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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 1946 and 1958, the...
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Welcome to Citizens of the Sea , a new blog series where ocean life comes to...
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From parrotfish that cover themselves in a blanket of their own mucus to tiny...
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Stare at a tide pool and you will often see a crust of pink coating the bottom...

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Compare the healthy coral on the left with the bleached coral on the right. Increased water temperatures caused the bleached coral to lose the microscopic algae that give the coral color and provide it with food. Corals can...
The Oculina deep-sea coral reef at top has not been disturbed by humans—but...
What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building...

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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...
The majestic and highly predatory red lionfish ( Pterois volitans ) , native to the Indo-Pacific, is invading Atlantic waters. The lionfish is a popular home aquarium species, and some were most...
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...
On a healthy coral reef, fish (as well as many other organisms) thrive. Not only are reefs beautiful, but they are also critical to ocean health and human livelihoods.
The small larvae of elkhorn coral ( Acropora palmata ) settle and grow on the crustose coralline algae species Hydrolithon boergesenii .
These corals are dead—smothered in sediments and overgrown with algae. The reef is near Komodo Island in Indonesia. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in our Coral Reefs featured story .
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...
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...
Colorful corals and brittlestars inhabit the Manning Seamount in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of New England. Here you can see golden-colored coral (Enallopsamia rostrata), pinkish-brown coral (...
Grey reef sharks ( Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos ) are among the most versatile and tough predators on a Pacific coral reef, but they are also among the most vulnerable species, as they are threatened...
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...
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...
Just like other seahorse species, male weedy sea dragons are the ones to get 'pregnant' and give birth to the babies. To show he is ready to hold eggs, the male wrinkles part of his tail. On this...
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...
Coral reefs are beautiful, vibrant ecosystems that house roughly one quarter of all marine species and provide billions of dollars in products and services to humans each year. But they are also...
Branching corals, because of their more fragile structure, struggle to survive in acidified waters that surround the volcanic CO 2 seeps of Papua New Guinea. Read more about how reef scientist...
In this photo of a shallow coral reef in the Pacific there are three species of forams . On the left, Peneroplis planatus . In the center, Amphistegina lessonii . And on the right, Laevipeneroplis sp...
Visitors to the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef temporary exhibit at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History saw both the main installation created by to the Institute For Figuring and the...
Corals, sponges, and algae are the major components of most coral reef communities. To the untrained eye, they are sometimes difficult to tell apart. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in...
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