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We drove down a long dirt road on the northern side of Curaçao looking for a remote place to snorkel and sample. After a 30-minute bumpy ride, our team stepped out of the car into a breeze and 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...
Munch, munch. The queen parrotfish ( Scarus vetula ) scrapes algae from Caribbean coral reefs with its parrot-like beak. While feeding, hard stone and coral inevitably get mixed into its lunch, which...
Sea cucumbers might have a cucumber shape, but are definitely animal, not vegetable… or fruit. They belong to the Phylum Echinodermata , which also includes sea urchins, sand dollars, sea stars and...
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...
A mangrove tree crab ( Aratus pisonii ) clings to a leaf near the Smithsonian Institution’s marine laboratory on Galeta Island, Panama, part of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute . During...
Pearlfish are slender, eel-shaped fish that often live inside various invertebrates including sea cucumbers. Because a sea cucumber breathes by taking in water through its anus, a pearlfish can wait...
Reef biologists over a certain age are haunted by memories of what glorious places Caribbean reefs once were. In our youth we studied them for all sorts of reasons but scarcely thought about reef...
Using genetic analysis combined with traditional study of morphology, Smithsonian scientist Dr. Carole Baldwin and her team discovered that what were thought to be three species of the fish are...
Sit down with two veteran marine scientists, Dr. Nancy Knowlton and Dr. Jeremy Jackson, who fell in love with each other and the reefs of the Caribbean 40 years ago. Those reefs are now gone due to...
Paeleobiologist Dr. Nicholas Pyenson, Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), set out with Jorge Velez-Juarbe, NMNH Research Student and Ph...
A “pink meanie” jellyfish ( Drymonema larsoni )—a species found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean—feeds on a moon jelly ( Aurelia ). Dr. Keith Bayha from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Dr...
This bearded fireworm ( Hermodice carunculata ) must have a strong stomach -- it’s sucking on fire coral ( Millepora sp. ), which would give the unlucky snorkeler a nasty sting. Encountered in St...
Researchers with the Smithsonian's Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) collected this sea toad, Chaunax pictus , off the coast of Honduras in 2011. The team is trying to collect sea toads from...
Starksia blennies, small coral reef fish, have been well-studied for more than 100 years. But Smithsonian scientists discovered that what were thought to be three species of the fish are actually 10...
Each month, the Naked Oceans podcast invites a leading marine researcher to pick the "critter of the month" by asking: if you were a marine organism, which one would you be? This month, Dr. Nancy...
The sun sets over the Smithsonian’s Marine Field Station at Carrie Bow Cay, Belize.
At night this lemon shark ( Negaprion brevirostris ) lurks at the surface, but often during the day they will lie on the ocean bottom. This behavior had been thought to save them energy, but in...
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