Deep Ocean

Difficult to reach, the deep ocean is still very much a mystery and is often explored using remotely operated vehicles or submarines. The deep sea is vast and dark, but many organisms call this area home. 

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A photo of a squid using bioluminescence to hide in the deep sea.

DIVE DEEPER

Bioluminescence

You may have seen the sparkle of fireflies on a summer’s night. The fireflies produce light through a chemical reaction in...

Science in a Time of Crisis: Assessing the Impacts

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...
Woods Hole researchers sample oil from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico

Scientists From Woods Hole Respond to Gulf Oil Spill

Woods Hole scientists operate an ROV at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to sample the oil from the ruptured well. Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Soon after the April 20, 2010,...

Diversity of Deep-Sea Corals

Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they differ in color, shape, and size. Explore more in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."
After ocean scientists sort deep-sea coral samples into their different types, they measure and photograph the specimens.

Studying Deep-Sea Corals

What happens to deep-sea coral samples after they are collected? In this image gallery, see some of the ways ocean scientists sort, measure, photograph, and study them. Learn more in the multimedia feature "...
This species of bamboo coral, discovered in 2004 in the Pacific Northwest, has unusually long and impressive tentacles.

Newly Discovered Deep-Sea Corals

It's a new age of discovery for scientists studying deep-sea corals. In this image gallery, take a look at a handful of the many species of deep-sea corals that have been discovered by marine...

Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) Video

Dr. Carole Baldwin , a research zoologist and fish expert with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, gives viewers an inside-look at the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). She and her colleagues are...
A photo of a sea toad specimen.

A Sub and a Sea Toad

Researchers with the Smithsonian's Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) collected this sea toad, Chaunax pictus , off the coast of Honduras in 2011. The team is trying to collect sea toads from around the...
Two scientists peer out into the ocean from inside the Curasub, a 5-person submersible

Diving for Crabs in the Deep Sea

In this video, Smithsonian research zoologist Dr. Martha Nizinski takes viewers with her as she searches for crustaceans in the deep sea . This work is part of the Deep Reefs Observation Project (DROP),...

Corals in the Juan de Fuca Canyon and the Davidson Seamount

Discover some amazing corals in this footage that shows and identifies a range of deep-sea coral species from the Juan de Fuca Canyon off the Olympic coast and the Davidson Seamount, an underwater volcano...
J. Murray Roberts studies and maps the cold-water corals known as Lophelia in the North Atlantic.

Exploring the Blue Planet with J. Murray Roberts

J. Murray Roberts studies and maps the cold-water corals known as Lophelia in the North Atlantic, where the bases of some coral mounds are 2.6 million years old. Credit: Sebastian Hennige Imagine you’re an...
Amy Baco-Taylor

Amy Baco-Taylor: Passionate about Deep-Sea Corals

Coral scientist Dr. Amy Baco-Taylor observed corals like these on her first submarine dive to a deep-sea coral bed off the coast of Hawaii. Credit: Photos by A. Baco, T. Kerby and M. Kremer,...

Coral Scientist Brendan Roark: On an Urgent Mission

Dr. Brendan Roark discusses different methods of sampling deep-sea corals with undergraduate students at Texas A&M University. Credit: James LaCombe Deep-sea coral beds are true biodiversity hotspots. It’s urgent that we study these extreme...

Martha Nizinski: Hooked on Deep-Sea Corals

Scientist Martha Nizinski examines a sample of the deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa , collected 600-m (1,969-ft) deep off the coast of the southeastern United States. Credit: A. Howard Nine years ago I was invited...

Peter Auster: The Gee Whiz Factor

Auster gets ready to study fish predators at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Georgia. Credit: Courtesy Greg McFall, NOAA I still haven’t gotten beyond the ‘gee whiz’ factor of studying...

Aleutian Islands Deep-Sea Corals

In this brief video clip from NOAA, catch a glimpse of the startling beauty and diversity of life found among deep-sea corals near the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. Explore more in the multimedia feature...

Submersible Collects Deep-Sea Corals

Come along as scientist Dr. Brendan Roark narrates a submersible dive to collect and study deep-sea corals. Roark studies deep-sea corals to understand the history of the ocean and past ocean climates. Learn more...
Photograph of the underside of a gelatinous octopus with a bright yellow bioluminescent ring around her mouth.

Bioluminescent Animals Photo Gallery

Bioluminescence is one of the more captivating adaptations that have evolved in marine animals. It's the ability of organisms to create and emit light. Dive underwater and you may witness lightshows of red, green,...
A photo of a 2011 installation by artist Shih Chieh Huang, featuring his illuminated creations made from everyday objects.

When Art Meets Science: Exhibition Inspired by Bioluminescence

Artist Shih Chieh Huang creates his work using plastic bags, household objects, computer cooling fans, LED lights, and other assorted materials. This photo is of a 2011 installation at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum...

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