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Adult green sea turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) spend most of their time grazing in seagrass meadows. It's estimated that before Columbus arrived in America in 1492, the number of green turtles supported...
The Island Leaf-Toed Gecko ( Phyllodactylus insularis ) is one of several species of geckos that live in the mangroves of the Caribbean’s Mangal Cay. More about mangroves can be found in our...
Seaside sparrow ( Ammodramus maritimus ) chicks chirp and beg their parents for food from a well-hidden nest in a Gulf of Mexico marsh. Researchers from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative have...
Marc Frischer, a microbial ecologist at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography , collects bacteria at the Smithsonian Institution’s field station in Belize. Smithsonian scientists and colleagues from...
The over 1,000 species of ribbon worms ( Nemertea ) are mostly found in marine environments (like the Hubrechtia found in a mud flat, in the photo). These worms have both a mouth and an anus (unlike...
Sandy beaches are home to a Diversity of Life In the Shores and Shallows Gallery of the Smithsonian's Sant Ocean Hall , a beach display features magnified grains of sand and the tiny beach critters...
Anemone porcelain crabs may look delicate but they have their own sort of armor: a hard exoskeleton. They live under rocks, sponges, groups of feather stars, and even in giant anemones where they can...
Giant anemone. More about mangrove ecosystems can be found in the Mangroves section .
Coral sand is aptly named: it's sand made up of tiny bits of coral and other ocean animals such as foraminifera , molluscs, and crustaceans. This image, taken at 100x zoom, took 18th place in the...
The vibrant yellow eyestripe of this seaside sparrow ( Ammodramus maritimus ) is a splash of color on an otherwise drab body. But that drab body lets it blend into marshgrass, where it feeds, breeds...
Two years ago last week, on April 20, 2010, an explosion on the oil-drilling rig Deepwater Horizon caused the largest marine oil spill in history , gushing nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil over...
An American crocodile ( Crocodylus acutus ) resting on a bed of seagrass . These medium-sized crocodiles are most commonly found in mangrove -lined estuaries and saltwater lagoons between the...
Did you know that over 17,000 species thrive in the deep sea where no light penetrates the ocean waves? Or that an old restaurant menu can teach us about the history of fish populations? Or that...
Large numbers of grey reef sharks ( Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos ) were observed at Jarvis Island, an uninhabited Pacific island, during the 2010 Pacific RAMP expedition of the NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai ...
Broad-leaf seagrass ( Posidonia australis ) with algae epiphytes grows at Corner Inlet Marine National Park in Australia . The marine park protects large areas of seagrass habitat from fishing—but it...
Necora puber , also known as the velvet swimming crab, may not be as soft as the name implies. The crab's red eyes and aggressive nature have resulted in a second nickname, devil's crab . As if it...
Even though the Amazon River and the ocean seem very different—the river is freshwater while the ocean is salty, the ocean is vast and deep compared to the Amazon—they are closely connected. The...
From the water, red mangroves appear to form an impenetrable tangle of roots, trunks, and leaves—a protective barrier against storms and tsunamis. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves...
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