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The “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef,” a unique exhibition and thought-provoking fusion of science, conservation, mathematics, and art, is on display in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. By engaging local...
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Tiny plant-like organisms called zooxanthellae live in the tissues of many...
Coral reefs are beautiful, vibrant ecosystems that house roughly one quarter of...
The pre-industrial American landscape was once rightly described as a place...

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How does a coral spend its day? Most of us would say: not doing much. To the human eye, a coral looks relatively still, waiting in the current and hoping some food will run into its tentacles. But this video "Slow Life" by marine...
Sponges are animals that eat tiny food particles as they pump water through...
Many species of pink coralline algae cover a reef surface in the Southern...

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It may be the last place you’d expect to find corals—up to 6,000 m (20,000 ft) below the ocean’s surface, where the water is...

The Ocean Blog

A thicket of white stony coral ( Lophelia pertusa ) shelters a squat lobster (Eumunida picta). This is the typical shape of this widespread species of deep-sea coral. See more pictures of coral in...
The blue-spotted stingray ( Taeniura lymma ) doesn’t like to be covered in sand like other species of stingray do. Instead, it prefers to show off its beautiful blue spots and, to stay up to the best...
This is an unidentified moray eel , collected from 650 feet off the coast of Curacao. Morays are very secretive animals that tend to stay hidden in caves and crevices. Researchers with the Deep Reef...
Smithsonian zoologist Dr. Steve Cairns named and described this deep-sea coral species, Stephanocyathus paliferus, which is now preserved in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History...
A fan-shaped colony of red coral ( Corallium sp.) on the Davidson Seamount provides a perch for three basket stars as they feed. See more pictures of coral in our Deep-sea Corals article.
“ This moray eel was resting among some hard coral and was mesmerized by my dive lights, making it a very cooperative subject. The moray eel rhythmically opens and closes its mouth to move water...
In this photo of a shallow coral reef in the Pacific there are three species of forams . On the left, Peneroplis planatus . In the center, Amphistegina lessonii . And on the right, Laevipeneroplis sp...
Two large coral trout ( Plectropomus leopardus ) swim through a coral reef on Taveuni Island in Fiji. Coral trout are highly desired fish for human consumption, and because of overfishing, are...
Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic...
The branches of a primnoid coral in the genus Calyptrophora provide a habitat for galathaoid crabs. Learn more about the deep-sea coral reefs in our Deep-sea Corals article .
Dr. Valerie Paul is studying chemical defenses that may protect coral reefs from many species of herbivores that live on coral reefs. In this picture she is examining tropical seaweeds on...
This photo of Kingman’s Reef in the Line Islands shows what a healthy coral reef should look like. The water is crystal clear. A variety of richly colored corals carpet the seabed. And a native...
Is it lights out for corals once they have experienced a bleaching event? Not necessarily. This photo shows a coral reef near Bocas del Toro, Panama that is in the process of recovering from a mass...
Reef biologists over a certain age are haunted by memories of what glorious places Caribbean reefs once were. In our youth we studied them for all sorts of reasons but scarcely thought about reef...
Papahānaumokuākea, a chain of islands northwest of the main Hawaiian archipelago, is home to vibrant coral reefs with scores of fish species. It was designated a Marine World Heritage Site in August...
Much of the carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere ends up in the ocean. As CO 2 levels rise, seawater becomes more acidic. This change in chemistry poses a serious threat to marine organisms...
How biodiverse is one coral reef compared to another? To find out, in Spring 2012, Smithsonian scientist Chris Meyer his students in the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC) course counted...
Coral reefs are beautiful, vibrant ecosystems that house roughly one quarter of all marine species and provide billions of dollars in products and services to humans each year. But they are also...
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