Human Connections

When thinking of "human connections" with the ocean, most people would think about pollution or overfishing. But humans are also explorers and scientists, artists and writers. Explore how the ocean has influenced human culture and how you can get involved.

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X-ray image of a winghead shark

X-Rays of Fish Reveal Diversity

Scientists in the Division of Fishes at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History use X-ray imaging to study the complex bone structure and diversity of fish. This image gallery showcases X-ray images of...
A collage of the wildlife found in one cubic foot on the reef near Moorea, French Polynesia.

Finding Little Gems in the Sea

A collage of the wildlife found in one cubic foot on the reef near Moorea, French Polynesia. Credit: © David Liittschwager/National Geographic This month, our friends at National Geographic are featuring Smithsonian's own bio-scavenger,...
Ruth Meadows examines specimens as part of her Teacher at Sea experience.  NOAA Teacher at Sea Ruth Meadows sorts specimens aboard the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow as part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystem (MAR-ECO) project.

NOAA Teacher at Sea Ruth Meadows

Ruth Meadows examines specimens as part of her Teacher at Sea experience. NOAA Teacher at Sea Ruth Meadows sorts specimens aboard the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow as part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystem...

The Titanic Wrecksite

On her maiden voyage the Royal Mail Ship Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic just before midnight on April 14th, 1912. Dr. Robert Ballard first discovered the ship's wreckage in 1985. Nearly...

Welcome to the Moorea Biocode Project

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 in...
Gulf Coast of Florida tidal flats exposed by an early morning low tide.

Changing Tides: A Series of Ocean Discussions

The ocean is essential to all life, but experts agree that there are changes affecting the ocean and how it functions. With this in mind, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the Centers...

Find Your Blue at the Smithsonian Ocean Portal

Calling all ocean lovers: What’s Your Blue? Have you found it? More than ever, the fate of the ocean is in our hands. To be good stewards and leave a thriving ocean for future...
An illustration of a giant squid (Architeuthis dux)

Giant Squid: One Species at a Time

How do you get two dead giant squid the size of a school bus from a fishing boat in Spain to Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.? Call in the U.S...
dinoflagellates

Dinoflagellates: One Species at a Time

Ari Daniel Shapiro is joined for this episode of The Podcast of Life by science contributor Josh Kurz, who tells the story of dinoflagellates through "music from the bottom of the food chain." There...

From Sea to Shining Sea

Credit: Terence T.S. Tam from Flickr CC Happy (early) Independence Day! For many of us in the United States, the 4th of July is a time to celebrate and reflect on our national heritage...
Cover of the Book Citizens of the Sea

Citizens of the Sea

Order a copy of the book, Citizens of the Sea . Credit: National Geographic The incredible variety of marine life—in numbers, body form, behavior, and more—is at the heart of Citizens of the Sea...
Mangroves abut blue ocean waters.

Mangroves: One Species at a Time

Follow researchers Candy Feller and Dennis Whigham from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center as they scramble, climb, crawl, and creep through the tangled roots of a mangrove forest. In this episode of the Podcast...

"Blue Planet" Music Video

“Blue Planet” is a song on the Oceans Are Talking CD, produced by musician Sam Lardner. Listen to more inspirational songs for kids and adults, including “What Can I Do?” “Humanatee,” and “Pteropods” at...
Musician Sam Lardner and friends created the 14-song CD Oceans Are Talking to inspire kids and adults to help save the ocean and the creatures living in it.

Five Questions for Musician Sam Lardner

Musician Sam Lardner and friends created the 14-song CD Oceans Are Talking to inspire kids and adults to help save the ocean and the creatures living in it. Credit: Dan Mead Wherever you live—and...
Pirate on the high sea

Pirates Ply the Ocean

Today you can just hop on a plane and be on another continent within a day's time. But a century ago the only way to get from one continent to another was by sea--and...
Mangroves are being decimated by human development, like this shrimp farm in Belize.

Five Minutes for Mangroves

This shrimp farm in southern Belize is just one example of how mangroves worldwide are giving way to human development. In just the last decade, at least 35 percent of the world's mangroves have...
Buccaneers divide their treasure under the watchful eye of Captain Morgan.

From Plantation to Pirate Ship

Orphaned at an early age, William Dampier whetted his appetite for the sea with several long voyages. He moved from England to Jamaica to help manage a sugar plantation, but that didn’t work out...
This painting of swarthy buccaneers in the midst of a fierce battle was painted by the prolific American marine painter Frederick J. Waugh, and won the Thomas B. Clarke award in 1910 for the best American figure composition.

Piracy's Heyday

Pirates have been a scourge on the seas for thousands of years. But the heyday of pirates was the late 1600s and early 1700s. A long war in Europe had just ended. Skilled seamen...

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