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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...
If you look closely, you can read a message in the corals. We are not being...
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...

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"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 two centimeters, it felt like...
It's a pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus bargibanti ), found in Indonesia's...
In this photo of a shallow coral reef in the Pacific there are three species...

DIVE DEEPER

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...
A marine scientist performs a genetic analysis on a sample of deep-sea coral to find out if it is a known species or one new to science. Find out how ocean scientists study deep-sea corals in our...
The small larvae of elkhorn coral ( Acropora palmata ) settle and grow on the crustose coralline algae species Hydrolithon boergesenii .
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 ago near the...
A crown-of-thorns starfish ( Acanthaster planci ) on a reef in the Marianas Islands. An “outbreak” of these coral-eating starfish can decimate a reef, and they have done great damage on Australia's...
By Lindsay Aylesworth, Project Seahorse The day I stepped into my wetsuit, donned my mask, and embarked on my first scuba dive was the day I decided to be a marine biologist. Little did I know that...
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. Nancy...
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...
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...
In the X-ray image of this Viper Moray Eel ( Enchelynassa canina ), note the second set of jaws in the “throat”; these are the gill arches, which are present in all fish. Gill arches support the...
Unlike the shallow tropical coral reef pictured on the top, the deep-sea Oculina reef at bottom does not require sunlight. Learn more in the article " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."
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...
Scientists on the tiny island of Moorea, in the Pacific, are gathering one of every life form large enough to pick up with tweezers. They're on a quest to build a detailed catalog of the entire...
Deep-sea corals scientist Dr. J. Murray Roberts photographed these living polyps from the Mingulay Reef Complex off Scotland in aquaria in 2010. Learn more about Roberts' work mapping deep-sea corals...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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