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The Ocean Blog

The Smithsonian Institution's Dive Officer documents a "swirling monster" of plastic trash that she encountered while diving in Belize.
Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic...
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...
Hedbergella sliteri - this specific specimen is the "holotype" for this species. That means it is the reference point for what all members of the species should look like. This specimen was...
At the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, Dr. Wayne Sousa (right) studies how gaps in the canopy caused by lightning help mangrove forests regenerate. More about mangroves can be...
On a beach in Piña, Panama the tide is rolling out. Faint outlines of skeletal remains rise above the sand. Smithsonian scientists Nicholas Pyenson and Aaron O'Dea along with a team of students...
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-...
Sea ice is typically viewed as the domain of physical and natural scientists, the oceanographers, marine biologists, climate modelers, and navigators of the world. It is easy to forget another...
Smithsonian Marine Science Network Postdoctoral Fellow, Seabird McKeon, returns from the Smithsonian field site in Belize. Together with Dan Barshis of Stanford University, Seabird reports on the...
By diving in the Curasub, Smithsonian researchers with the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) have discovered a new species of tiny fish in the biodiversity-rich waters of the southern Caribbean...
Smithsonian zoologist Dr. Steve Cairns named and described this deep-sea coral species, Stephanocyathus paliferus, which is now preserved in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History...
In the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, what is the effect of oil on invertebrates like jellyfish, clams, crabs, sea stars, and plankton? The scope of the damage is more easily observed among birds...
Jorge and I packed up the night we arrived in Panama with Aaron O'Dea and his team from STRI . The road we took in two field vehicles mostly followed the Panama Canal heading northwards; we had to...
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm, Sant Ocean Hall Ruth Gibbons, Museum Specialist, National Systematics Laboratory CREDIT: Courtesy Ruth Gibbons Ruth Gibbons is a Museum Specialist employed...
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...
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...
The invasive reed Phragmites australis can create new plants through seeds (shown here) or underground rhizomes. Scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have discovered that seeds...
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...
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