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This week at the Smithsonian Ocean Portal we embark on an experiment we're calling "Make Me Care." The concept is simple: we ask a renowned expert to tell us why we should care about...
Seagrasses growing on the seafloor of the Chesapeake Bay rely on light to grow—...
Algae, like all organisms, normally grow in balance with their ecosystems,...

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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...
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...

The Ocean Blog

Seagrasses don't just provide shelter for free-swimming animals, but also are a habitat for non-moving organisms, such as this sea anemone. Sessile animals attached to blades are called epibionts,...
Nestled among the beautiful coral reefs of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a place that could provide the key to our understanding of one of the biggest threats to coral reef survival: Ocean Acidification...
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...
Giant kelp ( Macrocystis pyrifera ) is large, brown algae that grows in dense forests along coasts around the world. Long stalks anchor each plant to the seafloor, and they grow meters high like...
As Dampier studied the plants he encountered in Australia, he wrote that they were “for the most part unlike any I had seen elsewhere.” In fact, nearly all the plants Dampier observed were entirely...
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...
Adult green sea turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) spend most of their time grazing in seagrass meadows. It's estimated that before Columbus arrived in America in 1492, the number of green turtles supported...
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...
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...
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,...
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...
This beautiful marine diatom Chaetoceros debilis was caught in the North Sea. Not only are diatoms one of the most important oxygen producers on earth, they are also a vital link in the food chain...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Sargassum fluitans , a.k.a. “Gulfweed,” forms dense clumps up to the size of a beach ball that slowly rotate as they drift. The fronds are quite dense, but if you look carefully, sometimes you can...
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