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Last September, the Citizens of the Sea blog series brought you a story of doom and gloom from the reefs of Bocas del Toro, Panama. That is the time of year we typically study...
Ultraviolet light illuminates the growth rings in a cross-section of a 44-year-...
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Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they...
Bikini Atoll, formed over millions of years around an island in the Pacific...

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"Macro shot of a whip coral goby, taken in Fiji during a trip to the Somosomo Strait," wrote Erwin Poliakoff of his image , a winning selection in the Portraits of Planet Ocean Flickr contest . Whip coral gobies ( Bryaninops...
This deep-sea black coral from Hawaii ( Leiopathes sp. ) is more than 4,200...
Giant clams are one of the many wonders of coral reefs. They can grow up to...

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Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean...
The robotic arm of a Pisces submersible collects a gold coral colony ( Gerardia sp.) during a research cruise in the Hawaiian Islands. Ocean scientists have radiocarbon-dated some Gerardia specimens...
Marine World Heritage is a prestigious list of 43 marine ecosystems and biodiversity treasures from across the globe, including countries such as Australia, Iceland, Russia, South Africa, the...
Boring sponges get a bad rap. Their own name betrays them, announcing to the world that they are unexciting, ordinary and quite frankly, boring. However, if ever a misnomer existed, this is it. More...
When snorkeling in the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA) in West Maui, I keep an eye out for certain kinds of fish. Not the brightest or the biggest, but those herbivores such as...
Two years after being covered in an oil substance, from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, deep-sea corals were colonized by hydroids and their branches began to break off.
Species of deep-sea gold coral, or Gerardia , often have a tree-like shape, as you can see in this specimen. See more pictures of coral in our Deep-sea Corals article.
Two events made me passionate about deep-sea corals . One was my first submarine dive in a deep-sea coral bed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu. There was an incredibly lush community of corals and...
Tectitethya crypta (formerly known as Cryptotheca crypta ) is a large, shallow-water sponge found in the Caribbean. It was first studied for medical purposes in the 1950s when few scientists or...
This map shows where some of the most significant species of deep-sea corals are located. Learn more about the distribution and ecology of deep ocean corals in the article " Coral Gardens of the Deep...
What is coral bleaching? These white corals in the Gulf of Mexico’s Flower Garden Bank National Marine Sanctuary are bleached due to an increase in water temperatures, which causes corals to lose the...
How do we know what coral reefs looked like hundreds of years ago? Often times, we are simply left wondering. Scientists can get an idea from naturalist recordings, but there are many unknowns and...
Imagine you’re an alien seeing Planet Earth for the first time. What do you see from your spacecraft? A blue planet with over 70% of its surface covered by ocean. From space it’s obvious how...
Not all sharks are a dull gray: the coral catshark ( Atelomycterus marmoratus ), for example, is vibrantly colored. These sharks, which reach more than 2 feet long, live among coral reefs, eating...
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...
Shallow water coral reefs straddle the equator worldwide. The shallow coral reefs found in U.S. territorial waters are highlighted in purple in this map. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found...
Check out the eyes on these Hawaiian squirrelfish ( Sargocentron xantherythrum )! Because squirrelfish are almost entirely nocturnal, they need big eyes to absorb as much moonlight and starlight as...
Deep-sea corals scientist Dr. J. Murray Roberts photographed these living polyps from the Mingulay Reef Complex off Scotland in aquaria in 2010. Learn more about Roberts' work mapping deep-sea corals...
Branching corals, because of their more fragile structure, struggle to survive in acidified waters that surround the volcanic CO 2 seeps of Papua New Guinea. Read more about how reef scientist...
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