Today's Catch

Nov 20, 2013
A behind the scenes look at the NMNH ocean-related collections and their importance to research and discovery.Read more
Nov 19, 2013
Credit:

Filip Nuyttens, World Register of Marine Species

The European green crab ( Carcinus maenas ) has spread far beyond its native continent, to waters off North and South America, Asia and Australia. It's a voracious eater and poses a nuisance to shellfish farmers. Invasive species have various means of reaching new habitats. Read about the role ships play in spreading invasive species .Read more
Nov 18, 2013
Credit:

Trish Mace, Smithsonian Institution

This is an unidentified moray eel , collected from 650 feet off the coast of Curacao. Morays are very secretive animals that tend to stay hidden in caves and crevices. Researchers with the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) don't yet know if this is a young eel, or a small full-grown one. By analyzing this moray's DNA and comparing it to DNA from known morays in the Caribbean, they will...Read more
Nov 15, 2013
Credit:

Mary Parrish/Smithsonian Institution

Where ocean currents were strong, ancient rudist “recliners” lay unattached on the seabed. Notice the pink tentacles, which were used to filter feed. Learn more about ocean life throughout deep time in our Ocean Over Time interactive or an image gallery .Read more
Nov 14, 2013
Credit:

K. Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College, Arctic Exploration 2002, NOAA

Light refracts off the comb-rows of the Mertensia ovum , a ctenophore , producing stripes of rainbow colors . The jelly eats copepods and small crustaceans that become stuck to its sticky tentacles. View the “Under Arctic Ice” photo essay to learn more.Read more
Nov 13, 2013
The ocean, which we often break into five large ocean basins, covers 71 percent of the Earth's surface and holds over 1.3 billion cubic km of water. This massive space also holds over 99 percent of the area that can be inhabited by life, along with geological features , such as the world's largest mountain range and the deepest canyon . Despite its vast space, the ocean can be impacted by human...Read more
Nov 12, 2013
Credit:

Seabird McKeon

When they get larger, Portunus sayi are formidable predators, quick to consume any smaller animal that comes within reach. Fish, other crustaceans, and even smaller members of their own species are not safe from this hungry sargassum swimming crab. Off the coast of Belize, Smithsonian Marine Science Network postdoctoral fellow, Seabird McKeon, studies floating seaweeds and the minuscule animals...Read more
Nov 8, 2013
Credit:

Klaus Jost, www.jostimages.com

Scientists have been studying why populations of crown-of-thorns sea stars ( Acanthaster planci ) have mushroomed in recent decades. Coral reefs can suffer when the sea star's numbers explode because the echinoderm has a healthy appetite and few predators. And they are part of the reason why Australia's Great Barrier Reef is in decline .Read more
Nov 7, 2013
Seagrasses and Light in the Chesapeake Bay Credit:

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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 at the surface and, when the algae bloom in large enough numbers, the collection of tiny particles can actually block sunlight from reaching the seafloor. And this is...Read more
Nov 6, 2013
Credit:

Tony Brown, Flickr

The rich colors of emperor angelfish make them a vibrant version of royalty. They are curious fish that will come and greet their human visitors. However this unique coloring is not shared with all ages. Young emperor angelfish have such a different color scheme than the adults that they are easily mistaken for a different species. They also act differently: young fish may also take up a job as a...Read more

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