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.

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Sharks

There are more than 500 species of sharks swimming in the world’s ocean. Yet when most people think of these cartilaginous...

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...

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...
Smithsonian Scientists Dig a Trench Around a squalodontid Skull

Expedition to Excavate a Fossil Whale

The first thing the researchers did when they arrived on site was outline the general excavation area and take careful measurements of exposed fossils. Next, they applied acrylic glue to any exposed bone to...
Smithsonian scientists race the tide the excavate an ancient whale fossil entombed in rock

Fossil Whale Found, Excavated, Jacketed, and Returned to STRI!

A time-lapse video of the excavation of an extinct toothed whale on a Panamanian beach. Jorge and I packed up the night we arrived in Panama with Aaron O'Dea and his team from STRI...
A polar bear and her cub on the ice

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 Reef Observation Project (DROP) Video

Dr. Carole Baldwin , a research zoologist and fish expert with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, gives viewers an inside-look at the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). She and her colleagues are...
A submersible explores the deep reefs off of Curacao in the Caribbean.

Summer in a Sub: DROP Down to Discovery

Dr. Carole Baldwin , a research zoologist and fish expert with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, gives viewers an inside-look at the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). You never know where following...

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