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.
This nearly complete giant squid washed up on a beach in Norway around 1950. Almost everything we know about giant squid comes from the scientific study of dead specimens like this one.
Dr. Clyde Roper (top left), of the Smithsonian Institution, and scientists from NOAA and the Delaware Museum of Natural History dissect a giant squid specimen donated by NOAA. Everything we know about the biology of giant squid comes from dissecting and studying dead specimens.
This photo shows just a small part of the cephalopod collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Shown here is Dr. Clyde Roper, a zoologist and squid expert.
A giant squid left this tentacle behind after getting entangled on a hook below a Japanese research vessel, and eventually escaping. An underwater camera took footage of the event—the first time a giant squid was caught on film. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid featured story.
This is the first photograph of a live giant squid (Architeuthis) in its natural habitat. It was taken in 2004 by two Japanese researchers who had suspended a long line from their research vessel with a camera and bait attached. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid section.
A giant squid attacks a boat - something that has not been known to happen in real life. For centuries, rare glimpses of this huge sea creature led to fantastic explanations for what people's astonished eyes saw - or thought they saw. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid featured story.
Like octopods and cuttlefishes, giant squid have eight arms. But they use their two much longer feeding tentacles to seize prey. The tentacles have powerful suckers at the ends. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid featured story.
Hundreds of powerful suckers stud the flattened club at the end of the giant squid’s long feeding tentacle. They help the squid capture and hang on tightly to its prey. They also leave deep scars in the skin around the mouths of sperm whales as the squid fight to escape from the whale’s jaws. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid featured story.
The Raven Spirit canoe would eventually travel more than 4,828 kilometers (3,000 miles) from Prince of Wales Island to Washington, D.C. More about raven spirit can be found in our Raven Spirit featured story.