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Most scuba divers scour coral reefs looking for colorful fish, natural beauty, and maybe even the perfect underwater photo . Shirley Pomponi , a biologist at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, however,...
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Since late April, the world has watched a devastating oil spill from a BP...
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Even on an early winter morning, it was sunny and warm in southern Florida...
Most lobsters are a mottled brown color, but sometimes you can see a strange...

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These candy cane snapping shrimp ( Alpheus randalli ) have a pretty nice set up. They share their living space with goby fish, helping the fish dig and maintain the burrow that they share in the seafloor. In turn the small, and...
This is a tree topper unlike any other! Reminiscent of a freshly made snow...
Like its terrestrial namesake, the Venus fly-trap anemone ( Actinoscyphia sp...

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Giant squid live up to their name: the largest giant squid ever recorded by scientists was almost 43 feet (13 meters) long,...
Nine years ago I was invited by a colleague to join a research team investigating deep-sea coral habitats . I was asked to examine the invertebrates associated with these ecosystems. After my first...
Massachusetts ceramics artist Joan Lederman glazes her work —including this bowl—with deep sea sediments. Some contain tiny single-celled organisms called foraminifera. Lederman has noticed that...
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?”...
Rudist clams are mollusks that went extinct about 65 million years ago. They were the reef builders of the Cretaceous Period, the heyday of the dinosaurs. Today corals have taken over the role...
All over the world, people have been witnessing gigantic blooms of tens of thousands of jellyfish where once there were only a few. Fishers find them clogging their nets and costing them dearly. In...
The veined octopus ( Amphioctopus marginatus ), also known as the coconut octopus, has a skill beyond other cephalopods: it hides under animal and coconut shells, dragging them along the seafloor for...
The yeti crab ( Kiwa hirsuta ), an unusual, hairy crab with no eyes, was discovered in 2005 on a hydrothermal vent near Easter Island. It represents not only a new species but also a new genus— Kiwa...
This male giant squid is on display in the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History . It measures about 2.7 meters (9 feet) long and weighs a little more than 45.5...
This female hyperiid ( Phronima sedentaria ) is surrounded by her young, residing in the hollowed out barrel-shaped body cavity of a salp. It is thought that the mother Phronima captures and kills...
Success! A so-called "dumbo" octopod is chased and finally captured by a suction device on the ROV, skillfully operated by a pilot on the ship above.
These large jellyfish ( Chrysaora fuscescens ) are most commonly found along the coasts of California and Oregon. (They're also popular in the displays of public aquaria.) Their bells can grow to a...
These corals from the Smithsonian collections are Stephanocyathus (A.) spiniger , a solitary, deep-water stony coral species. Around 74% of all deep-water corals are solitary, living as individual...
Swimming by a black sea nettle may be a bit of a shock. These large jellyfish can grow to be over three feet in diameter, and their tentacles can be over 25 feet long. Despite their large size, much...
This sea potato ( Echinocardium cordatum ) looks similar to its root vegetable namesake, but it's a sea urchin! The spines on this urchin are more hair-like than the spikes seen on some more commonly...
The lion’s mane jellyfish ( Cyanea capillata ) is the largest among the jelly species, with the largest known specimen stretching across 120 feet (36.5 meters) from its top to the bottom of its...
Sponges are animals that eat tiny food particles as they pump water through their bodies. They are very common on Caribbean coral reefs, and come in all shapes, sizes and colors. There is great...
During the summer of 1998, scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science made a series of disturbing discoveries in the Chesapeake Bay. In June, they collected an unusual specimen: a single...
In the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, what is the effect of oil on invertebrates like jellyfish, clams, crabs, sea stars, and plankton? The scope of the damage is more easily observed among birds...
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