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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...
Boring sponges get a bad rap. Their own name betrays them, announcing to the...
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (or the GBR as it is known to reef aficionados)...
Welcome to Moorea, a tiny, isolated island in the middle of the vast Pacific...

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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 variability in their size: some...
Many species of pink coralline algae cover a reef surface in the Southern...
Corals are sedentery animals, so how do they reproduce? One way is sexually...

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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...

The Ocean Blog

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...
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...
Species of deep-sea gold coral, or Gerardia , often have a tree-like shape, as you can see in this specimen. See more pictures of coral in our Deep-sea Corals article.
Bacteria are everywhere in the ocean. They live in the water, on virtually every living and non-living surface, and even inside other organisms . There are 1 million bacterial cells in every...
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...
Dr. Stephen Cairns is a research zoologist and chair of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. His research focuses on the diversity,...
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...
This forest of Christmas tree worms is a group of polychaete worms that live on tropical coral reefs. See more celebratory ocean creatures in our slideshow!
On World Oceans Day - June 8th, 2012 - the Living Oceans Foundation hosted a live web-based conversation between Sylvia Earle at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and a team of...
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...
For the past week, the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC) diving class of 2012 has seen countless fish in shades of pink, blue, yellow, red, and green darting through corals and the...
One of the first signs of a sick coral reef is seaweed creeping across the corals, stealing their precious sunny real estate. Healthy corals, however, aren't completely hopeless: in some reefs, small...
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...
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...
Healthy coral reefs support a mindboggling array of life. Here, at Rapture Reef in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, colorful fishes throng the waters for as far as the eye can see.
Shallow water coral reefs straddle the equator worldwide. The shallow coral reefs found in U.S. territorial waters are highlighted in purple in this map. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found...
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...
The robotic arm of a Pisces submersible collects a gold coral colony ( Gerardia sp.) during a research cruise in the Hawaiian Islands. Ocean scientists have radiocarbon-dated some Gerardia specimens...
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