Ocean Life & Ecosystems

From the tiny to the titanic, from the familiar to the undiscovered, the ocean offers a stunning diversity of marine life and nearly every kind of habitat imaginable. Dive in and explore them here.

LATEST POSTS

Japanese scientists videotaped this female giant squid, alive, at the water's surface

DIVE DEEPER

Giant Squid

Giant squid live up to their name: the largest giant squid ever recorded by scientists was almost 43 feet (13 meters) long,...
Kopelman Watercolor Detail

Up Close and Personal with a Mangrove Root

Kopelman's watercolors focus on the beautiful sponges that attach to mangrove roots. Credit: Irene Kopelman I got a lot of funny looks at the airport when I opened the oversized cooler for the baggage...

Connecting Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are some of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet that are home to beautiful wildlife and provide food to many people living on the coast. So how do you protect the...

Red Paper Lantern Jellyfish: One Species at a Time

The Encyclopedia of Life brings us a new installment of the podcast, One Species at a Time . Vacuumed up from its habitat a mile down in the ocean, the red paper lantern jelly...

Polar Bears: One Species at a Time

The Encyclopedia of Life brings us another installment of the podcast, One Species at a Time . In this podcast, host Ari Daniel Shapiro relates two close calls with polar bears. Listen as Heather...

Deep Sea Dive

NOAA Ocean Today Every Full Moon takes you on a dive to the depths of the ocean. Using Remote Operating Vehicles (ROVs) scientists can now explore areas of the ocean floor that were once...
green and red pom poms adorn a decorator crab

Happy Crabby Holidays

Decorator crabs typically adorn themselves with a variety of sea sponges, tufts of algae and other bits and pieces of detritus. In this case researchers provided the crabs with red polyester pom-poms. Credit: University...

Seagrasses and Light in the Chesapeake Bay

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 algae (phytoplankton) to grow rapidly...

Slow Life: Time-Lapse on the Coral Reef

How does a coral spend its day? Most of us would say: not doing much. To the human eye, a coral looks relatively still, waiting in the current and hoping some food will run...
Satellite view of the Gulf Coast oil spill off of Louisiana, April 29, 2010.

State of Emergency in the Gulf

The explosion of Deepwater Horizon, an oil-drilling platform roughly 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, is quickly growing into an environmental disaster that will leave its mark on coastal communities, fisheries, wildlife, and...
Students share a microscope to get a closer look at plankton samples from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

A Current Event in the Classroom: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Students share a microscope to get a closer look at plankton samples from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Credit: Seaberry Nachbar, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Sometimes, a tragic event can become a powerful teaching...
Venomous Box Jelly from South Carolina

Pinning Down the Jellyfish

Credit: Bastian Bentlage Depending on whom you talk to, jellyfish are either fascinating, a nuisance, a toxic menace, or some combination of the above. Jellyfish plop into the media spotlight when their presence causes...
Coral Spawning by Moonlight

A Tale of Sex and Stress in the Ocean

A coral has just spawned. Each of the hundreds of polyps releases a small pink bundle of sperm and eggs. Credit: Raphael Williams Welcome to Citizens of the Sea , a new blog series...
Hawaiian Monk Seal

Backbone of Biodiversity at Risk

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature ( IUCN ) maintains the Red List of Threatened Species , an inventory of the global conservation status of plants and animals. In a 2010 study...
Horseshoe Crab in Stage Harbor, Massachusetts

This Flu Season, Thank a Horseshoe Crab

A small horseshoe crab rests on seaweed in Stage Harbor, Massachusetts. Credit: © Luke Robinson (Creative Commons via Flickr) Fever. Aching muscles. Coughing. Sniffling. It’s flu season . Have you had your shot? If...

Hydrothermal Vent Creatures

Travel to a world of perpetual night--the deep ocean hydrothermal vents near the Galapagos Rift where life thrives around superheated water spewing from deep inside the Earth. Discovered only in 1977, hydrothermal vents are...
An underwater photo of coral recovering from a bleaching event.

A Pleasant Surprise: The Recovery of Bleached Panamanian Corals

These corals are still in recovery after a mass bleaching in Panama, in the summer of 2010. You can see some bleaching on the tops, but the sides are looking good. Credit: Amanda Feuerstein...
Common cuttlefish

So You Think You're Smarter Than a Cephalopod?

Like other cephalopods, the common cuttlefish ( Sepia officials Linnaeus, 1758) possesses serious brain power. Credit: Hans Hillewaert, WoRMS for SMEBD The blanket octopus can rip a poisonous tentacle from a Portuguese man-o-war and...

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