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Each month, the Naked Oceans podcast invites a leading marine researcher to pick the "critter of the month" by asking: if you were a marine organism, which one would you be? This month, Dr...
Boring sponges get a bad rap. Their own name betrays them, announcing to the...
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (or the GBR as it is known to reef aficionados)...
Welcome to Moorea, a tiny, isolated island in the middle of the vast Pacific...

LATEST POSTS

Sponges are animals that eat tiny food particles as they pump water through their bodies. They are very common on Caribbean coral reefs, and come in all shapes, sizes and colors. There is great variability in their size: some...
Many species of pink coralline algae cover a reef surface in the Southern...
Corals are sedentery animals, so how do they reproduce? One way is sexually...

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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 Ocean Blog

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...
Visitors to the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef temporary exhibit at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History saw both the main installation created by to the Institute For Figuring and the...
In the wet lab aboard the R/V Seward Johnson , Dr. Martha Nizinski examines a sample of the deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa , collected 600-m (1,969-ft) deep off the coast of the southeastern United...
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 -- and celebrate -- the...
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...
Tree corals like this Calyptrophora bayer can grow several meters high and resemble brightly colored trees. This deep-sea coral was found 1,683 m (5,522 ft) deep on the Davidson Seamount. See more...
Nine years ago I was invited by a colleague to join a research team investigating deep-sea coral habitats . I was asked to examine the invertebrates associated with these ecosystems. After my first...
The festive Christmas tree worm ( Spirobranchus giganteus ) lives on tropical coral reefs and resembles a fluffy fir tree adorned with ornaments. The multi-functional branch-like appendages are used...
The Johnson-Sea-Link submersible reaches the ocean’s surface with a specimen of Keratoisis bamboo coral inside its collection box. Find out how ocean scientists study deep-sea corals in our Deep-sea...
Ocean scientists recently discovered this new species of black coral off the coast of southern California. It was named the “Christmas tree” coral, Antipathes dendrochristos , in 2005 because of its...
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...
Sit down with two veteran marine scientists, Dr. Nancy Knowlton and Dr. Jeremy Jackson, who fell in love with each other and the reefs of the Caribbean 40 years ago. Those reefs are now gone due to...
Bacteria are everywhere in the ocean. They live in the water, on virtually every living and non-living surface, and even inside other organisms . There are 1 million bacterial cells in every...
The Oculina deep-sea coral reef at top has not been disturbed by humans—but trawling has devastated the one at bottom. When fishermen trawl, they drag a net along the seafloor, destroying everything...
Corals, sponges, and algae are the major components of most coral reef communities. To the untrained eye, they are sometimes difficult to tell apart. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in...
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...
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...
An aerial photo of Carrie Bow Cay and the Smithsonian research station looking north with Twin Cays in the background. The Smithsonian’s Carrie Bow Cay Marine Field Station supports research projects...
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