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Depending on whom you talk to, jellyfish are either fascinating, a nuisance, a toxic menace, or some combination of the above. Jellyfish plop into the media spotlight when their presence causes beach closures, or...
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The ocean is home to a phenomenal diversity of marine organisms. They have...
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This summer, many of you have likely enjoyed feasting on crabs, be they blue,...
Zombie worms don’t crave brains: instead they seek bones. The 1 to 3 inch (2 to...

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What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building corals have tiny plant-like organisms living in their tissue. The corals couldn’t survive without these microscopic algae–called zooxanthellae (zo-zan-...
In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita...
An orange brisingid starfish sits on a large reef of Lophelia pertusa, cold-...

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Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean...
Like it or not, giant squids are related to snails, clams, and even slugs. They are all mollusks and have soft, fleshy bodies. More can be found in the Giant Squid section .
In this episode of the Podcast of Life , learn how three fiery, painful stings during an early morning swim in Hawaii changed the life of researcher Angel Yanagihara. Once the young biochemist had...
The Census of Marine Life - a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, “What lives in the sea?” It was an international effort to asses the diversity,...
This much smaller hyperiid (in the genus Paraphromina ) has eyes that make up 45 percent of its body! Its many retinas, which researchers believe are used to maximize light detection, are the small...
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-...
Recent scientific discoveries have revealed an underwater community of marine animals and other organisms that thrive in the dark depths of the ocean near hydrothermal vents and undersea volcanoes...
Many expeditions in the Arctic reveal new species, such as this jellyfi sh Bathykorus bouilloni , which, strangely, has only four tentacles! Dr. Kevin Raskoff from California State University,...
Climate and sea changes in the Southern Ocean create conditions that favor the growth of salps over krill , the latter of which are a vital food source for seals, whales, and penguins. Salps are...
Sea stars are important members of marine ecosystems, especially in the tropics. We may think of tropical coral reefs as being home mainly to fish and corals, but in fact these habitats are home to a...
Several species of amphipod like this one, Gammarus wilkitzkii , live permanently within Arctic sea ice . These animals are endemic, meaning they only live here. They acclimate to a wide range of...
Bright colors seem to jump off of this comb jelly, or ctenophore. The rainbow effect appears when light emanates from comb jellies' namesake combs, which are rows of cilia that run up and down their...
Marine parasites may be small in size, but they can be present in very high numbers and put together can weigh even more than all the top predators in an estuary or bay ecosystem! They play an...
Depending on whom you talk to, jellyfish are either fascinating, a nuisance, a toxic menace, or some combination of the above. Jellyfish plop into the media spotlight when their presence causes beach...
I have a vivid childhood memory of sitting under the Blue Whale model hanging in the Natural History Museum in London, eating an ice cream and wondering “How in the world did that whale get so big?”...
A sea star , Hymenaster pellucidus , brought up from a benthic ROV dive. View the “Under Arctic Ice” photo essay to learn more.
How many animals swim in the sea? It's not easy to count them all. To get a feel for the ocean's diversity, scientists, such as those involved in the Census of Marine Life , sail out on research...
The Baltic is a brackish sea, a unique combination of freshwater from rivers in the surrounding countries and salt water from the ocean. The low salinity levels are one of the factors that determine...
This close-up photo of a right whale's head shows dozens of hitchhikers—tiny crustaceans known as whale lice, or cyamid amphipods. They live on the rough patches of skin (known as callosities) on...
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