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“As I set up for a sunset shot—one last, solitary surfer exited the water and I quickly fired a few frames trying to capture the serenity of the moment.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Karen Doody...
Giant anemone. More about mangrove ecosystems can be found in the Mangroves section .
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...
A parent Magellanic penguin ( Spheniscus magellanicus ) sits with its big chick. Magellanic penguins live in South America, breeding in colonies along the coasts of Chile, Argentina and the Falkland...
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...
When they get larger, Portunus sayi are formidable predators, quick to consume any smaller animal that comes within reach. Fish, other crustaceans, and even smaller members of their own species are...
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...
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...
Slip into the water along a sheltered coast in nearly any part of the world and you’re likely to find yourself in an emerald field of seagrass . Like flowering plants on land, seagrasses grow, flower...
When most people think of iconic American landscapes, we think of places on land. Yellowstone, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon—these national parks are household names. But many Americans...
Melissa Frey, Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) Rubenstein Fellow, examines a Pacific oyster ( Crassostrea gigas ) on a chilly day in Sidney, British Columbia. In addition to holding an EOL Fellowship ,...
Since the dawn of seafaring, humankind has had to deal with the pesky creatures that settle on ships—seaweeds, barnacles, and others that take advantage of the empty real estate provided by a clean...
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...
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill brought the world's attention to the Gulf of Mexico and raised awareness of the region's chronic loss of wetlands as well as the massive dead zone caused by...
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...
"Fronds of giant kelp, buoyed by their gas-filled pneumatocysts, wave like pennants in the current of Monterey Bay, California," wrote George Cathcart of his image , a winning selection in the...
Happy (early) Independence Day! For many of us in the United States, the 4th of July is a time to celebrate and reflect on our national heritage. In many ways, the U.S. grew up on the water and...
In marshlands along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, it's easy to hear the sharp, buzzing calls of seaside sparrows ( Ammodramus maritimus )—even if they can be hard to spot. These five-inch, brown...
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