Today's Catch

Aug 7, 2014
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 into its tentacles. But this video "Slow Life" by marine scientist Daniel Stoupin reveals the unseen world of "unmoving" animals coral reefs—unseen because they move too slowly for us to grasp. With their movements sped up and...Read more
Aug 5, 2014
Credit:

NOAA Marine Debris Program

The “garbage patches,” as referred to in the media, are areas of marine debris concentration in the North Pacific Ocean, circulated by the North Pacific gyre. The gyre spreads across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to the western US, and north-south from California to Hawaii. Its total size isn't well defined because there are numerous factors that affect the location, size, and strength currents...Read more
Aug 4, 2014
Credit:

Mary Parrish/Smithsonian Institution

These "elevator" rudists, an ancient bivalve, used one long heavy valve to anchor themselves in the sediment. They used their tentacles (shown here in pink) to filter food from the sea water. And many often grew together to form early reefs. Learn more about these rudist reefs .Read more
Aug 1, 2014
Credit:

Steve Gould/Nature's Best Photography

There are over 30 colonies of king penguins ( Aptenodytes patagonicus ) on South Georgia Island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. The penguins capture their prey, typically lanternfish, by diving at speeds of 12 miles per hour. “This photo was taken the first evening of six that I spent at South Georgia Island. It captures a group of penguins on their way to the ocean to feed. As they approached, I...Read more
Jul 31, 2014
Credit:

Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. Image taken under NOAA NMHSRP permit #932-1489, with the authority of the US Endangered Species Act Inset: Smithsonian Institution

This whale is entangled in fishing gear. Entangled whales often need human help to break free from the fishing gear . But the job is hard one that requires handling a small boat near the large (and often distressed) whale, working with ropes pulled very tight and sharp blades. Special teams of experts around the world are trained in the necessary procedures to help free these beautiful giants...Read more
Jul 30, 2014
When you look underwater, what is making the seagrass wave in the water? The answer is ocean currents . Ocean currents are continuous movements of water in the ocean that follow set paths, kind of like rivers in the ocean. They can be at the water's surface or go to the deep sea; some are very large, like Japan's Kuroshio Current, which is equal in volume to 6,000 large rivers, while others are...Read more
Jul 29, 2014
Credit:

Flickr user PacificKlaus

Like other sea snakes , the turtle-headed sea snake ( Emydocephalus annulatus ) has fangs and venom. But its venom is weak so, instead of defending with a bite, the species tends to react to danger by swimming back to a crack or crevice to hide. For food, the sea snake sneaks around coral reefs looking for fish eggs attached to coral or rocks. It then uses a large tooth-like scale on each side of...Read more
Jul 28, 2014
Credit:Ernst Stewart
Known to many simply as “shark girl,” Madison Stewart is an inspiring young woman with a passion to protect the creatures most people fear: sharks. S he’s been diving with sharks since the age of twelve. Here she is feeding a group of Caribbean reef sharks. Now 20, Madison has made it her life’s mission to safeguard the creatures and the reefs she loves. Read more in her blog post.Read more
Jul 25, 2014
Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

Starksia blennies, small fish with elongated bodies, generally native to shallow to moderately deep rock and coral reefs in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans, have been well-studied for more than 100 years. It would have been reasonable to assume that there was little about the group left to discover. Using modern genetic analysis combined with traditional examination of morphology...Read more
Jul 23, 2014
Credit:

Brian Henderson, Flickr user stinkenroboter

The blue crab ( Callinectes sapidus ) is one of the most important commercial species in the United States, especially in the Chesapeake Bay region on the Mid-Atlantic coast. Its populations are affected by local water quality, overfishing, reproduction dynamics and bycatch amounts, and efforts to protect the region and crab species have been ongoing. Parasites can also affect the commercial...Read more

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