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In a decade long project, which ended in October 2010, scientists with the Census of Marine Life traveled the world cataloging the ocean’s life forms. From Australia to China to the Gulf of Mexico...
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From the giant squid to microscopic squid babies, squids are beautiful and...
Since summer 2013, starfish along both coasts of the United States have been...
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Tiny plant-like organisms called zooxanthellae live in the tissues of many...

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“Upon returning from the reef after a night dive, I swam toward a bright reflection and came eye-to-eye with this beautiful, curious squid," said Charles Viggers, a Nature's Best photographer. Squids have organs in their skin...
This ctenophore (a stingless jellyfish-like animal) is native to the east...
It's a pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus bargibanti ), found in Indonesia's...

DIVE DEEPER

Nudibranchs are a kind of sea slug, and their 3000 species are found from the poles to the tropics in both shallow and deep...
A fan-shaped colony of red coral ( Corallium sp.) on the Davidson Seamount provides a perch for three basket stars as they feed. See more pictures of coral in our Deep-sea Corals article.
In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita aurita ) in the Chesapeake Bay, have become more common around the world for a number of different reasons . One result of...
A giant squid left this tentacle behind after getting entangled on a hook below a Japanese research vessel, and eventually escaping. An underwater camera took footage of the event—the first time a...
These cancer cells have been treated with discodermolide, a chemical obtained from a sponge that grows on deep-sea coral reefs. It prevents the cells from dividing and spreading. Learn more about...
A mangrove tree crab ( Aratus pisonii ) clings to a leaf near the Smithsonian Institution’s marine laboratory on Galeta Island, Panama, part of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute . During...
This nudibranch, or shell-less marine snail, is making a comeback to a location it hasn't been to in years along the California coast. First discovered off the coast of Southern California in 1902,...
Named for the radiant blue color on its back and sides, the blue shark ( Prionace glauca ) traverses the world’s temperate and tropical seas. Known for traveling great distances and being a swift...
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...
A morning sun star ( Solaster dawsoni ) loses its grip on a rock surface as its body slowly decomposes from starfish wasting syndrome off the coast of Vancouver in September 2013. These photos are...
A humboldt squid ( Dosidicus gigas )—also known as the jumbo squid—releases a cloud of ink at night in Mexico's Sea of Cortez. These large, carnivorous squids can reach more than 5 feet in length and...
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...
Giant anemone. More about mangrove ecosystems can be found in the Mangroves section .
Adaptation is the key word if you are looking to survive in a tide pool, a space that some scientists describe as the most competitive real estate in the ocean. Tide pools are exposed to the water's...
Ari Daniel Shapiro is joined for this episode of One Species at a Time by serious beachcombers along the high-tide line of Sanibel Island, Florida. These “shellers” come in search of beautiful sea...
Can you spot the amphipod ( Phronima atlantica ) in the below photo? She's the transparent lobster-looking animal in the middle, surrounded by her own eggs -- inside a sac that once was the "barrel"...
Two brown and purple nudibranchs ( Risbecia tryoni ), crawling in tandem on a surface encrusted with pink-colored coralline algae. These "sea slugs" live in the tropical Western Pacific Ocean. You...
Amidst the bright blue tufts and the dark blue fringes of the beautiful Risbecia tryoni , you might not even notice the red emperor shrimp. The two animals are native to the Indo-Pacific region, and...
Discovering new species is an exciting quest, right? Well, some parts are—but after you find a cool-looking organism that you think is a new species, there's a lot more to be done. You have to...
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