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The Ocean Blog

In 1872, the United States did something remarkable. We set aside one of our greatest natural treasures, Yellowstone National Park , for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. The logic was...
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...
Seagrass meadows, such as this one composed of turtle grass ( Thalassia testudinum ) and manatee grass ( Syringodium filiforme ), are an important shallow water habitat. Hundreds of animal species,...
A still from SOLA: Louisiana Water Stories , part of the 19th Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital.
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...
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...
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 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...
The open ocean is surprisingly barren to the naked eye. Every now and again you will encounter a school of fish and their attendant predators, but most of the life that you find is gathered around...
Jellyfish and comb jellies are gelatinous animals that drift through the ocean's water column around the world. They are both beautiful—the jellyfish with their pulsating bells and long, trailing...
Giant anemone. More about mangrove ecosystems can be found in the Mangroves section .
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...
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...
Dr. Ilka C. "Candy" Feller calls mangroves the 'nursery of the sea.' These important coastal habitats face many threats, including nutrient pollution from fertilizer runoff. That's the focus of much...
Adaptation is the key word if you are looking to survive in a tide pool, a space that some scientists describe as the most competitive real estate in the ocean. Tide pools are exposed to the water's...
What can students do to help the ocean? It turns out, a lot! These students from Alabama are among dozens from the U.S. and Mexico who are developing action plans on ocean and climate-related issues...
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...
“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...
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