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Snow on land can make some people grumpy, but the magical-looking flakes and a beautiful layer on the trees can turn even disenchanted adults into gleeful children again. But what is the ocean equivalent...
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Imagine: You’re in a small submersible, and you gently settle on the soft muddy...
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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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...
This lanternfish ( Diaphus sp .), found in the Red Sea, has light-producing photophores along its ventral surface (belly), and a nasal light organ that acts like a headlight. Hear scientists tell...
This tiny, shrimplike creature is no more than 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) long, but it’s as ferocious as a shark. Its giant eyes spot prey. Huge claws grab the prey, and a tiny mouth rips it to shreds...
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 on? Will...
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...
A live Acesta clam attached near the base of a small Callogorgia colony.
Deep sea animals have to live in a very cold, dark, and high-pressure environment where they can't see a thing! To survive there, they've evolved some very strange adapations. Some make their own...
Like a cake, the ocean has different layers—each with its own characteristics. (No icing, though.) The surface layer receives the most sunlight, allowing photosynthetic organisms like phytoplankton...
A variety of corals colonize the rocky surface of Manning Seamount, part of the New England Seamount Chain located in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This photo was...
This newly-discovered carnivorous sponge ( Chondrocladia lyra ) was found using robotic submersibles operated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute 10,000 feet below the surface in dark...
Ocean scientists recently discovered this new species of black coral off the coast of southern California. It was named the “Christmas tree” coral, Antipathes dendrochristos , in 2005 because of its...
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 ."
Scientists describe the amazing bioluminescent creatures they encounter as they descend into the deep--siphonophores, ctenophores, and viperfish--in this Smithsonian/History Channel "Deep Ocean...
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...
You may have seen the sparkle of fireflies on a summer’s night. The fireflies produce light through a chemical reaction in their glowing abdomens, a process known as bioluminescence. But did you know...
Take a tour of the Alvin, a three-person submersible that allows scientists to explore the depths of the ocean. This is an excerpt from the full Deep Ocean Explorers video. More about deep ocean...
Like its terrestrial namesake, the Venus fly-trap anemone ( Actinoscyphia sp.) sits quietly and waits for food to drift into its outstretched tentacles, which are lined with stinging harpoons called...
Methane gas, trapped deep within the Earth's crust, can slowly leak from cracks in the seafloor known as methane seeps. While we would never consider methane as food, in the deep sea where there is...
Tropical hatchetfish ( Argyropelecus lychnus ), like the one shown in this X-ray photograph, live in the dark depths of the ocean ; this specimen was collected at about 2,789 feet (850 meters) in the...
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