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If you look closely, you can read a message in the corals. We are not being metaphorical. Barry and Aimee Brown set out to search for hidden letters among brain coral colonies two years...
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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Many species of pink coralline algae cover a reef surface in the Southern Line Islands. Often unnoticed, these pink algae crusts help to cement coral reefs together, providing extra support and habitat for animals that live on...
Sponges are animals that eat tiny food particles as they pump water through...
There aren't any mummies or zombies buried under the seafloor: instead the...

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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...
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...
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...
Algae has overtaken this coral reef off heavily populated Kiritimati, or Christmas Island. Few fish swim in the murky waters. The causes include pollution, overfishing, and increased water...
What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building corals have tiny plant-like organisms living in their tissue. The corals couldn’t survive without these microscopic algae–...
A fan-shaped colony of red coral ( Corallium sp.) on the Davidson Seamount provides a perch for three basket stars as they feed. See more pictures of coral in our Deep-sea Corals article.
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...
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...
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...
"While Komodo Island, Indonesia is famous for its giant prehistoric lizard, its underwater also holds unique marine species to treasure. The orangutan crab is one of them. With its maximum size of...
The blue-spotted stingray ( Taeniura lymma ) doesn’t like to be covered in sand like other species of stingray do. Instead, it prefers to show off its beautiful blue spots and, to stay up to the best...
This colorful coral lives in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. On the whole, this coral reef is the largest single structure built by living organisms and can be seen from space! Although more than one...
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...
We have arrived as the advanced scouting party to the scene of this year's field work location: Pemuteran, a small fishing village in northwest Bali. More importantly, we are sitting squarely at the...
Convict surgeonfish ( Acanthurus triostegus ) are the roaming sheep of the reef but, instead of noshing on grass, they feed on algae. Their grazing helps to balance the growth of algae and coral on...
The long silver tool shown here is a piece of traditional Australian fishing gear called a “yabbie pump.” Researchers use the device to collect burrowing shrimp and other fast-moving animals from the...
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...
Dead man’s fingers ( Alcyonium digitatum ) are soft corals named for their appendage-like appearance when thrown ashore by storms. The finger-like clumps of coral polyps come in various shades of...
Red coral necklaces fill a store display window. The United States annually imports around one million live coral animals from tropical reefs for use in aquariums, and is the largest documented...
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