Today's Catch

Feb 18, 2014
Credit:

Robert L. Pitman, NOAA Fisheries, USA

Killer whales ( Orcinus orca ) have something in common with humans: early menopause. Read Smithsonian marine scientist Nancy Knowlton's blog post to find out more.Read more
Feb 14, 2014
Credit:

Bettina Balnis/Guylian Seahorses of the World 2010, Courtesy Project Seahorse

Most wild seahorses (here the thorny seahorse Hippocampus histrix ) are monogamous and some species mate for life. Searching for mates can be difficult and risky since seahorses are poor swimmers, found in low densities and rely on camouflage to hide from predators. By remaining faithful to one partner, the pairs have more time to undergo more pregnancies during a single mating season and,...Read more
Feb 13, 2014
Credit:

Courtesy of David Littschwager/National Geographic Society

Over a 10-year period NOAA scientists have collected 72,000 seawater samples, and their data show that the ocean is becoming more acidic because of climate change -caused warming. That small shift is enough to dissolve the shells of animals like this pteropod in the lab—or even in the ocean. Because of acidifying waters, pteropod shells have already started dissolving in the Southern Ocean.Read more
Feb 12, 2014
Credit:

Mark Jones

In Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, brown pelicans ( Pelecanus occidentalis ) nest at the top of a mangrove tree. Many other kinds of birds—as well as insects, frogs, snakes, and lizards—live in the canopy of mangroves. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves featured story .Read more
Feb 11, 2014
Credit:

© OCEANA Carlos Minguell

Dead man’s fingers ( Alcyonium digitatum ) are soft corals named for their appendage-like appearance when thrown ashore by storms. The finger-like clumps of coral polyps come in various shades of pink, orange, white, grey, or yellow and are found along the northern Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America. View other images of Baltic Sea life in a photo gallery of Oceana’s 2011 expedition .Read more
Feb 10, 2014
Credit:

Steve Garvie, Flickr

An Atlantic puffin ( Fratercula arctica ) carries many sandlances ( Ammodytidae ) in its mouth to take back to its hungry chick. Puffins have spiny tongues that, pressed against the roof of their mouths, help to hold ten or more fish at once without losing any along the way. The two parents of a single chick take turns bringing food back to the nest. It's possible to learn what kinds of fish are...Read more
Feb 7, 2014
Credit:

Owen Sherwood

Ultraviolet light illuminates the growth rings in a cross-section of a 44-year-old deep-sea coral ( Primnoa resedaeformis ) collected off the coast of Newfoundland at about 1,300 feet (400 meters). Similar to tree trunks, cross-sections reveal coral-growth rings that can be used to determine their age—and information about climate . Because coral growth depends on temperature, sunlight, and...Read more
Feb 5, 2014
The small vaquita ( Phocoena sinus ), a type of porpoise, usually only reaches lengths of 5 feet (1.5 meters). They are only found in the Northern part of the Gulf of California off the coast of Mexico, and their population size is estimated to be around only 150 animals. This makes them the most endangered of the marine mammals. But estimating their numbers is a difficult task considering their...Read more
Feb 4, 2014
Credit:

David Burdick/NOAA Photo Library

A crown-of-thorns starfish ( Acanthaster planci ) on a reef in the Marianas Islands. An “outbreak” of these coral-eating starfish can decimate a reef, and they have done great damage on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.Read more
Feb 3, 2014
Credit:

Seabird McKeon

Relatively slow moving, juvenile plane-head filefish Monacanthus hispidus (Monacanthidae) travel along with the algae. They pick off and eat small animals as they move around in the rotating sargassum ball. Adult filefish only grow to be about 11 inches long. Off the coast of Belize, Smithsonian Marine Science Network postdoctoral fellow, Seabird McKeon, studies floating seaweeds and the...Read more

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