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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...
CREDIT: Chris Kenaley The Mystery Develops Flash forward to 1956, when...
Giant squid live up to their name: the largest giant squid ever recorded by...
Now that the Census of Marine Life is over, we’re checking in with some of the...

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The deep-sea dragonfish ( Stomiidae ), also called the barbeled dragonfish, uses it's fang-like teeth to grab prey in its deep-sea environment . Like other deep-sea organisms, dragonfish have bioluminescent photophores and other...
This tiny, shrimplike creature is no more than 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) long...
In the icy waters of the Arctic , a deep-water larvacean (aka “sea tadpole”...

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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...

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This crab ( Neolithodes sp. ) was collected on a NOAA/MAR-ECO cruise to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the summer of 2009. Its red color provides camouflage and protection from predators. Red wavelengths...
An orange brisingid starfish sits on a large reef of Lophelia pertusa, cold-water corals in the Gulf of Mexico, at 450 m depth as a school of fish swims above. They have many arms—up to 20!—covered...
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 (...
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.
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...
In the wet lab aboard the R/V Seward Johnson , Dr. 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...
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...
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 ."
I still haven’t gotten beyond the ‘gee whiz’ factor of studying communities of animals in deep-sea coral habitats. Climbing over undersea mountains and along the steep cliffs of submarine canyons...
This new species of lobster is blind—an adaptation to deep-sea life —and has very bizarre claws, or chelipeds. It was discovered about 300 meters (984 feet) deep in the Philippine Sea by a Census of...
With a scientific name that means "the vampire squid from hell," you'd expect the vampire squid ( Vampyroteuthis infernalis ) to be a fearsome predator terrorizing the deep. Despite its demonic look...
Thousands of seamounts—most of them undersea volcanoes—tower above the muddy seafloor. They provide something hard to come by in the deep ocean: a solid surface to cling to. Corals, sponges, and...
The deep-sea dragonfish ( Stomiidae ), also called the barbeled dragonfish, uses it's fang-like teeth to grab prey in its deep-sea environment . Like other deep-sea organisms, dragonfish have...
This transparent cockatoo squid ( Leachia sp.), also known as a glass squid, lives in the depths of the ocean and has many adaptations to help it survive there. It retains ammonia solutions inside...
Dr. Edie Widder spoke at the National Museum of Natural History as a part of the Changing Tides Lecture Series and discussed her work on underwater light: light chemically produced by animals through...
Found 1,751 m (5,745 ft) below the surface of Hawaii’s waters in 2007, this orange bamboo coral is 1.2–1.5 m (4–5 ft) tall. It is thought to represent a new genus. Learn about more deep-sea...
Under white light, this shortnose greeneye fish ( Chlorophthalmus agassizi ) looks unimpressive. But, in dim blue light—the type usually seen at depth—it shows its true fluorescent colors. NOAA...
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 icy cold and the light dim or absent. Yet believe it or not, lush coral...
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