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The Ocean Blog

If you are a bird watcher you have probably heard of the Christmas Bird Count. The first one occurred on Christmas Day in 1900 at a variety of locations throughout North America, and it has since...
Starksia blennies, small coral reef fish with elongated bodies, have been well-studied for more than 100 years. But things are not always what they seem when it comes to fish. Using genetic analysis...
So far, researchers have developed DNA barcodes to accurately identify 4,600 of the more than 29,000 known fish species. Atlantic cod is an economically important fisheries species. However, it's...
Welcome to Moorea, a tiny, isolated island in the middle of the vast Pacific. Moorea is 132 square kilometers (51 square miles) of tropical ecosystems – from jungle and wetlands to beaches and coral...
Researchers with the Smithsonian's Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) collected this sea toad, Chaunax pictus , off the coast of Honduras in 2011. The team is trying to collect sea toads from...
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...
Dr. Demian Chapman of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at New York’s Stony Brook University explains how DNA extraction from shark fins can identify the species of shark and where the...
Dr. Carole Baldwin is Curator of Fishes at the National Museum of Natural History. Read an interview with her about how she used DNA analysis and other tools to discover seven new species of fish in...
Starksia blennies, small fish with elongated bodies, generally native to shallow to moderately deep rock and coral reefs in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans, have been well-studied for...
Dr. Mahmood Shivji of the Guy Harvey Research Institute and Save Our Seas Shark Center sampling a confiscated shark fin for DNA analysis. He can determine the species for hundreds of shark fins using...
In 2003, a team of Japanese scientists analyzed the DNA of tapetails and whalefish. The results suggested that these two very different looking fishes were almost identical in one specific gene. But...
Dr. Carole Baldwin never expected to find seven new species of fish among the Starskia blennies she was studying at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. "My research team was using...
Ichthyologist John R. Paxton of the Australian Museum studies freshly caught lanternfishes. Paxton was on the team that solved the whalefish mystery .
Some fish you can fry up in the pan, no questions asked. Others require a bit of research. Case in point: the puffer fish. Commonly known as fugu, some species contain toxins more deadly than cyanide...
It's illegal to hunt threatened species such as the Dusky shark, but still tens of millions of sharks are taken each year for their fins—in high demand as a delicacy in China. Inside his laboratory...
Using genetic analysis combined with traditional study of morphology, Smithsonian scientist Dr. Carole Baldwin and her team discovered that what were thought to be three species of the fish are...
Researcher Aimee Ellison tests samples for DNA barcoding at the Gump Field Station on Moorea.
Band-rumped Storm-petrels ( Oceanodroma castro ) are quite a bit larger and heavier than Wilson's storm petrels, but share their amazing sense of smell, which they use to find food that may be miles...
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