Coral Reefs

FEATURES

Blog entry
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...
Slideshow MORE STORIES Slideshow MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
By Lindsay Aylesworth, Project Seahorse The day I stepped into my wetsuit,...
Blog entry MORE STORIES Blog entry MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
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...

LATEST POSTS

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...

LEARN MORE

Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean...
When we think "Africa," we think of the "Big Five"—lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos—that crisscross the African Savannah. Few would imagine that there could be more natural beauty on...
“ This moray eel was resting among some hard coral and was mesmerized by my dive lights, making it a very cooperative subject. The moray eel rhythmically opens and closes its mouth to move water...
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...
These beautiful mandarinfish ( Synchiropus splendidus ) are covered in bright blue, red, yellow and orange waves. What they lack, however, are traditional fish scales. They live in western Pacific...
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.
A variety of organisms make their home on this tropical coral reef in Indonesia. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in the Coral Reefs section .
The Johnson-Sea-Link submersible reaches the ocean’s surface with a specimen of Keratoisis bamboo coral inside its collection box. Find out how ocean scientists study deep-sea corals in our Deep-sea...
American Samoa National Marine Sanctuary comprises a fringing coral reef ecosystem nestled within an eroded volcanic crater on the island of Tutuila, American Samoa. The 163-acre sanctuary—the...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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.
Bikini Atoll, formed over millions of years around an island in the Pacific Ocean about halfway between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii, has been subjected to horrific human-caused disturbances. Between...
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...
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...
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...
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,...
Subscribe to Coral Reefs