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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...
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...
Dr. Robert Ballard poses with an unmanned submersible, like the one he used when locating and exploring the wreck of the RMS Titanic. A veteran explorer, former U.S. Navy Commander, and professor of...
GEOMAR scientist Armin Form works at his lab during a long-term experiment on the effects of lower pH, higher temperatures and "food stress" on the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa . In a previous...
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 ‘...
Flower-like zoanthids, relatives of coral, carpet a hydrothermal vent. This species of zoanthid is the first ever discovered at a hydrothermal vent. See more pictures of incredible deep sea diversity...
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. This photo gallery shows...
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...
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...
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...
Dive through the zones of the ocean to the deep ocean bottom, where many strange species live, and there are many yet to be discovered. Explore them in the Deep Ocean Exploration section.
It is a well-known fact that for animals living in the deep sea, food can be scarce. The food that is around usually rains down from above as dead animals and organic particles from plankton living...
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...
Deep-sea corals scientist Dr. J. Murray Roberts photographed these living polyps from the Mingulay Reef Complex off Scotland in aquaria in 2010. Learn more about Roberts' work mapping deep-sea corals...
Deep-sea coral beds are true biodiversity hotspots. It’s urgent that we study these extreme environments because we know so little about them, because they are important communities for so many deep-...
This jelly’s red color provides camouflage in the deep ocean. Red light rarely reaches those depths, and most deep-sea animals have lost the ability to see red. The long, complex tentacles of this...
Black corals, like this one growing on the Manning Seamount off the New England coast, often resemble bushes or trees. Contrary to its name, the living tissue of black coral can be one of several...
In this episode of the Podcast of Life , host Ari Daniel Shapiro dives deep to discover a white worm as tall as your refrigerator that breathes through bright red feathery "lips." This isn’t a...
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...
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