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The Ocean Blog

Laurie Penland is a professional photographer and the Diving Officer for the Smithsonian Institution .
It blew in for two solid days: a flotilla of plastic forks, soda bottles, rubber gloves, and other refuse. I tried to pick everything up off the beach, but when I turned around, you couldn’t tell...
Underwater photographer, Brian Skerry, prepares for an icy dive off the coast of Hokkaido, Japan. With all the specialized gear and the large amount of travel necessary to take photos underwater,...
“Manta rays sometimes approach divers; an up-close encounter with such a huge, peaceful animal is unforgettable!” -- Nature's Best photographer, Deborah Smrekar. See more beautiful ocean photos in...
Ice divers Katrin Iken (left) and Elizabeth Siddon are about to descend through a hole in the Arctic ice and into the frigid world below.
Auster gets ready to study fish predators at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Georgia.
"Cold-Water Diving: Going to Extremes for Research" is a video produced by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) that shows the focus needed to do scientific work in cold water. The gear is...
Plastic trash floats in the waters off the Smithsonian's Carrie Bow Cay field station , in Belize. This image is a still taken from a video recorded by Laurie Penland, a Smithsonian dive officer .
For those of you who have had the opportunity to visit a coral reef , you know that it’s an experience you are unlikely to forget. Coral reefs are among the world’s most magnificent ecosystems. Their...
Christian McDonald, the Scientific Diving Safety Officer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, tows a surface float at Millennium Atoll in the South Pacific.
Research at Hare Harbor in Quebec, Canada has revealed important clues about the connections between the Inuit peoples of Northern Canada and the Basque whalers of Spain and France. Excavations at...
The Baltic’s waters are so frigid that the sandy seabed was often frozen during Oceana's 2011 expedition. The divers’ underwater cameras had to be put on automatic settings to take photos, as their...
"I was photographing this beautiful school of jacks when a diver slowly approached from beneath. I shifted my position to capture the moment he entered the ball of fish. Seconds later, he was...
Ice divers use a quadrat to study the density of creatures living on the underside of Arctic ice floes. A quadrat is a standardized square used to take sample measurements that allow researchers to...
Manta rays are related to sharks, but have quite a different reputation among humans. They are often called the gentle giants of the sea because of their curious nature and graceful movements. This...
"Inside the Open Ocean: Blue Water Diving" produced by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) , describes a specialized diving technique that lets biologists study the ocean's most fragile...
Arctic Ice diver Shawn Harper “stands” on the ice ceiling above him.
Jacques Cousteau once said, “When you dive, you begin to feel like an angel." It’s true. When a diver dons a tank and slips into the water, the noisy clatter of the world disappears and the sensation...
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