Beaches

With calming surf or pounding waves, beaches act as the buffer between the ocean and land, where specially adapted coastal communities thrive.

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Over the last few days, a video of hermit crabs stampeding across the rocky shores of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands has taken the internet by storm. Where are the hermit crabs...
Sandy beaches are home to a Diversity of Life In the Shores and Shallows...
There are different types of beaches and multiple factors that influence the...
While conducting field work in Curaçao in 2011, Smithsonian researchers...

LATEST CATCH

These star-shaped grains of sand, collected from southern Japan, look like miniature works of art -- but they were not sculpted by an artist. They are the shells of microscopic organisms called foraminifera , which build...
Anemone porcelain crabs may look delicate but they have their own sort of...
Necora puber , also known as the velvet swimming crab, may not be as soft as...

DIVE DEEPER

Welcome to Moorea, a tiny, isolated island in the middle of the vast Pacific. Moorea is 132 square kilometers (51 square...
Male fiddler crabs each have a single super-sized claw that they use as a weapon to threaten and fight other males and as beautiful adornment to attract females. Here, see a video of two male dancing...
Necora puber , also known as the velvet swimming crab, may not be as soft as the name implies. The crab's red eyes and aggressive nature have resulted in a second nickname, devil's crab . As if it...
Coral sand is aptly named: it's sand made up of tiny bits of coral and other ocean animals such as foraminifera , molluscs, and crustaceans. This image, taken at 100x zoom, took 18th place in the...
The sun sets over Sanur in Bali, Indonesia during low tide. Follow along with updates through blogs and photos from the team of students and researchers who are doing field research through the...
This summer, many of you have likely enjoyed feasting on crabs, be they blue, stone, or Dungeness, and a special treat will have been the big, easy morsels of claw meat. The size of this muscle is...
The jingle shell ( Anomia simplex ) is a common bivalve found on the Atlantic coast of North America, amongst the more commonly known clams and oysters. As with oysters, the lower shell is glued to a...
Very few plant species can survive close to the ocean, where pounding surf fills the air with tiny salt crystals. Too much salt is not good for us, and it is not good for most plants. When you think...
“As I set up for a sunset shot—one last, solitary surfer exited the water and I quickly fired a few frames trying to capture the serenity of the moment.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Karen Doody...
Large waves are a draw for surfers, scientists and spectators alike to locations around the world. Changes to the coast and ocean floor as well as sediment flow can change the nature of a wave as it...
The blue-lined octopus may be small, growing to at most 15 cm, but it can be deadly: its venom can cause breathing failure in humans as well as other animals. Turtles can accidentally consume the...
The grasses and animals living in marshes help to filter water and stabilize shorelines, along with providing habitat for a variety of mammals, fish, shellfish and amphibians and a haven for...
Sandy beaches are home to a Diversity of Life In the Shores and Shallows Gallery of the Smithsonian's Sant Ocean Hall , a beach display features magnified grains of sand and the tiny beach critters...
There are different types of beaches and multiple factors that influence the formation of sand. Many beaches may look alike, but they are actually very different from each other. Wave patterns,...
These star-shaped grains of sand, collected from southern Japan, look like miniature works of art -- but they were not sculpted by an artist. They are the shells of microscopic organisms called...
The Kemp’s ridley is a “riddler” among sea turtles . Although the species was initially recognized in 1880, scientists didn't know where it nested until 80 years later, when a film documenting about...
Sea stars ( Odontaster validus ) and sea urchins ( Sterechinus neumayeri ) spread over an algae-covered seafloor off the coast of Antarctica. These two species are often found living in association...
Bonaire, a small Caribbean island just north of Venezuela, is routinely ranked as a top diving destination in the world. But there's something getting in the way of beautiful dives: plastic trash...
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