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The Ocean Blog

Penguins are odd birds. For one, they cannot fly (but they are amazing swimmers), and, contrary to popular belief, the majority of penguin populations live in warmer regions. Only four of the 18...
A dredge from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can be seen removing a sandbar off of Virginia Beach, VA. This type of removal occurs in order to clean up the seafloor or to allow for large ships to...
How do we know what coral reefs looked like hundreds of years ago? Often times, we are simply left wondering. Scientists can get an idea from naturalist recordings, but there are many unknowns and...
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...
An early scale model of North Atlantic right whale Phoenix indicates the location of scars on her tail from entanglements with fishing gear. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a...
Red coral necklaces fill a store display window. The United States annually imports around one million live coral animals from tropical reefs for use in aquariums, and is the largest documented...
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...
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"...
CREDIT: © Mary Parrish/Smithsonian Institution 1. Respect Your Elders Sharks have a long and impressive lineage. Ancient sharks were cruising the ocean 400 million years ago—long before dinosaurs...
A placard warns residents that water—and anything else—that goes own this storm drain makes its way into the Potomac River and, eventually the ocean.
Dr. Karen L. McKee collects a peat core in a mangrove forest in Belize. It will help her reconstruct how mangroves have changed over the past 8,000 years. Dr. McKee’s research has shown that when...
Algae, like all organisms, normally grow in balance with their ecosystems, limited by the amount of nutrients in the water. But sometimes, certain species of algae reproduce so rapidly that they...
Fossil fuels that power our cars, homes, and businesses add carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. The ocean absorbs large portions of this CO2 and acts as a buffer against climate change . But, Dr...
The ocean, which we often break into five large ocean basins, covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface and holds over 1.3 billion cubic km of water. This massive space also holds over 99 percent of...
Deep-sea coral beds are true biodiversity hotspots. It’s urgent that we study these extreme environments because we know so little about them, because they are important communities for so many deep-...
A still from The Changing Sea , part of the 19th Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital.
This map is based on electronic tagging of Atlantic bluefin tuna ( Thunnus thynnus ) from 1996 to 2007. A team of international researchers officially classified the Atlantic bluefin as endangered in...
Tom Peschak, a photojournalist with the Save Our Seas Foundation, describes the devastating effects shark nets have on ocean life along the South African coastline. The nets were installed to protect...
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