Mollusks

Color illustration of an ancient bivalve.

Rudist Reefs

About 100 million years ago, during the heyday of the dinosaurs , reefs were built by mollusks called rudist clams . They looked very different from today's coral reefs . Discover more about the...
A rendering of an underwater marine scene depicting life ~145-65 million years ago, when rudist clams were the major reef builders.

Long Before Coral, Mollusks Built the Ocean's Reefs

Rudist clams were major reef builders during the heyday of dinosaurs. Credit: Smithsonian Institution About 100 million years ago , during the heyday of the dinosaurs, reefs were built by mollusks called rudist clams...
Boats docked in a Chesapeake Bay harbor

Rapa Whelks: Invaders of the Chesapeake Bay

Shellfish from the Chesapeake Bay are prized by seafood lovers. But the Bay's ecosystem and shellfish are threatened by human disturbances, including the introduction of non-native species. Credit: Mary Hollinger/NOAA During the summer of...
Elysia chlorotica, the photosynthesizing sea slug.

Sea Slugs: One Species at a Time

Come one, come all! See the amazing, the astonishing, half-animal, half-plant! Journey to Tampa Bay, Florida, where scientist Skip Pierce and one of his students first made a remarkable discovery twenty years ago. Meet...
A large ship flushes water from its ballast tanks while at sea

5 Invasive Species You Should Know

A ship flushes and refills its ballast task in mid-ocean to prevent marine organisms from moving from one port to another. Credit: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Regardless of what continent you live on, the...
A photo of Oceana's ice class research vessel, the Hanse Explorer, on the Baltic Sea.

Biodiversity in the Baltic Sea

In the spring of 2011, a research crew from Oceana spent two months in the brackish Baltic Sea . The Baltic faces challenges from pollution, algae blooms, over fishing, and invasive species. Oceana researchers...
Two baby olive ridley sea turtles.

Surveying Life On Sea Turtles

<p>These baby olive ridleys (<em>Lepidochelys olivacea</em>) will eventually provide a home to crustaceans, mollusks, and other epibionts. That's according to a survey of epibionts living on mature, nesting olive ridleys and green sea turtles...
Two baby olive ridley sea turtles.

Baby Sea Turtles in Jalisco, Mexico

These baby olive ridleys ( Lepidochelys olivacea ) will eventually provide a home to crustaceans, mollusks, and other epibionts. That's according to a survey of epibionts living on mature, nesting olive ridleys and green...
A white, elongated, and whorled wentletrap shell, seen from two angles.

Sanibel Island Shells: One Species at a Time

Ari Daniel Shapiro is joined for this episode of One Species at a Time by serious beachcombers along the high-tide line of Sanibel Island, Florida. These “shellers” come in search of beautiful sea shells,...
Squid at Sunset Reef Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Stunning Squid Pictures

From the giant squid to microscopic squid babies, squids are beautiful and fascinating. As cephalopods, the same family as octopuses and cuttlefish, they have no bones, and swim head-first through the water with their...
A shell placed in seawater with increased acidity slowly dissolves over 45 days.

Ocean Acidification

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 see or feel because...

Spirals in Time: A Walk at the Seashore

When I set out to write a book about mollusks (called Spirals in Time ), I wasn't quite prepared for just how many animals I would get to know. There are somewhere between 100,000...

Farming Oysters Despite Acidic Seas

Bill Taylor, Paul Taylor, Diani Taylor and Brittany Taylor have more in common than just a last name; they also share a business. The Taylors have been in the family oyster-farming business in Washington...
Two nautiluses in the open ocean off the coast of Palau.

A Couple of Nautiluses

These two nautiluses ( Nautilus belauensis ) are pictured off the coast of Palau in the Pacific Ocean. There are six living species of nautilus who live in chambered shells. As they get bigger,...