Exploration

Humans have always been explorers, and the sea is certainly a place that allows for new and fascinating discoveries, even today.

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DIVE DEEPER

Deep Ocean Explorers

The submersible Alvin carries scientists to the deep ocean, where they encounter amazing creatures and views of deep ocean...
A diver collects water samples.

Ocean Sampling Day – Taking the Pulse of the World’s Oceans

Smithsonian scientist Chris Meyer is collecting water samples as part of the Pilot Ocean Sampling Day in 2013 on Moorea, French Polynesia. Credit: Gustav Paulay If you are a bird watcher you have probably...

Sequencing at Sea: Studying Small Things Using Big Equipment

"Barely a room onboard escaped being turned into a part of the sequencing laboratory," wrote Rob Edwards in a blog post about doing genomic sequencing at sea. Credit: Mark Vermeij Microbes are some of...
Small red hyperiid.

The Hyper Eyes of Hyperiids: How Some Shrimp-Like Creatures See Light in the Deep Sea

Hyperiid amphipods are small crustaceans related to sand fleas and distantly related to shrimp. They range in size from very tiny to more than 7 inches long, and are found at all depths of...
A "reef hotel" made of PVS layers on the seafloor.

Worth the Investment: Ocean Real Estate Reveals Hidden Diversity

Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian's Sant Chair for Marine Science, puts out an Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) during a dive in the Red Sea. Credit: Michael Berumen Good real estate is hard to find. This...
A submersible explores the deep reefs off of Curacao in the Caribbean.

Exploring Deep Reef Ecosystems in a Submersible: The Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP)

The Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) is a Smithsonian research program launched to explore marine life and monitor changes on deep reefs in the southern Caribbean. Found below SCUBA diving depths, deep reefs may...
Tiny jellies in a petri dish.

Fishing for Plastic: Science in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

By now, you have probably heard of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch . The name conjures the image of a floating island made of familiar plastic trash such as soda bottles and plastic bags,...

Take a Virtual Submarine Dive to the Deep

You can explore the Curasub from your computer! Inspect, launch, board and recover to get an idea of what it's like to mann an underwater submersible. Credit: Courtesy of Curasub A manned submersible is...

Making Aquaculture Sustainable

Watch as Dr. Dallas Alston and a team of researchers study the effects of aquaculture at a fish farm near Puerto Rico. With careful planning and good daily practices, aquaculture can be part of...
A submersible explores the deep reefs off of Curacao in the Caribbean.

Keeping Exploration Alive With Manned Submersibles

Video of Why are manned submersibles important? Smithsonian research zoologist Carole Baldwin answers the question "why are manned submersibles important?" The Ocean Portal was lucky enough to join the Deep Reef Observation Project team...
A shrimp boat fishes in the Gulf of Mexico

Live Stream Event: Dispatches From the Gulf

April 20th marks the sixth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill , the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
A map of the Mid Ocean Ridge

Making a Mark on the Ocean Floor

Until very recently oceanography was a field dominated by men. A seafaring career, oceanography was still influenced by the superstitions of ship life; a woman on board was considered to bring bad luck. It...

What is Marine Archaeology?

What exactly is marine archaeology? It is the study of past human cultures with an emphasis on how humans interacted with the world's oceans, lakes and river systems. It tends to be best known...

Searching for Crustaceans in the Deep Sea

In this video Smithsonian research zoologist Dr. Martha Nizinski takes viewers with her as she searches for crustaceans in the deep sea . She's particularly interested in finding squat lobsters , which despite their...

The Trouvadore: A Story of Deliverance

Join marine archeologists as they trace the history of the Trouvadore , a slave ship bound for Cuba that wrecked in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1841, and the ship’s passengers unusual path...

The Weird, Wonderful World of Bioluminescence

“It’s a little appreciated fact that most of the animals in our ocean make light,” says Edie Widder, biologist and deep sea explorer at ORCA. In this TED talk, she shows incredible film and...
A variety of plankton images from the Gulf Stream

STREAMCODE – Planktonic Diversity of the Gulf Stream

A powerful ocean current, the Gulf Stream, transports warm seawater, nutrients and organisms from the Gulf of Mexico northward along the U.S. East Coast and across the North Atlantic up towards Europe. The movement...
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A Brittle Star May Be a Coral’s Best Friend

A brittle star wraps its arms around the branches of a deep sea octocoral. The coral's polyps are all open and extended, a sign that the coral is unbothered by the sea star. Credit:...

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