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The Ocean Blog

One of the first signs of a sick coral reef is seaweed creeping across the corals, stealing their precious sunny real estate. Healthy corals, however, aren't completely hopeless: in some reefs, small...
Sponges are animals that eat tiny food particles as they pump water through their bodies. They are very common on Caribbean coral reefs, and come in all shapes, sizes and colors. There is great...
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...
Researchers can study ocean acidification in the lab by rearing organisms in seawater with variable pH and measuring if they grow, eat, breathe, reproduce, or develop differently. It's common, for...
Imagine you’re an alien seeing Planet Earth for the first time. What do you see from your spacecraft? A blue planet with over 70% of its surface covered by ocean. From space it’s obvious how...
This colorful coral lives in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. On the whole, this coral reef is the largest single structure built by living organisms and can be seen from space! Although more than one...
What happens to deep-sea coral samples after they are collected? In this image gallery, see some of the ways ocean scientists sort, measure, photograph, and study them. Learn more in the multimedia...
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...
Inside the control van for the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason , Dr. Brendan Roark and colleagues watch the ROV collecting deep-sea coral specimens. No scientists dive down with their ROV, so...
A marine scientist performs a genetic analysis on a sample of deep-sea coral to find out if it is a known species or one new to science. Find out how ocean scientists study deep-sea corals in our...
An orange brisingid starfish sits on a large reef of Lophelia pertusa, cold-water corals in the Gulf of Mexico, at 450 m depth as a school of fish swims above. They have many arms—up to 20!—covered...
The Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory’s Pisces V submersible is lowered for a dive to study deep-sea corals. Learn more about research into deep-sea corals in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens...
These deep-sea corals at the Madison-Swanson Marine Reserve in the Gulf of Mexico are protected, along with the marine life they harbor. Learn more about deep-sea corals and marine protected areas in...
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...
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...
J. Murray Roberts is a scientist who studies and maps an area of the cold-water coral called Lophelia in the North Atlantic, where the bases of some coral mounds are 2.6 million years old. Explore...
Unlike the shallow tropical coral reef pictured on the top, the deep-sea Oculina reef at bottom does not require sunlight. Learn more in the article " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."
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...
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