The Ocean is important to all life, including yours. Join us.
Welcome to the Ocean Portal – a unique, interactive online experience that inspires awareness, understanding, and stewardship of the world’s Ocean, developed by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and more than 20 collaborating organizations.
You are among the first wave of visitors to the Portal, an experience which we hope will empower you to shape and share your personal Ocean experiences, knowledge, and perspectives.
The input you provide through feedback modules and comment boxes will help us to shape future Ocean Portal content and functionality. Like the Ocean, which is made of millions of marine species, your comments, questions, and clicks will help to bring the Portal closer to the vastness and variety of the Ocean itself.
A male mudflat fiddler crab (Uca rapax) waves its huge claw to impress females and threaten male competitors. More about the animals and plants living in mangrove ecosystems can be found in the Mangroves section.
Smithsonian squid expert Dr. Clyde Roper collaborated with National Geographic to attach this Crittercam to the head of a sperm whale, hoping to get footage of the whale’s favorite prey—giant squid. At left is the Crittercam’s inventor, Greg Marshall, of National Geographic. At right is British cephalopod expert Dr. Malcolm R. Clark. Click here to see footage of a sperm whale equipped with a Crittercam.
Dr. Clyde Roper, Smithsonian zoologist and squid expert, tries to measure up to a giant squid specimen (Architeuthis) from New Zealand. The squid wins. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid featured story.
The Pharaoh Cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis) lives in warm waters (30°C) in the western Indian Ocean. Cuttlefish are the most commonly caught cuttlefish species in the Persian Gulf, either for aquarium use or human consumption. This one was photographed in an aquarium at the visitor's center for the Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University.
Like it or not, giant squids are related to snails, clams, and even slugs. They are all mollusks and have soft, fleshy bodies. More can be found in the Giant Squid section.
Smithsonian Zoologist Dr. Clyde Roper (rear) and museum specialist Mike Sweeney examine the mantle of a dead giant squid. Everything we know about giant squid comes from studying specimens found washed up on beaches, floating in the ocean, or caught in a fishing net.
These newly hatched squid larvae (Doryteuthis plei) are tinier than the head of a dissecting pin, which is even smaller than a common sewing pin. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid featured story.
This male giant squid is on display in the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. It measures about 2.7 meters (9 feet) long and weighs a little more than 45.5 kilograms (100 pounds). Found off the coast of Spain, it is on loan to the Smithsonian from the Coordinadora para el Estudio y la Protección de las Especies Marinas, which preserves giant squid specimens from the waters of northern Spain.
Dr. Clyde Roper prepares to dive thousands of feet to a giant squid habitat off the coast of New Zealand in a one-person submersible.