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Over the past several decades, Florida’s coastal wetlands have been changing. Along the eastern shore, researchers have seen small mangrove trees appearing in areas further north than they usually occur, in places that historically...
“Sea grapes” may sound like something Poseidon would snack on, and not a killer...
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The open ocean is surprisingly barren to the naked eye. Every now and again you...
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Stare at a tide pool and you will often see a crust of pink coating the bottom...

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This beautiful bromeliad, also called an air plant because it gets its nutrients and water from the air, is a flowering plant in the pineapple family. All of them are epiphytes, meaning they get their support from and grow on...
Sargassum fluitans , a.k.a. “Gulfweed,” forms dense clumps up to the size of...
Many species of pink coralline algae cover a reef surface in the Southern...

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Around 100 million years ago, grass from land adapted to live and reproduce while submerged in seawater—the modern-day...
Seagrass meadows, such as this one composed of turtle grass ( Thalassia testudinum ) and manatee grass ( Syringodium filiforme ), are an important shallow water habitat. Hundreds of animal species,...
Neptune grass ( Posidonia oceanica ) is an ancient seagrass that is unique to the Mediterranean Sea. It is incredibly slow-growing; so slow that scientists estimate one large meadow that is 9.3 miles...
Algae, like all organisms, normally grow in balance with their ecosystems, limited by the amount of nutrients in the water. But sometimes, certain species of algae reproduce so rapidly that they...
In the ocean, microscopic forms of algae, known as dinoflagellates , can "bloom" into dense patches near the surface, often referred to as "red tides." Some of these harmful algal blooms (HABs) are...
Algae has overtaken this coral reef off heavily populated Kiritimati, or Christmas Island. Few fish swim in the murky waters. The causes include pollution, overfishing, and increased water...
Even though the Amazon River and the ocean seem very different—the river is freshwater while the ocean is salty, the ocean is vast and deep compared to the Amazon—they are closely connected. The...
Squids, octopuses and cuttlefish, such as this Australian Giant Cuttlefish ( Sepia apama ), compose just one group of animals that call seagrass beds home. Clams and worms bury themselves in the mud...
For more than two centuries, Boston Harbor has been a dumping ground. In 1773, colonists famously dumped shiploads of tea to protest taxes. But in recent decades, the harbor has received less tea and...
Seagrasses growing on the seafloor of the Chesapeake Bay rely on light to grow—but, thanks to pollution, that sunlight has become more scarce. Nutrient runoff from fertilizers causes microscopic...
Stare at a tide pool and you will often see a crust of pink coating the bottom. No, this is not bubblegum from some careless teenager’s shoe: it’s a stony kind of seaweed that, like other seaweeds,...
Both humans and sea lions get sick from eating fish and shellfish that have been feeding on harmful toxic algae. Studying the sick sea lions brings scientists closer to understanding and preventing...
An invasive strain of the plant Phragmites australis dominates this Chesapeake Bay wetland. The plant can easily grow up to 3 meters (9.8 feet) tall and alter coastal ecosystems. Scientists at the...
One of the most common inhabitants of the sargassum community, the shrimp Latreutes fucorum (Hippolytidae) is perfectly colored to hide on the leaf-like blades. Off the coast of Belize, Smithsonian...
“Sea grapes” may sound like something Poseidon would snack on, and not a killer algae. Yet Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea poses a serious threat to marine life. Spread by the bilge water of boats...
The invasive reed Phragmites australis can create new plants through seeds (shown here) or underground rhizomes. Scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have discovered that seeds...
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 gathered around...
Johnson's seagrass is the lone ocean plant species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Its flowing green stalks play an important role in coastal ecosystems where they act as nursery grounds for...
How do plants respond to rising CO2 levels? To find out, plant physiologist Bert Drake at SERC exposed marsh plants near the Chesapeake Bay to CO2 levels expected in 50 and 100 years. Different...
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