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Jellyfish and comb jellies are gelatinous animals that drift through the ocean's water column around the world. They are both beautiful—the jellyfish with their pulsating bells and long, trailing tentacles, and the comb jellies...
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Holozooplankton are animals that live adrift in the ocean waves for their...
In the icy waters of the Arctic , a deep-water larvacean (aka “sea tadpole”...
This copepod ( Gaussia princeps ) was collected deeper than 1000 meters in the...

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This foraminifera was collected as it floated about 3 meters below the surface off the coast of Puerto Rico. The central dark area is the shell surrounded by spines. The tiny yellow dots are symbiotic algae, which live in the...
In the icy waters of the Arctic , a deep-water larvacean (aka “sea tadpole”...
These star-shaped grains of sand, collected from southern Japan, look like...

DIVE DEEPER

Imagine if a fish at the market could tell you where it came from; what would it say? "I came from a world of drifters,"...
In many species of copepods , males are rare and short-lived. This male of Scaphocalanus acrocephalus is readily distinguished from the female by features of his antennae and tail. View the “Under...
These star-shaped grains of sand, collected from southern Japan, look like miniature works of art -- but they were not sculpted by an artist. They are the shells of microscopic organisms called...
Scientists use a multinet to collect Arctic zooplankton samples from different depth layers in the water column .
This hyperiid (in the genus Cystisoma) has only one pair of eyes—but they are very big. You can see them here as the entire surface of its head and the convex orange sheet of retinal cells in the...
This copepod ( Gaussia princeps ) was collected deeper than 1000 meters in the Sargasso Sea by Census of Marine Zooplankton (CMarZ) researchers in April 2006, as part of the 10-year Census of Marine...
This is another view of Phromina from the side. The eyes take up most of the head, with one pair looking to the side (the red spot) and one pair facing upwards. Phronima live anywhere from 200-1100...
This foraminifera was collected as it floated about 3 meters below the surface off the coast of Puerto Rico. The central dark area is the shell surrounded by spines. The tiny yellow dots are...
This much smaller hyperiid (in the genus Paraphromina ) has eyes that make up 45 percent of its body! Its many retinas, which researchers believe are used to maximize light detection, are the small...
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...
Scypholanceola aestiva looks like an armored alien of the deep. It doesn’t have compound eyes like other hyperiids, but instead sees variations in light using reflective cups embedded in the...
The ocean is home to a phenomenal diversity of marine organisms. They have evolved to inhabit warm waters near the equator and the icy waters of the Earth’s poles. Marine life takes advantage of the...
Scientists describe the amazing bioluminescent creatures they encounter as they descend into the deep--siphonophores, ctenophores, and viperfish--in this Smithsonian/History Channel "Deep Ocean...
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