The Anthropocene

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Two nautiluses in the open ocean off the coast of Palau.

DIVE DEEPER

A Couple of Nautiluses

These two nautiluses ( Nautilus belauensis ) are pictured off the coast of Palau in the Pacific Ocean. There are six living...
The Line Islands are one of the most remote places in the Pacific Ocean.

Expedition to the Line Islands

The Line Islands are one of the most remote places in the Pacific Ocean. Credit: Smithsonian Institution Remotely located in the central Pacific Ocean, south of Hawaii, the Line Islands provide a remarkable research...

Visit the Line Islands with Reef Ecologist Dr. Stuart Sandin

A number of questions have inspired marine ecologist Stuart Sandin to head to the coral reefs of the Line Islands . Sandin works at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California,...

Really Small Fry: Shifting Baselines in Marine Fish Stocks

A public service announcement uses a dramatic example to emphasize that ocean fish aren’t as big as they used to be. Find out more about the decline in the ocean's top -- and often...

Dr. Jan Backman, Marine Geologist

Drilling near the North Pole, Dr. Jan Backman reveals a brief moment in time when the Arctic was subtropical. More about world climate change can be found in our Climate Change featured story .

Changing Tides - Brave New Ocean

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill , ocean acidification, and the decline of fish stocks are just three of the topics that renowned ocean scientist, Dr. Jeremy Jackson discusses in this talk, recorded on World...

The Last Wild Places In the Ocean Webcast

The ocean is not as natural as it once was. Where there used to be large predators that we took for sea monsters, now there are tiny fish and jellyfish. But there are a...
A photo of an oyster cage, out of the water, covered in sea squirts.

Alaska Vulnerable to Invasive Species from Warmer Waters

Invasive species can have a range of environmental and economic impacts. In this photo, sea squirts foul an oyster cage. Scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center's Marine Invasions Lab study the movement and...
Polar bears are threatened by a lack of sea ice.

The Sant Ocean Hall: Life at the Poles Exhibit

Human activity is increasing in the Arctic marine environment due to climate change. To help the most vulnerable areas, the Global Marine Program of IUCN, along with partners, is convening a series of workshops...
A whale shark swims with a diver off the coast of East Africa.

The Big Five of the Ocean: Exploring the Waters of East Africa

A whale shark swims with a diver off the coast of East Africa. Credit: Caine Delacy When we think "Africa," we think of the "Big Five"—lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos—that crisscross the African...
A Hawaiian petrel in flight

4,000 Years of Marine History through the Eyes of a Seabird

A Hawaiian petrel flies over part of its North Pacific feeding grounds. Credit: Photo courtesy of Jim Denny Most people have never heard of the Hawaiian petrel , an endangered, crow-sized seabird that spends...
A walrus sits on top of ice.

The Cultural Icescapes of the Arctic

The Inupiaq people of Alaska have more than 100 words for different kinds of sea ice, illustrated here. A female walrus and her calf ( isavgalik ) rest on ice ( nunavait ) in...

Exploring a Unique Biodiversity Hotspot In the Gulf of Maine

Cashes Ledge is a wild, special place in the heart of the Gulf of Maine. This underwater mountain range is home to a great diversity of life, with colors typically associated with a coral...
On average, Arctic sea ice has decreased by four percent per decade since the late 1970s.

Sea Level Rise

The ocean never stops moving. When you visit the beach, waves roll in and recede and the tides rise and fall. These are small daily changes that balance out over time. But over the...
A bloom of moon jellies.

A Bloom of Moon Jellies

In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita aurita ) in the Chesapeake Bay, have become more common around the world for a number of different reasons . One...
The shell of a sea slug

A Microscopic Identity Crisis

Using DNA to identify larval species in the Gulf Stream When swimming in the water, the planktonic sea snail, Diacria trispinosa , flutters two wings much like a butterfly. When they retract their bodies...
Hawaiian Monk Seal

Backbone of Biodiversity at Risk

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature ( IUCN ) maintains the Red List of Threatened Species , an inventory of the global conservation status of plants and animals. In a 2010 study...
An underwater photo of coral recovering from a bleaching event.

A Pleasant Surprise: The Recovery of Bleached Panamanian Corals

These corals are still in recovery after a mass bleaching in Panama, in the summer of 2010. You can see some bleaching on the tops, but the sides are looking good. Credit: Amanda Feuerstein...

Coral Reefs Changing Over Time

How do we know what coral reefs looked like hundreds of years ago? Often times, we are simply left wondering. Scientists can get an idea from naturalist recordings, but there are many unknowns and...