Today's Catch

Jan 21, 2016
Credit:

Maggie D. Johnson, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Many species of pink coralline algae cover a reef surface in the Southern Line Islands. Often unnoticed, these pink algae crusts help to cement coral reefs together, providing extra support and habitat for animals that live on reefs. Unhealthy coral reefs are often home to fast-growing seaweeds that cover and smother the slow-growing coralline algae. In the Southern Line Islands, however, the...Read more
Jan 20, 2016
Credit:

© John Weller

Standing at twice the height of the Adélie penguins, emperor penguins are the largest of the penguin species and can grow to be 100 pounds. This species breeds directly on the ice: a female lays her one egg and then passes it to the male to protect while she returns to the cold water to forage for food. See more photos from Antarctica's Ross Sea in our slideshow .Read more
Jan 19, 2016
Credit:

Patrick Decaluwe / Guylian Seahorses of the World 2010, Courtesy of Project Seahorse.

There are 47 different species of seahorses and 14 of those were discovered in the last eight years, including Pontoh's pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus pontohi ), which was officially named in 2008. Seahorses’ ability to change their color and shape to blend in with their environment makes identification of individual species challenging. Because of this, some researchers previously thought there...Read more
Jan 14, 2016
Credit:

Bastian Bentlage

This venomous box jelly ( Chiropsalmus quadrumanus ) was collected off the coast of South Carolina. The specimen now resides in the Smithsonian’s marine collection . It's venomous sting can be lethal, especially to small children. Listen to Podcast of Life: Box Jellies and check out the jellyfish and comb jellies overview to learn more about jellies.Read more
Jan 13, 2016
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
Jan 12, 2016
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
Jan 11, 2016
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
Jan 8, 2016
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
Jan 7, 2016
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
Jan 6, 2016
Credit:

Joel Butnick, Guylian Seahorses of the World 2005. Courtesy of Project Seahorse

Seahorses are hitchhikers. They can travel long distances across the ocean—farther than they can swim—by attaching themselves to floating seaweed and debris. Read 10 more facts you never knew about seahorses .Read more

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