Census of Marine Life

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The Census of Marine Life was a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, “What lives in the sea?” The international effort to asses the diversity, distribution, and...
This transparent cockatoo squid ( Leachia sp.), also known as a glass squid,...
Now that the Census of Marine Life is over, we’re checking in with some of the...
In a decade long project, which ended in October 2010, scientists with the...

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Like this ctenophore ( Aulococtena acuminata ), many animals that live in the midwater zone are red—making them almost invisible in the dim blue light that filters down from the sea surface. This small comb jelly snares prey with...
This colony of Rosacea may look like a single jellyfish, but it is actually...
This brilliant red octopus ( Benthoctopus sp. ) was photographed at more...

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Did you know that over 17,000 species thrive in the deep sea where no light penetrates the ocean waves? Or that an old...

The Ocean Blog

This beautiful open ocean microbe is a type of large amoeba called an acantharian. Microbes account for over 90 percent of the biomass in the ocean -- they are teeming with microscopic bacteria,...
This jelly’s red color provides camouflage in the deep ocean. Red light rarely reaches those depths, and most deep-sea animals have lost the ability to see red. The long, complex tentacles of this...
This colony of Rosacea may look like a single jellyfish, but it is actually a large group of smaller siphonophores clustered and living together. In fact, the zooids (individual siphonophores living...
This brilliant red octopus ( Benthoctopus sp. ) was photographed at more than 8,800 feet (about 2,700 meters) in Alaminos Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico. See more photos of wild creatures encountered...
Sea butterflies (also called pteropods) are sea snails aptly named: they are shelled marine snails, each with a foot like a wing, that swim in the water column like butterflies. This one, Atlanta...
The Census of Marine Life was a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, “What lives in the sea?” The international effort to asses the diversity,...
This bright purple sea star is a new species found by the Census of Coral Reef Ecosystems , a project of the Census of Marine Life. This particular specimen was seen on the reefs of the French...
Scientists believe orange roughy ( Hoplostethus atlanticus ) live longer than 150 years! Here, Census of Marine Life researchers used an underwater camera to photograph this group of orange roughy...
Like this ctenophore ( Aulococtena acuminata ), many animals that live in the midwater zone are red—making them almost invisible in the dim blue light that filters down from the sea surface. This...
This rarely-seen smalleyed rabbitfish ( Hydrolagus affinis ), belonging to the order of Chimaera, was caught during a research trip to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in 2004 sponsored by the Census of Marine...
The comb jelly (ctenophore) Thalassocalyce inconstans is found in shallow to deep water in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and sometimes in warmer Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of...
This transparent cockatoo squid ( Leachia sp.), also known as a glass squid, lives in the depths of the ocean and has many adaptations to help it survive there. It retains ammonia solutions inside...
The Census of Marine Life - a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, “What lives in the sea?” It was an international effort to asses the diversity,...
Like its terrestrial namesake, the Venus fly-trap anemone ( Actinoscyphia sp.) sits quietly and waits for food to drift into its outstretched tentacles, which are lined with stinging harpoons called...
In the Coral Triangle, a biodiverse area between Indonesia and the Philippines, scientists discovered this swimming polychaete (bristly worm), which they have dubbed the "squidworm." Using a remotely...
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...
Expedition data went to the Arctic Ocean Diversity database of the Census of Marine Life to establish a baseline that will help to document change in the poorly known Arctic Ocean. Scientist Kevin...
This new species of deep-water sea cucumber ( Elpidia belyaevi ) was discovered by Census of Marine Life researchers in the frigid waters of the Arctic . Since the 1800s, researchers observed sea...
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