Invertebrates

Animals without backbones make up a huge percentage of the ocean’s biodiversity. They aren’t just small (like pteropods) or squishy (like jellyfish); the giant squid and corals that build huge reefs are also invertebrates.

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Seaside Lichens

Horizontal bands of color represent different species of lichen that have...
Japanese scientists videotaped this female giant squid, alive, at the water's surface

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Giant Squid

Giant squid live up to their name: the largest giant squid ever recorded by scientists was almost 43 feet (13 meters) long,...

Martha Nizinski: Hooked on Deep-Sea Corals

Scientist Martha Nizinski examines a sample of the deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa , collected 600-m (1,969-ft) deep off the coast of the southeastern United States. Credit: A. Howard Nine years ago I was invited...

Submersible Collects Deep-Sea Corals

Come along as scientist Dr. Brendan Roark narrates a submersible dive to collect and study deep-sea corals. Roark studies deep-sea corals to understand the history of the ocean and past ocean climates. Learn more...
Nine small invertebrates held on two fingers.

On Biodiversity: Understanding its Meaning and Importance

These mollusks and echinoderms are a teeny-tiny sample of the ocean's biodiversity. The Census of Marine Life estimates that there are at least one million species of plants and animals in the sea. Most...
Photograph of the underside of a gelatinous octopus with a bright yellow bioluminescent ring around her mouth.

Bioluminescent Animals Photo Gallery

Bioluminescence is one of the more captivating adaptations that have evolved in marine animals. It's the ability of organisms to create and emit light. Dive underwater and you may witness lightshows of red, green,...
A photo of an oyster cage, out of the water, covered in sea squirts.

Alaska Vulnerable to Invasive Species from Warmer Waters

Invasive species can have a range of environmental and economic impacts. In this photo, sea squirts foul an oyster cage. Scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center's Marine Invasions Lab study the movement and...
A photo of Oceana's ice class research vessel, the Hanse Explorer, on the Baltic Sea.

Biodiversity in the Baltic Sea

In the spring of 2011, a research crew from Oceana spent two months in the brackish Baltic Sea . The Baltic faces challenges from pollution, algae blooms, over fishing, and invasive species. Oceana researchers...
Two baby olive ridley sea turtles.

Surveying Life On Sea Turtles

<p>These baby olive ridleys (<em>Lepidochelys olivacea</em>) will eventually provide a home to crustaceans, mollusks, and other epibionts. That's according to a survey of epibionts living on mature, nesting olive ridleys and green sea turtles...
Two baby olive ridley sea turtles.

Baby Sea Turtles in Jalisco, Mexico

These baby olive ridleys ( Lepidochelys olivacea ) will eventually provide a home to crustaceans, mollusks, and other epibionts. That's according to a survey of epibionts living on mature, nesting olive ridleys and green...
A tiny yellow goby living inside an abandoned can on the seafloor; Suruga Bay, Japan

Image Gallery: The Perfect Underwater Photo

For nearly 35 years, National Geographic photojournalist Brian Skerry has been immersing himself in the big blue to get the perfect underwater photograph. He admits that there will never will be a "perfect" photo,...
A white, elongated, and whorled wentletrap shell, seen from two angles.

Sanibel Island Shells: One Species at a Time

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 shells,...
This shrimp is colored to fit in - probably why they are common members of the seaweed community.

A World Adrift: Life in the Sargassum Slideshow

Smithsonian Marine Science Network Postdoctoral Fellow, Seabird McKeon, returns from the Smithsonian field site in Belize. Together with Dan Barshis of Stanford University, Seabird reports on the seemingly invisible inhabitants of drifting sargassum seaweeds...
The Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure was developed to help scientists study coral reef diversity and have now been adopted broadly to study diversity around the world.

A Better Way to Measure Marine Life

The Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure was developed to help scientists study coral reef diversity and have now been adopted broadly to study diversity around the world. Credit: Laetitia Plaisance/CReefs, Census of Marine Life Collect,...

Clyde Roper On the Over-Sized Anatomy of the Giant Squid

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 Architeuthis and Eyeball...
A sea toad from the deep waters off of Curacao.

Collections from Curaçao

During the 2012 field season of the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) in Curaçao, Smithsonian scientists collected many specimens with the help of the Curasub . Prospective new species were caught on almost every...
The Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure was developed to help scientists study coral reef diversity and have now been adopted broadly to study diversity around the world.

Uncovering Biodiversity… with ARMS and a Submarine Claw

The Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure was developed to help scientists study coral reef diversity and have now been adopted broadly to study diversity around the world. Credit: Laetitia Plaisance/CReefs, Census of Marine Life If...
A tusk shell hermit crab peeks out of his shell.

Uncovering Biodiversity Before It Disappears

Editor's Note: See more information and details about the organisms displayed in the slideshow here . Researchers who come to Curaçao to take part in DROP ( Deep Reef Observation Project ) aren’t running...

The Great Hermit Crab Migration

A Caribbean hermit crab (Coenobita clypeatus) crawls on the forest floor. Credit: Flickr user Island Conservation Over the last few days, a video of hermit crabs stampeding across the rocky shores of St. John...
Corals, sponges, and algae are the major components of most coral reef communities as shown in this picture.

Corals and Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic...

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