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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...
Arching mangrove roots like these help keep trunks upright in the soft sediments at water’s edge. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves featured story .
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 ocean sustains land animals besides humans. Here, a fox looks for a meal at low tide on the Arctic Peninsula. When the tide goes out, it leaves behind tidepools full of tasty snacks for foxes and...
With their brown and yellow markings, seaside sparrows ( Ammodramus maritimus ) blend in well with marshgrass. They often spend their entire lives in the marsh where they were born, pecking at...
Johnson's seagrass is the lone ocean plant species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Its flowing green stalks play an important role in coastal ecosystems where they act as nursery grounds for...
The Kemp’s ridley is a “riddler” among sea turtles . Although the species was initially recognized in 1880, scientists didn't know where it nested until 80 years later, when a film documenting about...
Recorded Feb. 15, 2011, this video from the Third Student Summit on the Ocean and Coasts includes a tribal song written and sung by Suquamish Tribal member Bearon Old Coyote; a welcome to the...
This map shows the network of Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers, which include aquariums, marine science centers, and laboratories. The network creates a partnership between federal U.S. agencies...
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...
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 ...
This view of mangrove roots above the water misses a lot of the action. The roots extend far below the water’s surface, anchoring the forest to the sea and providing a tangled habitat for a variety...
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...
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...
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...
This mangrove island in the Pelican Cays, Belize, was clear-cut and filled with dredged sand and coral from the adjacent reef flat. Developers are clearing and dredging mangroves in an attempt to...
Squids, octopuses and cuttlefish, such as this Australian Giant Cuttlefish ( Sepia apama ), compose just one group of animals that call seagrass beds home. Clams and worms bury themselves in the mud...
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...
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