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The Ocean Blog

Dr. Stephen Cairns is a research zoologist and chair of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. His research focuses on the diversity,...
Searching for useful chemicals, marine scientists grow bacteria associated with deep-sea coral on nutrient agar to identify the bacteria and test their metabolic and biochemical capabilities. Some...
New, white growth emerges from a living deep-sea coral sample that was stained pink, enabling ocean scientists to measure its coral growth rate. Find out more about how ocean scientists study deep-...
Smithsonian zoologist Dr. Steve Cairns named and described this deep-sea coral species, Stephanocyathus paliferus, which is now preserved in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History...
Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they differ in color, shape, and size. Explore more in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."
A net used to trawl the ocean floor scooped up this large specimen of deep-sea coral. Because the ship was trawling for other species, the coral was discarded as bycatch. Fishing in deep-water...
See a few of the many species of deep-sea corals that have been discovered by scientists just since 2004. Learn about more deep-sea discoveries in our Deep-sea Corals article.
Shown here are several deep-sea coral species: From left to right is an unidentified purple octocoral, a small gold acanthorgorgiid octocoral, and a large colony of pink Corallium secundum . Basket...
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 ...
What is coral bleaching? These white corals in the Gulf of Mexico’s Flower Garden Bank National Marine Sanctuary are bleached due to an increase in water temperatures, which causes corals to lose the...
What is this bizarre, spiky-looking organism? Hint: it can be found in tropical areas of the Pacific and Indian ocean basins crawling slowly over coral reefs and devouring any living coral polyps...
Ocean acidification is sometimes called “climate change’s equally evil twin,” and for good reason: it's a significant and harmful consequence of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that we don't...
Nestled among the beautiful coral reefs of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a place that could provide the key to our understanding of one of the biggest threats to coral reef survival: Ocean Acidification...
In this photo of a shallow coral reef in the Pacific there are three species of forams . On the left, Peneroplis planatus . In the center, Amphistegina lessonii . And on the right, Laevipeneroplis sp...
In this brief video clip from NOAA, catch a glimpse of the startling beauty and diversity of life found among deep-sea corals near the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. Explore more in the multimedia...
Detail of the Smithsonian Community Reef, a local, community-created "satellite" to the Institute For Figuring's Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit.
This colony of Lophelia pertusa was photographed from the Mingulay Reef Complex off Scotland in 2005. Learn more about the deep-sea coral reefs in our Deep-sea Corals article.
Found 1,751 m (5,745 ft) below the surface of Hawaii’s waters in 2007, this orange bamboo coral is 1.2–1.5 m (4–5 ft) tall. It is thought to represent a new genus. Learn about more deep-sea...
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