuthis) from New Zealand. The squid wins. More about the giant squid can be found in our...
Sea anemones are members of the phylum Cnidaria, and as such are related to corals and jellyfish. Unlike jellyfish, however, anemones (and other anthozoans like corals) lack the free-swimming medusa...
Mangrove roots provide support for filter-feeders like sponges, mussels, oysters, and barnacles. These play an important role in keeping the water clear. More about mangroves can be found in our...
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