Scientists at work

Fossil Whale Digsite at Cerro Ballena, Chile

The Whale Graveyard Whodunit

Chilean and Smithsonian paleontologists study several fossil whale skeletons at Cerro Ballena, next to the Pan-American Highway in Atacama Region, Chile, in 2011. Credit: Adam Metallo / Smithsonian Institution One of the ocean's tiniest...

Where the Shark and the Snapper Roam

Grey reef sharks are among the most versatile and tough predators on a Pacific coral reef, but they are also among the most vulnerable species, as they are threatened by wasteful fishing practices like...
A spiraled diatom with spines.

The Ocean Under the Microscope: Images from Nikon Small World

The ocean is so big that it can be easy to forget the microscopic beauty of the organisms that live within. Some of this beauty is documented by the Nikon Small World photomicrography competition...

Five Questions with Russ Hopcroft, Zooplankton Whiz

Now that the Census of Marine Life is over, we’re checking in with some of its researchers to hear about their favorite expeditions, what they learned, and how the Census and its findings continue...
Small foram shells in seafloor sediment.

Little Critters that tell a BIG Story: Benthic Foraminifera and the Gulf Oil Spill

You are not alone if you don’t know what forams (short for foraminifera) are, so let’s start with the basics. Simply put, forams are single-celled organisms related to the familiar amoeba that produce a...
A diver collects water samples.

Ocean Sampling Day – Taking the Pulse of the World’s Oceans

Smithsonian scientist Chris Meyer is collecting water samples as part of the Pilot Ocean Sampling Day in 2013 on Moorea, French Polynesia. Credit: Gustav Paulay If you are a bird watcher you have probably...

Thirty Days to Submission: How I Made a Video for Ocean180

Video of How a microscopic team alters the course of carbon in the Atlantic Ocean How do you explain a scientific paper in three minutes or less? What if you were being judged by...

Ocean Acidification with Dr. Francisco Chavez

Dr. Francisco Chavez of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute estimates that a million tons of CO 2 enter the ocean hourly. His studies in Peru explore the phenomenon of ocean acidification, which occurs...

How Oil Feeds the Deep Sea

Positioned in front of a natural oil seep, this video camera is capturing images of the black oil bubbling up from beneath the sea floor. A light mounted to the frame helps see what...
Alexis Temkin

Five Questions With Alexis Temkin, Searching For Links Between Deepwater Horizon & Human Health

Credit: Courtesy Alexis Temkin We all know to avoid touching or eating oil (the fossil fuel variety that is). But after a coastal oil spill, avoiding oil can be difficult if you live near...

Making Aquaculture Sustainable

Watch as Dr. Dallas Alston and a team of researchers study the effects of aquaculture at a fish farm near Puerto Rico. With careful planning and good daily practices, aquaculture can be part of...

Wavechasers and the Samoan Passage

Watch as a team of wave chasers heads to Somoa where they search for an undersea river five kilometers beneath the ocean's surface. There they measured skyscraper-sized internal gravity waves, which break and produce...

What Makes Sponges Grow?

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...

Bite Size: Bull Shark Predation of Tarpon

Follow a journey with satellite tags placed on bull sharks and tarpon. Both of these large predatory fish are found in coastal in-shore ecosystems and the two species have similar diets. If given the...

How a Microscopic Team Alters the Course of Carbon in the Atlantic Ocean

The Amazon river is the largest river in the world. It drains the entire Amazon rainforest, sending leftover nutrients, detritus, and minerals from the South American jungle out into the tropical Atlantic Ocean. This...

Investigating Nutrient Pollution's Impact on Mangroves

At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the effect of excess nutrients on mangrove swamps. Feller runs the Animal-Plant Interaction Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center...