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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Ocean Views 2012 Contest Winners

From Nature's Best Photography Explore the winning photos from the 2012 Nature's Best Photography Ocean Views contest! You...
Dampier explored this area of Western Australia and named it Shark Bay because of the "abundance" of sharks in the waters. It is now a World Heritage site.

Around the World Again...and Again

After the success of his first voyage, Dampier was made captain of his own ship and invited to lead the first scientific expedition to Australia (then known as New Holland). He was fascinated by...
This 1890 painting of Charles Darwin is on display at the Turin Museum of Human Anatomy.

Famous People Dampier Influenced

In England, Dampier’s bestselling books about his voyages generated a new enthusiasm for travel writing. But his influence extended far beyond his homeland’s borders. Dampier’s detailed natural observations fueled the imaginations of writers and...
During what is known as the Golden Age of Piracy, pirates reaped great rewards—and, if they were caught, faced terrible punishments. Here are some of the most legendary pirates of that time.

Pirates of the Golden Age

Meet seven of the most fearsome pirates from the Golden Age of Piracy. Like pirates? Read more about William Dampier , a most fearsome pirate -- and naturalist.
As soon as Dampier set foot in Australia, he began making observations and collecting specimens of plants, which he carefully pressed between the pages of books to be studied by the “ingenious” and “curious” upon his return to England. As Dampier conducted his investigations, his artist made detailed sketches like these.

Discoveries in Australia and New Guinea

This slideshow features illustrations of some of the plants and animals that William Dampier, a naturalist and pirate, observed in Australia (then known as New Holland) and New Guinea. Learn more about Dampier in...

Census of Marine Life Video Release

As 10 years of intensive research draw to a close, the Census of Marine Life has released the most comprehensive inventory of life in the ocean to date. This landmark collection of scientific papers...

Creature Feature from the Census of Marine Life

In a decade long project, which ended in October 2010, scientists with the Census of Marine Life traveled the world cataloging the ocean’s life forms. From Australia to China to the Gulf of Mexico...
Logo for the Carnival of the Blue.

Diving Into the Carnival of the Blue

Logo for the Carnival of the Blue. Credit: Carnival of the Blue Exciting news for the Ocean Portal blog! We’re happy as clams to be making our inaugural appearance in the Carnival of the...

Clyde Roper: Squid Hunter - Eyeball to Eyeball

Dr. Clyde Roper, squid expert, explains how he developed a passionate interest in the giant squid ( Architeuthis dux) in this excerpt of "Eyeball to Eyeball," an episode of Errol Morris' First Person television...

Clyde Roper: Squid Hunter - Architeuthis

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...
Students Work on Channel Island Map Project

Back to School, Ocean Portal Style

Students participate in a map project for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Credit: Claire Fackler, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries At the Ocean Portal, we love the back-to-school season. There’s excitement in the air—new...
The "Lower Invertebrates" exhibit in Smithsonian Institution Building in 1901 included models of a giant squid and an octopus.

Still Blue After a Century of Ocean Science and Exploration

The "Lower Invertebrates" exhibit in Smithsonian Institution Building in 1901 included models of a giant squid and an octopus. Credit: Smithsonian Archives This year marks 100 years since the National Museum of Natural History...
The People's Reef--Part of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef , created by Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring , weaves together strands of art, science, mathematics, and conservation. This beautiful installation has traveled around the...
A piece of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit.

When Art Meets Science: The Hyberbolic Crochet Coral Reef

The stunning Smithsonian Community Reef—an accompaniment to the main Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit created by local crafters. Credit: Rebecca Bray/Smithsonian Institution The “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef,” a unique exhibition and thought-provoking fusion of...
a bowhead whale and her calf, seen from above

Bowhead Whale: One Species at a Time

In the episode of One Species at a Time , writer Karen Romano Young takes an icebreaker to Barrow, Alaska, to join in the festival of Naluqatak and learn about the intimate relationship between...

Underwater Robots Explore the Ocean

The robotic underwater glider Scarlet Knight crossed the Atlantic over the course of several months in 2009. Credit: Map and Photo provided by Rutgers University A Rutgers freshman Engineering student prepares the Scarlet Knight’s...

Whalefish Swimming in the Ocean

Marine biologists discover a whalefish -- an incredibly rare deep-sea fish -- swimming in the ocean in this video. Because it is so dark where they live, females have well-developed sensory pores, called the...
Squid expert Dr. Clyde Roper examines specimens stored in jars in the Smithsonian collection.

The Scientist Is In

Each week, as part of our " Scientist Is In " program, a marine scientist is stationed in the Sant Ocean Hall at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. The scientist--whose job may be...
Illustration of Robotic Glider Evading Fishing Nets

Robotic Ocean Explorer

This is the world’s first unmanned, underwater robot—or “glider”—to cross an ocean basin, the pioneering Scarlet Knight . The robotic glider, also known as RU27, can dive to depths of 200 meters (660 feet)...

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