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Ultraviolet light illuminates the growth rings in a cross-section of a 44-year-old deep-sea coral ( Primnoa resedaeformis ) collected off the coast of Newfoundland at about 1,300 feet (400 meters). Similar to tree trunks,...
Bikini Atoll, formed over millions of years around an island in the Pacific...
Welcome to Citizens of the Sea , a new blog series where ocean life comes to...
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From parrotfish that cover themselves in a blanket of their own mucus to tiny...

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Blast fishing, when dynamite or other explosives are used to stun or kill fish, is a practice used in many villages and isolated regions of the world. Hundreds of fish can be seen strewn across the reef, left as bycatch, such as...
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

In November 2012, Australia began protecting a huge swath of its ocean from overfishing and oil exploration, creating the largest network of marine reserves in the world at a grand total of 1.2...
Half a century after nuclear testing blasted the reefs of Bikini Atoll, corals have recovered.
Stare at a tide pool and you will often see a crust of pink coating the bottom. No, this is not bubblegum from some careless teenager’s shoe: it’s a stony kind of seaweed that, like other seaweeds,...
The pink strands of this single deep-sea coral harbor a variety of marine life. Sea whips are gorgonian corals and have flexible skeletons. See more pictures of coral in our Deep-sea Corals article.
This coral reef in the Western Pacific Ocean was killed by human input of silt and sand from nearby islands reaching the coral reef habitat. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in our Coral...
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...
Grey reef sharks ( Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos ) are among the most versatile and tough predators on a Pacific coral reef, but they are also among the most vulnerable species, as they are threatened...
Syllid fireworms are a part of the Syllidae family , which is a type of polychaete worm. Usually these small worms, not getting much bigger than 13 cm, live on the ocean floor. But when the worms...
Nestled among the beautiful coral reefs of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a place that could provide the key to our understanding of one of the biggest threats to coral reef survival: Ocean Acidification...
This piece of pocillopora, or cauliflower coral , would normally have a rigid outer skeleton, but researchers dissolved it to expose the coral’s tissue and take a sample for DNA analysis. Read more...
This deep-sea black coral from Hawaii ( Leiopathes sp. ) is more than 4,200 years old. Black corals are named for the color of their skeletons, but the external tissues of black corals come in many...
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...
Tiny plant-like organisms called zooxanthellae live in the tissues of many animals, including some corals , anemones, and jellyfish , sponges, flatworms, mollusks and foraminifera . These microscopic...
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...
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...
A Coral Reef Watch satellite monitors the temperature of the world’s oceans. When ocean waters get too hot, corals release the microscopic algae that provide them with color and, more importantly,...
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...
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...
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