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The pre-industrial American landscape was once rightly described as a place where “the deer and the antelope roam.” On land, we take it for granted that the plant-eating deer and antelope far outnumber the...
The majestic and highly predatory red lionfish ( Pterois volitans ) , native to...
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Reef biologists over a certain age are haunted by memories of what glorious...
by Laura Brodbeck A special type of marine protected area (MPA) called a “no-...

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A coral ( Montastraea faveolata ) has just spawned. Each of the hundreds of polyps living in the colony releases a small pink bundle of sperm and eggs. Read more about coral spawing and watch a spawning event .
This bluefin trevally is lucky to call Hawaii’s Maro Coral Reef, part of the...
Scientists have been studying why populations of crown-of-thorns sea stars...

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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...
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...
Rockfish, anemones, and other invertebrates inhabit this deep-sea coral reef in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of California. Deep-sea corals provide habitat and benefits to a...
These cancer cells have been treated with discodermolide, a chemical obtained from a sponge that grows on deep-sea coral reefs. It prevents the cells from dividing and spreading. Learn more about...
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...
Part 6 of a 6-part series describing WHOI's efforts to understand the scope and impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "Assessing the Impacts" describes a range of work by...
A scuba diver explores elkhorn corals ( Acropora palmata ) growing on a tropical reef. Coral reefs provide recreation and inspiration for millions of people every year. Elkhorn coral is listed as...
This bearded fireworm ( Hermodice carunculata ) must have a strong stomach -- it’s sucking on fire coral ( Millepora sp. ), which would give the unlucky snorkeler a nasty sting. Encountered in St...
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...
Scientists don’t often get the opportunity to travel through time. But nestled among the beautiful coral reefs of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a place that provides a glimpse today of what could be the...
From parrotfish that cover themselves in a blanket of their own mucus to tiny pygmy sea horses, there are some bizarre sea creatures that live in coral reefs . In this slideshow you can explore some...
Remotely located in the central Pacific Ocean, south of Hawaii, the Line Islands provide a remarkable research opportunity. The archipelago includes coral reefs reflecting the whole spectrum of...
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...
Just like other seahorse species, male weedy sea dragons are the ones to get 'pregnant' and give birth to the babies. To show he is ready to hold eggs, the male wrinkles part of his tail. On this...
A photo taken at a reef near Bocas del Toro, Panama. The reef suffered a mass bleaching event in the summer of 2010, when water temperatures were unusually high. In this photo, healthy brown coral...
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...
The Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991. The park, located in the extreme western tip of Java on the Sunda shelf, includes the Ujung Kulon...
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...
Dr. Martha Nizinski holds a specimen of a fan sponge ( Phakellia sp. ) collected at a deep-sea coral study site off the coast of South Carolina. Deep-sea corals and sponges provide structure for a...
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