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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...
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By Lindsay Aylesworth, Project Seahorse The day I stepped into my wetsuit,...
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Scientists don’t often get the opportunity to travel through time. But nestled...
How do we know what coral reefs looked like hundreds of years ago? Often times...

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The pearly razorfish’s name may be slightly misleading since it is neither as rare as a pearl nor as dangerous as a razor. It is a common fish that tends to live in clear shallow areas near seagrass beds and coral reefs, where it...
The festive Christmas tree worm ( Spirobranchus giganteus ) lives on...
A master of disguise, the pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus bargibanti ) grows 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...
A number of questions have inspired marine ecologist Stuart Sandin to head to the coral reefs of the Line Islands . Sandin works at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of...
See a few of the many species of deep-sea corals that have been discovered by scientists just since 2004. Learn about more deep-sea discoveries in our Deep-sea Corals article.
While bottom trawling—a fishing method that drags a large net with heavy weights across the seafloor—fishermen often catch more than their target fish. Here, they've scooped up a large deep-sea coral...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Scientists journey to the isolated island of Moorea on a quest to catalog every life form big enough to pick up with tweezers—from mountaintop to seafloor. Get up close and personal with researchers...
When you are shopping for gifts and jewelry, steer clear of gifts that use real coral or other marine animal products. Deepwater pink and red corals in particular have been prized for their beauty in...
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...
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...
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...
Close to the volcanic CO 2 seeps, the vast diversity of corals that exists in less-acidic waters is replaced by a "monoculture" of boulder corals. These are less fragile and better suited to life in...
Several species of deep-sea corals form a garden 165 m (540 ft) below the ocean’s surface off the coast of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Explore more in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the...
Dr. Amy Baco-Taylor observed corals like these on her first submarine dive to a deep-sea coral bed off the coast of Hawaii. They include primnoids, zoanthids, and Gerardia . The high density and...
by Amanda Feuerstein On the east coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula lies a small marine protected area that represents one of the most impressive successes in ocean conservation. Cabo Pulmo...
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...
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...
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