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The Ocean Blog

Researchers in Moorea use a variety of tools to collect organisms. Some are simple, everyday items like buckets and brushes, and some are…a little stranger. Here, two researchers use a “yabbie pump”...
Dr. Nancy Knowlton holds the Sant Chair in Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
Scientists don’t often get the opportunity to travel through time. But nestled among the beautiful coral reefs of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a place that provides a glimpse today of what could be the...
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...
Dr. Clyde Roper recounts the tale of his encounter with a giant squid specimen ( Architeuthis dux) that was found washed up on a Massachusetts beach in this excerpt from "Eyeball to Eyeball," an...
Monodontids, the group of whales that includes the belugas and narwhals swimming our ocean today, are emblematic symbols of the Arctic. However, their fossil record, although scarce, suggests that...
Tsunamis, giant waves caused by underwater earthquakes, speed across the ocean at 400 miles per hour. Early warning systems, such as NOAA’s DART systems, are key to saving lives. Today, 47 DART...
Find out more about the field of ichthyology and the vast collection of fishes at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History --the largest in the world! Find out how these collections were...
400 to 1,000 year old bones from an endangered seabird, the Hawaiian petrel. Bones such as these provide a window into the lives of seabirds before and after human arrival in the open ocean...
Smithsonian Zoologist Dr. Clyde Roper , the world's foremost authority on giant squid, explores the squid collection at the National Museum of Natural History. He is passionate about giant squid and...
A mangrove tree crab ( Aratus pisonii ) clings to a leaf near the Smithsonian Institution’s marine laboratory on Galeta Island, Panama, part of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute . During...
Even on an early winter morning, it was sunny and warm in southern Florida. This was great because, regardless of the weather, Dr. Jon Norenburg and I were going to walk chest-deep into the water to...
This purple urchin Paleopneustes cristatus is seldom seen by itself, and can be found in groups of hundreds. Dr. Dave Pawson , a senior scientist at NMNH who studies deep-sea echinoderms, is testing...
Scientists in the Division of Fishes at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History use X-ray imaging to study the complex bone structure and diversity of fish. This image gallery showcases...
Reef biologists over a certain age are haunted by memories of what glorious places Caribbean reefs once were. In our youth we studied them for all sorts of reasons but scarcely thought about reef...
Dr. Ilka C. "Candy" Feller calls mangroves the 'nursery of the sea.' These important coastal habitats face many threats, including nutrient pollution from fertilizer runoff. That's the focus of much...
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...
Submarine pilot Bruce Brandt secures ARMS (Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures) to the submersible Curasub off the coast of Curacao. In shallow water, SCUBA divers can place these biodiversity-...
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