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...
Aegina, a type of jellyfish, swims through the water.

The Surprising Elegance of Midwater Sea Life

Imagine a hollow cube, measuring one foot on each side, suspended in the ocean at a depth roughly three football fields below the surface. From here, the seafloor is another 4,000 feet (or 1,200...
Riftia tubeworm (Riftia pachyptila) colonies near hot spring.

The Microbes That Keep Hydrothermal Vents Pumping

These tubeworm colonies grow where hot, mineral-laden water flows out of the seafloor in undersea hot springs. Credit: ©2003 MBARI By Lyndsy Gazda & the Ocean Portal Team Life is typically sparse on the...

15 Creatures in the Gulf of Mexico that are Stranger Than Fiction

Credit: © 2015 DEEPEND/Danté Fenolio The Gulf of Mexico coastal region is known for its seafood —shrimp, spiny lobsters, crawfish and oysters just to name a few. Crawfish and shrimp boils, where spiced seafood...
A map of the Mid Ocean Ridge

Making a Mark on the Ocean Floor

Until very recently oceanography was a field dominated by men. A seafaring career, oceanography was still influenced by the superstitions of ship life; a woman on board was considered to bring bad luck. It...

Meet the Tiny Bacteria That Give Anglerfishes Their Spooky Glow

Descend two hundred meters (about 656 feet) below the surface and the ocean is reduced to total darkness. Creatures that live beyond the Twilight Zone spend their lives almost entirely in a near-limitless black...
Photograph of the underside of a gelatinous octopus with a bright yellow bioluminescent ring around her mouth.

Ocean Today Every Full Moon

Our friends at NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Ocean Today have a great new video series, "Every Full Moon," that we wanted to share with you.

Searching for Crustaceans 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 . She's particularly interested in finding squat lobsters , which despite their...

Video of Cirrate Octopod aka Dumbo Octopus

This octopod is sometimes called a “Dumbo” octopod because its fins resemble the ears of Disney’s Dumbo the elephant. The video was recorded in 2003 on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge by the Russian manned submersible...

The Weird, Wonderful World of Bioluminescence

“It’s a little appreciated fact that most of the animals in our ocean make light,” says Edie Widder, biologist and deep sea explorer at ORCA. In this TED talk, she shows incredible film and...

Life After Whale (On Whale Falls)

When a whale dies, the story has just begun. The massive carcass sinks to the seafloor, where it provides food for a deep sea ecosystem on the otherwise mostly barren seafloor. There are several...
A brittle star clings to the branches of a deep sea coral

A Brittle Star May Be a Coral’s Best Friend

A brittle star wraps its arms around the branches of a deep sea octocoral. The coral's polyps are all open and extended, a sign that the coral is unbothered by the sea star. Credit:...

Discover Deep-sea Corals in Maine

Scientists with NOAA Fisheries discovered deep-sea coral gardens in relatively shallow waters of the Gulf of Maine in 2014. As their name suggests, deep-sea corals live in cold oceanic waters. Unlike shallow-water corals, however,...

Creep into the Deep

Down below where the sunlight cannot penetrate, the ocean is a dark, cold and alien landscape. Can life really exist in such an extreme environment? NOAA Ocean Today Every Full Moon takes a look...

Deep-sea octocorals: An ecosystem of their own

Octocorals dominated the seafloor on Chris Mah's Okeanos mission to Johnston Atoll in the remote Pacific Ocean. Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2017 Laulima O Ka Moana The deep-sea is a...

Jellies Prey on Octocoral

Tiny jellyfish ( Aegina citrea ) settle on the feeding polyps present on the branch tips of some octocorals, where they devour the tissue.

Sea Stars Feed on Octocorals

Spiny goniasterid sea stars methodically feed on the soft tissues of octocorals as they slowly climb up the body. Many of these predatory sea stars are known to remain on the corals for a...

A Battle With Octocoral for Food

Although not strictly speaking a predator, a sea-anemone-like animal called a zoanthid overtakes the surface of some Paragorgia octocoral colonies, crowding over the original coral animal and competing with the coral’s polyps for food.

Red Paper Lantern Jellyfish: One Species at a Time

The Encyclopedia of Life brings us a new installment of the podcast, One Species at a Time . Vacuumed up from its habitat a mile down in the ocean, the red paper lantern jelly...

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