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The open ocean is surprisingly barren to the naked eye. Every now and again you will encounter a school of fish and their attendant predators, but most of the life that you find is...
Dr. Clyde Roper discusses the fascinating anatomy of the giant squid (...
In this video Smithsonian research zoologist Dr. Martha Nizinski takes viewers...
Most scuba divers scour coral reefs looking for colorful fish, natural beauty,...

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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 filter-feeding tunicates that...
The toothy goby or common ghost goby ( Pleurosicya mossambica ) lives among...
"Two arrow crabs in a cup coral, lit from behind. It seemed to be a scene...

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Nudibranchs are a kind of sea slug, and their 3000 species are found from the poles to the tropics in both shallow and deep...
Instead of females, male seahorses carry the developing seahorse embryos in a kangaroo-like pouch. During mating season, the female deposits her eggs into the pouch, and the male fertilizes them...
This halimeda crab’s disguise did not fool researchers in Moorea where it was collected. These crabs cover themselves with the green algae of halimeda for camouflage.
It is a well-known fact that for animals living in the deep sea, food can be scarce. The food that is around usually rains down from above as dead animals and organic particles from plankton living...
This specimen of the deep-sea coral Desmophyllum dianthus shows the visible bands that help marine scientists learn how ocean conditions changed over time. By looking at the thickness of each band,...
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...
The Smithsonian's Department of Invertebrate Zoology has a collection of over 57,000 specimens from over 5,700 sites in the Gulf of Mexico, which are now catalogued on Google Earth . Below is a tiny...
This new species of deep-water sea cucumber ( Elpidia belyaevi ) was discovered by Census of Marine Life researchers in the frigid waters of the Arctic . Since the 1800s, researchers observed sea...
These two nautiluses ( Nautilus belauensis ) are pictured off the coast of Palau in the Pacific Ocean. There are six living species of nautilus who live in chambered shells. As they get bigger, they...
A crown-of-thorns starfish ( Acanthaster planci ) on a reef in the Marianas Islands. An “outbreak” of these coral-eating starfish can decimate a reef, and they have done great damage on Australia's...
Much of the carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere ends up in the ocean. As CO 2 levels rise, seawater becomes more acidic. This change in chemistry poses a serious threat to marine organisms...
Squids come in a wide range of sizes, from smaller-than-your-thumb to the enormous giant squid. Giant squid grow up to 16 meters (50 feet). Learn more the life, range, and ecology of the giant squid...
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 .
Scientists have been studying why populations of crown-of-thorns sea stars ( Acanthaster planci ) have mushroomed in recent decades. Coral reefs can suffer when the sea star's numbers explode because...
These newly hatched arrow squid larvae ( Doryteuthis plei ) are each tinier than the head a pin. Free from their yolk sac, they will drift with the current out to sea as zooplankton. Many animals eat...
The ROV Hyper Dolphin caught this deep-sea jelly (Atolla wyvillei) on film east of Izu-Oshina Island, Japan. When attacked, it uses bioluminescence to "scream" for help—an amazing light show known as...
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–...
"While Komodo Island, Indonesia is famous for its giant prehistoric lizard, its underwater also holds unique marine species to treasure. The orangutan crab is one of them. With its maximum size of...
The “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef,” a unique exhibition and thought-provoking fusion of science, conservation, mathematics, and art, is on display in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National...
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