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Since summer 2013, starfish along both coasts of the United States have been dying in large numbers—and not gracefully. As their tissues collapse, the starfish (also called sea stars) start to look stretched and...
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Tiny plant-like organisms called zooxanthellae live in the tissues of many...
I have been at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History since 1966...
Collect, sort, identify, photograph, sample, record. Repeat a couple thousand...

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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 confirm that it's new, write a...
How does a coral spend its day? Most of us would say: not doing much. To the...
The blue crab ( Callinectes sapidus ) is one of the most important...

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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,...

The Ocean Blog

Octopi (Or octopuses, both are technically correct) are renowned as one of the smartest animals alive. With no bones except for their sharp beak, they can fit through almost any hole or crevice...
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...
Most wild seahorses (here the thorny seahorse Hippocampus histrix ) are monogamous and some species mate for life. Searching for mates can be difficult and risky since seahorses are poor swimmers,...
Weighing 600 pounds (around 272kg) and having a 30 foot (around 9 meters) arm span, the largest recorded giant pacific octopus was truly enormous. Giant pacific octopuses are powerful predators that...
A rockfish finds refuge in a deep-sea coral—a red tree coral of the Primnoidae family in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Learn more about deep-sea coral reef ecosystems in our Deep-sea...
This bivalve mollusk is native to the Caspian Sea, lagoons of the Black Sea, and their inflowing rivers. It lives in fresh and brackish water and cannot tolerate full seawater. In the 18th and 19th...
Polarized sunglasses have become the norm for humans when they want to filter out the strong glare from the sunlight bouncing off of water in a horizontal direction. But how do animals do that live...
Like this ctenophore ( Aulococtena acuminata ), many animals that live in the midwater zone are red—making them almost invisible in the dim blue light that filters down from the sea surface. This...
In 1874, Reverend Moses Harvey of Newfoundland bought a dead giant squid caught by fishermen. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid featured story .
Species of deep-sea gold coral, or Gerardia , often have a tree-like shape, as you can see in this specimen. See more pictures of coral in our Deep-sea Corals article.
This photo shows just a small part of the cephalopod collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Shown here is Dr. Clyde Roper , a zoologist and squid expert. More about the...
This brightly colored squat lobster collected in Moorea is a common find among the coral heads. Although called lobsters, this group of crustaceans is more closely related to hermit crabs than to...
From the giant squid to microscopic squid babies, squids are beautiful and fascinating. As cephalopods, the same family as octopuses and cuttlefish, they have no bones, and swim head-first through...
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...
You may not think of the ocean as a pharmacy but scientists are developing exciting new medicines from the sponges, corals, and other marine organisms found in the sea. Explore other videos that...
These deep-sea photographs show a variety of broad-collared enteropneusts or acorn worms . These wormlike animals make spiral tracks on the sea floor. All the species shown here are new to science,...
The Encyclopedia of Life and Atlantic Public Media bring us a new installment of the podcast, One Species at a Time . Vacuumed up from its habitat a mile down in the ocean, the red paper lantern...
Dr. Clyde Roper discusses the fascinating anatomy of the giant squid ( Architeuthis dux) in this excerpt of "Eyeball to Eyeball," an episode of Errol Morris' First Person television series. Watch...
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