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

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Giant Squid

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

Medicines from the Sea

You may not think of the ocean as a pharmacy but scientists are developing exciting new medicines from the sponges, corals, and other marine organisms found in the sea. Explore other videos that capture...

Coral Forests of the Deep Ocean

Corals are not only found in shallow tropical waters, but in cold, dark, deep areas of the sea. Amazing coral forests are found at depths of 60-3,050 meters (200-10,00 feet). They support an abundance...

Submarine Volcanoes and Hydrothermal Vents

Recent scientific discoveries have revealed an underwater community of marine animals and other organisms that thrive in the dark depths of the ocean near hydrothermal vents and undersea volcanoes. This ocean ecosystem is dependent...

National Ice Center Monitors the Arctic and Antarctic

The National Ice Center’s work is focused on ensuring safe and efficient navigation, but it also supports scientific research and provides crucial information used by scientists to better monitor and understand climate change ...

The Wandering Fur Seal

During the winter and spring months, tagged fur seals migrate thousands of miles in open water. Scientists are watching this species closely in order to determine the mystery of its population decline, as less...

Smithsonian Collections on Google Earth

This video tour gives you a glimpse of how to explore Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History collections using Google Earth. To take your own tour, download Google Earth and dive down to...

Climate Change and the Chesapeake Bay

Students are working with the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Md., to develop an informal education plan that will communicate information about Chesapeake Bay marsh restoration and explain the effects of climate change and sea-level...
Seven of the newly discovered Starksia blennies, small fish with elongated bodies

Scientists Discover Seven New Species of Fish

Using modern genetic analysis combined with traditional examination of morphology, scientists discovered that what were once thought to be three species of blenny in the genus Starksia are actually 10 distinct species of the...
Smithsonian scientist who discovered new species in her laboratory

Five Questions for Carole Baldwin

Dr. Carole Baldwin's team discovered seven new species of fish "hiding" within three known species of a coral reef fish know as blennies. "We scientists thought we were basically done with the Caribbean–in other...
Smithsonian scientist who discovered new species in her laboratory

Smithsonian Scientist Discovers New Fish Species

Using genetic analysis combined with traditional study of morphology, Smithsonian scientist Dr. Carole Baldwin and her team discovered that what were thought to be three species of the fish are actually 10 distinct species...

New Findings on the Effects of Noise on Whale and Dolphin Behavior

Marine mammals around the world face many challenges due to interactions with people, from overfishing and entanglement to vessel strikes and disturbance from human sounds. Dr. Brandon Southall discusses recent findings from SOCAL‐10, a...

Make Me Care About: Phragmites (Video)

Dennis Whigham , a senior botanist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center , makes his quick pitch for why you should care about the wetland plant Phragmites australis . A European strain of phragmites...
A landscape photo of a shoreline with tall grass-like plants lining the water's edge.

Make Me Care About: Phragmites

Dennis Whigham , a senior botanist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center , makes his quick pitch for why you should care about the wetland plant Phragmites australis . A European strain of phragmites...
red paper lantern jellyfish

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...

Science in a Time of Crisis: Oil Spill Pioneers

Part 1 of a 6-part series describing WHOI's efforts to understand the scope and impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "Oil Spill Pioneers" describes WHOI's four decades of...

Diversity of Deep-Sea Corals

Sample the surprising diversity of deep-sea corals. See some of the ways they differ in color, shape, and size. Explore more in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."
After ocean scientists sort deep-sea coral samples into their different types, they measure and photograph the specimens.

Studying Deep-Sea Corals

What happens to deep-sea coral samples after they are collected? In this image gallery, see some of the ways ocean scientists sort, measure, photograph, and study them. Learn more in the multimedia feature "...
This species of bamboo coral, discovered in 2004 in the Pacific Northwest, has unusually long and impressive tentacles.

Newly Discovered Deep-Sea Corals

It's a new age of discovery for scientists studying deep-sea corals. In this image gallery, take a look at a handful of the many species of deep-sea corals that have been discovered by marine...

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