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Imagine: You’re in a small submersible, and you gently settle on the soft muddy bottom at a depth of 12,000 feet. It’s absolutely dark. What will you see when the exterior lights are turned...
Scientists describe the amazing bioluminescent creatures they encounter as they...
Imagine you’re an alien seeing Planet Earth for the first time. What do you see...
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Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they...

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As we dive deeper into winter in the northern hemisphere, the possibility of snow becomes an increasingly frequent topic of conversation. But did you know that the ocean gets a regular dose of ‘marine snow’ year round? The flakes...
Like its terrestrial namesake, the Venus fly-trap anemone ( Actinoscyphia sp...
Census of Marine Life researchers discovered this unusual transparent sea...

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Deep below the ocean’s surface is a mysterious world that takes up 95% of Earth’s living space. It could hide 20 Washington...
Two years after being covered in an oil substance, from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, deep-sea corals were colonized by hydroids and their branches began to break off.
Zombie worms ( Osedax roseus ) eat away at the bones of a dead whale that has fallen to the seafloor in Sagami Bay, Japan. These bizarre worms rely on whale bones for energy and are what scientists...
The research submersible Alvin uses bright lights to illuminate the dark seafloor. Built in 1964, it has made more than 4,400 dives. It can carry two scientists and a pilot as deep as 4,500 meters (...
A sea lion in the Sea of Cortez observes Dr. Peter Auster as he observes reef fishes. Learn more about deep-sea coral reefs in our Deep-sea Corals article.
Positioned in front of a natural oil seep, this video camera is capturing images of the black oil bubbling up from beneath the sea floor. A light mounted to the frame helps see what is happening in...
This deep sea creature, the whalefish ( Cetomimidae ), has a whale-like body, a gaping mouth, no fins or scales and a deep lateral line, which detects vibrations in the water. The first specimens...
Watch as a team of wave chasers heads to Somoa where they search for an undersea river five kilometers beneath the ocean's surface. There they measured skyscraper-sized internal gravity waves, which...
This Japanese research ship Chikyu drills into the ocean floor to learn about Earth’s history and structure, and the mechanism of earthquakes in particular. Completed in 2005, it is the first...
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...
This aptly named fish ( Anoplogaster cornuta ) has long, menacing fangs, but the adult fish is small, reaching only about 6 inches (17 cm) in length. It's teeth are the largest in the ocean in...
Giant squid live up to their name: the largest giant squid ever recorded by scientists was almost 43 feet (13 meters) long, and may have weighed nearly a ton. You’d think such a huge animal would be...
The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) SeaBed, shown here as it is about to be deployed, has been used to survey deep-sea fishes and coral habitats. Learn more about how underwater vehicles study...
Artist Shih Chieh Huang spent a good part of 2007 exploring specimens of deep-ocean animals found in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History . He was a Smithsonian Artist Research...
Now that the Census of Marine Life is over, we’re checking in with some of the researchers to hear about their favorite expedition, what they learned, and how the Census and its findings continue to...
In Antarctica's Southern Ocean swims a beautiful polychaete (bristly worm) called Tomopteris carpenteri , which is adorned with alternating red and transparent bands. The largest species in its genus...
These deep-sea corals at the Madison-Swanson Marine Reserve in the Gulf of Mexico are protected, along with the marine life they harbor. Learn more about deep-sea corals and marine protected areas in...
This bubblegum coral ( Paragorgia arborea ) has a fanlike shape. It is growing 1,310 m (4,298 ft) deep on the Davidson Seamount southwest of Monterey, California. Learn more about deep-sea corals in...
A still from Mysteries of the Deep , part of the 19th Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital.
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