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The Ocean Blog

Dr. Carole Baldwin never expected to find seven new species of fish among the Starskia blennies she was studying at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. "My research team was using...
Dr. Carole Baldwin is Curator of Fishes at the National Museum of Natural History. Read an interview with her about how she used DNA analysis and other tools to discover seven new species of fish in...
Often it's the tiniest organisms that do the most harm. One example is microscopic algae, which can grow rapidly to form harmful algal blooms . Such blooms (some are called "red tides") create...
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...
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...
Starksia blennies, small coral reef fish, have been well-studied for more than 100 years. But Smithsonian scientists discovered that what were thought to be three species of the fish are actually 10...
Welcome to Moorea, a tiny, isolated island in the middle of the vast Pacific. Moorea is 132 square kilometers (51 square miles) of tropical ecosystems – from jungle and wetlands to beaches and coral...
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...
Researcher Aimee Ellison tests samples for DNA barcoding at the Gump Field Station on Moorea.
Dive into the Gulf of Mexico without getting wet! The Smithsonian has recently uploaded some of its marine collections from that region onto Google Earth's Ocean Layer . Now you can go where our...
On April 27, 1986, an estimated 50,000 barrels of medium-weight crude oil drained from a ruptured storage tank at a refinery in Panama, polluting the coast and the Smithsonian Tropical Research...
Scientists journey to the isolated island of Moorea on a quest to catalog every life form big enough to pick up with tweezers—from mountaintop to seafloor. Get up close and personal with researchers...
Monodontids, the group of whales that includes living belugas and narwhals, are emblematic symbols of the Arctic. However, the fossil record shows that these animals had a much larger range than the...
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...
Watch a Discovery video on Smithsonian squid expert Clyde Roper’s search for giant squid in Kaikoura Canyon off the coast of New Zealand. More about giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid...
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...
A video of the Palauan primitive cave eel ( Protanguilla palau ) swimming in the Pacific off the Republic of Palau . Jiro Sakaue, a Japanese research diver, first discovered the new genus and species...
The Mars rover Curiosity is sending images back home : glimpses of another world during a voyage of discovery. While Curiosity is clicking pictures millions of miles away, I am privileged to be...
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