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Slip into the water along a sheltered coast in nearly any part of the world and you’re likely to find yourself in an emerald field of seagrass . Like flowering plants on land, seagrasses...
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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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It is a well-known fact that for animals living in the deep sea, food can be...
A strain of this green seaweed, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans,...

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Deep-sea corals miles away from the source of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 were impacted by the plumes. One affected site was 13.7 miles (22 km) away from the Macondo wellhead—the farthest observed—and extremely deep,...
Johnson's seagrass ( Halophila johnsonii ) is the lone ocean plant species...
In the ocean, microscopic forms of algae, known as dinoflagellates , can "...

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Around 100 million years ago, grass from land adapted to live and reproduce while submerged in seawater—the modern-day...
Bull kelp ( Nereocystis ) becomes less valuable to grazers as it quickly rots.
Macroscopic Algae ( Acetabularia crenulata ). More about mangrove ecosystems can be found in the Mangroves section .
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...
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...
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...
Closest to the seeps, where the pH is lowest and the water is most acidic, corals no longer grow. Instead there are sand, rubble and seagrasses that are able to survive. Read more about how reef...
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,...
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...
Johnson's seagrass ( Halophila johnsonii ) 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...
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,...
Pick up any news article about invasive species and you may confuse it with a police blotter. Generally, invasive species are "almost bulletproof" "marauders," "terrorizing" ecosystems and wildlife...
A strain of this green seaweed, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, escaped public and private aquariums in California, Japan, Australia, and Monaco. It has spread widely in the Mediterranean,...
"Fronds of giant kelp, buoyed by their gas-filled pneumatocysts, wave like pennants in the current of Monterey Bay, California," wrote George Cathcart of his image , a winning selection in the...
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...
Deep-sea corals miles away from the source of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 were impacted by the plumes. One affected site was 13.7 miles (22 km) away from the Macondo wellhead—the farthest...
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...
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,...
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...
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