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The Ocean Blog

Convict surgeonfish ( Acanthurus triostegus ) are the roaming sheep of the reef but, instead of noshing on grass, they feed on algae. Their grazing helps to balance the growth of algae and coral on...
The impacts of derelict fishing gear on the Northwest Hawaiian Islands coral reef ecosystem are numerous. A primary effect of reef entanglement is structural damage to the coral substrate that...
A robotic arm on the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible retrieves Galatheid crabs for research. Growing in the background is a species of the deep-sea coral Lophelia. Explore more in the multimedia feature...
Tiny plant-like organisms called zooxanthellae live in the tissues of many animals, including some corals , anemones, and jellyfish , sponges, flatworms, mollusks and foraminifera . These microscopic...
The Pisces IV submersible sits on a saddle near Kingman Reef in Hawaii next to a gold coral ( Gerardia sp. ). The photo was taken by another Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory submersible— Pisces V...
For those of you who have had the opportunity to visit a coral reef , you know that it’s an experience you are unlikely to forget. Coral reefs are among the world’s most magnificent ecosystems. Their...
When snorkeling in the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA) in West Maui, I keep an eye out for certain kinds of fish. Not the brightest or the biggest, but those herbivores such as...
Dr. Amy Baco-Taylor observed corals like these on her first submarine dive to a deep-sea coral bed off the coast of Hawaii. They include primnoids, zoanthids, and Gerardia . The high density and...
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...
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 ...
Compare the healthy coral on the left with the bleached coral on the right. Increased water temperatures caused the bleached coral to lose the microscopic algae that give the coral color and provide...
Colorful corals and brittlestars inhabit the Manning Seamount in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of New England. Here you can see golden-colored coral (Enallopsamia rostrata), pinkish-brown coral (...
The People's Reef, a part of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef , from above. The HCCR was created by Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring and is on exhibit at Smithsonian's...
When you are shopping for gifts and jewelry, steer clear of gifts that use real coral or other marine animal products. Deepwater pink and red corals in particular have been prized for their beauty in...
The pearly razorfish’s name may be slightly misleading since it is neither as rare as a pearl nor as dangerous as a razor. It is a common fish that tends to live in clear shallow areas near seagrass...
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 ."
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-...
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