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At a recent staff meeting a Smithsonian colleague mentioned that one of his pastimes this summer has been keeping tabs on the Arctic sea ice. The question that's on many Arctic-watchers' minds is whether...
At the Poles, Life Thrives Located beside the Shores and Shallows gallery (...
The National Ice Center’s work is focused on ensuring safe and efficient...

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Scientists know the Greenland shark ( Somniosus microcephalus ) moves slowly in the Arctic's cold water. They also know that parasites attack the shark's eyes. But much about this animal remains a mystery. Marine biologist Greg...
Standing at twice the height of the Adélie penguins, emperor penguins are...

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The Ross Sea, a 1.9 million square mile (3.6 million square km) stretch of ocean off the coast of Antarctica, has been...

The Ocean Blog

Hidden beneath Arctic ice is a world few have ever seen. Take the icy plunge with a team of ice-loving scientists.
The bowhead whale has a massive, bow-shaped skull to break through thick Arctic ice, and more blubber than any other whale.
Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) are the most abundant baleen whale in the nearshore waters around the Antarctic Peninsula. They, along with millions of penguins, seals, seabirds, and other...
It takes special equipment and many warm layers of clothing to dive safely beneath Arctic sea ice . Ice divers look for holes in a melt pond in order to enter the frigid waters.
This shadowy fish, Trematomus bernacchii , is well adapted to the ice-cold water of the Antarctic: its blood comes equipped with natural antifreeze. This is a necessary adaptation because the...
"Cold-Water Diving: Going to Extremes for Research" is a video produced by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) that shows the focus needed to do scientific work in cold water. The gear is...
Several species of amphipod like this one, Gammarus wilkitzkii , live permanently within Arctic sea ice . These animals are endemic, meaning they only live here. They acclimate to a wide range of...
Three distinct types of killer whale, or orcas, can be found in the Antarctic, each with a different habitat and diet preference. One type of orca preys almost exclusively on the Antarctic minke...
Found in Arctic waters, this rare deep-water species of larvacean , Oikopleura gorskyi , eats by filtering particles from the seawater it drifts through. Larvaceans build 'houses' around themselves...
Bright colors seem to jump off of this comb jelly, or ctenophore. The rainbow effect appears when light emanates from comb jellies' namesake combs, which are rows of cilia that run up and down their...
The Ross Sea, a 1.9 million square mile (3.6 million square km) stretch of ocean off the coast of Antarctica, has been nicknamed “The Last Ocean.” And it’s not just a ploy to get your attention. In...
New technology is making it possible for scientists to go where they’ve never gone before, the depths of the icy Arctic Ocean . By collecting organisms and mapping the seafloor, researchers can...
Weddell seals grind their teeth on holes in the ice to keep them open to their comings and goings between ocean and air. Their dives can last over an hour when they are looking for an opening in the...
This pair of sea butterflies ( Limacina helicina ) flutter not far from the ocean's surface in the Arctic. Sea butterflies are a type of sea snail, but instead of dragging themselves around the...
Ice divers use a quadrat to study the density of creatures living on the underside of Arctic ice floes. A quadrat is a standardized square used to take sample measurements that allow researchers to...
Recent Antarctic expeditions have documented climate-induced changes to emperor penguin habitats and impacts on how the penguins feed, breed, and raise their young.
To people living in warm climates, all ice looks the same. But if you live day-in and day-out on sea ice, like the Inupiaq people of Alaska, you would find that there are many kinds of ice, all...
The threat that climate change poses to polar bears has received a lot of attention, but they are not the only Arctic species at risk. Ice-loving seals, such as harp, hooded and ringed seals, are...
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