Books, Film & The Arts

The ocean plays the part of muse for many artists. Books, films, and the arts often pull inspiration from the sea—you can explore them here!

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May is here and that means National Poetry Month is officially over. As promised, we're going to highlight a few of the submissions we've received from our call for your ocean poems . Sailors,...
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The winners of the 2010 Nature's Best Photography Ocean Views Contest are a...
This four-foot long fish sculpture was created by art students at A.W. Cox...
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Brian Skerry, an award winning photographer for National Geographic, explores...

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These watercolor sketches of Trapezia crabs were drawn by Frederick Bayer, a former Smithsonian coral biologist, in 1947. Trapezia crabs live on and within corals, feeding on their tissue and mucus, and protect them from...
“This shark was cruising low along the reef known as Alcyone. Her left eye...
A yellow moray eel, Gymnothorax prasinus , inside of a sea sponge in the...

DIVE DEEPER

As an underwater photographer, time in the field is the most valuable thing I can be given. With time, I can usually...
These beautiful pink and yellow shimmering fish ( Parapriacanthus ransonneti ) live in large groups among corals and in caves where they feed on zooplankton at night. “Golden sweepers form schools in...
What does a bioluminescent creature that lives more than two miles below the surface of the ocean and a glow stick have in common? More than you think. Bioluminescence is the process by which living...
“Tomales Bay is a narrow, protected waterway along the San Andreas fault. In years past, it was known for its thriving fishing industry. This boat is a relic from better times for local fishermen,...
Shooting seascapes often involves hiking on very delicate rock formations near tidepools and reefs full of plant and marine life. The photographer has to be very careful when walking on these rocks,...
While swimming off of the big island of Hawaii in Kealakekua Bay, I saw what first appeared to me as a coral head. As I approached I saw movement within the shape. To my surprise it was an enormous...
A volunteer sorts washed plastic collected from the beach into buckets by color and size. Washed Ashore uses all but around 5% of the plastic volunteers collect from the beaches in its sculptures...
The veined octopus ( Amphioctopus marginatus ), also known as the coconut octopus, has a skill beyond other cephalopods: it hides under animal and coconut shells, dragging them along the seafloor for...
Detail of the Smithsonian Community Reef, a local, community-created "satellite" to the Institute For Figuring's Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit.
When coral reefs are damaged, they sometimes struggle to grow back because there aren't enough coral seedlings around, and the ones that are around are growing together too closely. Enter: the coral...
"We too are sea creatures," entreats ocean explorer Sylvia Earle in this beautiful short film, which calls for protecting the ocean and, in particular, for ending destructive fishing practices. It's...
The cover of Dr. Nancy Knowlton's new book, Citizens of the Sea , published in partnership with the National Geographic Society and the Census of Marine Life . With dazzling photographs and reader-...
Ocean , a dance choreographed by Fran Spector Atkins, combines interpretive dance with scientist interviews, photography, and ocean facts to spread a message of ocean conservation -- a "balanced...
Editor's Note: These images and more can be seen at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., as a part of the larger exhibit " Portraits of Planet Ocean: The Photography...
“As an underwater nature photographer, I struggled for a new way to bring back visions of fish and fauna. Soon I discovered that taking water out of the picture, rendering it invisible while it is...
Exciting news for the Ocean Portal blog! We’re happy as clams to be making our inaugural appearance in the Carnival of the Blue , a rotating monthly compilation of the "best of" ocean blogging. This...
A Grey Seal ( Halichoerus grypus ) poses in the waters off Acadia National Park in Maine. Grey seals live on both coasts of the Northern Atlantic, with breeding colonies in Great Britain, Ireland,...
The Gyre is an abstract piece symbolizing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a large ocean vortex that collects trash from around the Pacific Ocean. A lot of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage...
This whalebone rib cage is a simple structure, made by just stringing empty white bottles onto wire. Even though whales are large animals, the accidental consumption of plastic or other ocean trash...
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