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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...
Charles Potter (left) and Dr. James Mead of the Smithsonian perform a post-mortem examination on a goose-beaked whale specimen sent to them by colleagues at Portland State University.
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...
A behind the scenes look at the NMNH ocean-related collections and their importance to research and discovery.
With 1,400 named species of ribbon worms inhabiting every ecosystem on earth, seeking one out should be an easy proposition. But I quickly learned that it can be quite daunting when you’re looking...
Building the Smithsonian's Sant Ocean Hall --like any major exhibition--was a major undertaking. Over the course of five years, it required hundreds of people with a vast array of skills and...
In 1895, two Smithsonian scientists described a new kind of deep sea creature, which they named the “whalefish.” Little did they know, this fish would become one of the prime suspects in an...
Another common species of sargassum shrimp, Leander tenuicornis (Palaemonidae) can be spotted by its long transparent claws or "chelae". Very similar shrimp are found in near shore habitats all...
Paeleobiologist Dr. Nicholas Pyenson, Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals for the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), set out with Jorge Velez-Juarbe, NMNH Research Student and Ph...
Building the Smithsonian's Sant Ocean Hall --like any major exhibition--was a major undertaking. Over the course of five years, it required hundreds of people with a vast array of skills and...
Hermit crabs, like this one collected in Moorea, usually protect their soft, vulnerable abdomens from predators by reusing empty snail shells. They are picky home owners and they will trade shells...
Scientists at the Smithsonian and partnering organizations have discovered a remarkably primitive eel in a fringing reef off the coast of the Republic of Palau . This fish exhibits many primitive...
When they get larger, Portunus sayi are formidable predators, quick to consume any smaller animal that comes within reach. Fish, other crustaceans, and even smaller members of their own species are...
Jorge and I arrived in Panama City around 3 pm this afternoon, and took a taxi to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)'s headquarters in the Gorgas neighborhood of downtown Panama City...
Dugongs , along with manatees , make up a group of marine mammals called sirenians or seacows . In the modern world, only one species of seacow is found in any one place in the world. However, the...
The evolution of whales represents one of the great stories in macroevolution. It's a narrative that has mostly benefitted from an extraordinary series of fossils recovered from rocks around 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...
The Smithsonian’s Carrie Bow Cay Marine Field Station supports research projects of marine scientists year-round. It offers ready access to thousands of small mangrove islands as well as countless...
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