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The Ocean Blog

In the 1940s the short-tailed albatross population plummeted from tens of millions to such a small number that they were believed to be extinct. Their decline was due to hunting for their feathers...
The long toothy rostrum or “saw” gives sawfish their common name. They use the saw to dig in the sand for crustaceans or to attack prey by vigorously slashing from side to side. This smalltooth...
The Shiretoko site in Japan was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2005. The site’s key feature is its exceptional productivity, largely resulting from the formation of relatively low-latitude...
At the ends of the Earth, life thrives despite extreme conditions. In the Arctic and Southern Oceans, organisms have evolved adaptations to cope with year-round cold and six months of darkness. But...
Staghorn (seen here) and elkhorn corals are listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. They are the only coral species currently listed, but 66 other coral species have been proposed for...
Forensics is a key tool for enforcing the laws and treaties that protect marine animals. Investigators in a recent case used DNA analysis to track down and convict sea turtle poachers. All seven...
Phoenix’s mother, Stumpy (#1004), was killed in a collision with a ship near Virginia in February 2004. She was pregnant with her sixth known calf. More about whales can be found in our Tale of a...
Largely due to overfishing, the Southern Bluefin Tuna is listed as " critically endangered ." If its population continues to decline, the species faces the possibility of extinction. It's not alone...
“Leatherback turtles are critically endangered, and this young hatchling is a symbol of hope for their future.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Jason Bradley . See more beautiful ocean photos in our...
In the Pacific Ocean, four ocean currents merge to form the North Pacific gyre, also known as the North Pacific Subtropical High, which spans the western US to Japan, and Hawaii to California. This...
Phoenix swims in George’s Bank, off the coast of New England, on March 13, 2009. More about whales can be found in our Tale of a whale featured story .
A close up view of Phoenix and the rough patches of skin known as callosities that are found on all North Atlantic right whales . These callosities are inhabited by small amphipods called whale lice...
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was signed into law on December 28, 1973 by President Nixon. Over 2,000 species are currently on the ESA, and they are separated into "Threatened" and "Endangered"...
The fringed baleen plates are easy to observe as this North Atlantic right whale skims the water’s surface while it feeds. Many baleen whales suck in as much water was possible, and then push it out...
Endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles now have nearly 42,000 square miles of Pacific Ocean to call their own. Thanks to a decision in January 2012 by the National Marine Fisheries Service, these...
A scuba diver explores elkhorn corals ( Acropora palmata ) growing on a tropical reef. Coral reefs provide recreation and inspiration for millions of people every year. Elkhorn coral is listed as...
By Caty Fairclough In centuries past, the ocean was thought to be full of krakens, sea serpents, sea monsters and other fantastic creatures. They helped to bring the mysterious ocean into the more...
There were fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales in 2006. Yet it has been illegal to hunt them since 1935. Why haven’t populations increased? Traits that made right whales easy to hunt make them...
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