Today's Catch

Jun 5, 2015

Wikimedia User "Mtpaley"

An emperor penguin chick ( Aptenodytes forsteri ) huddles under its mother's legs to keep warm in the long Antarctic winter. Learn more about research on emperor penguins and other Antarctic creatures .Read more
Jun 4, 2015


When coral reefs are damaged, they sometimes struggle to grow back because there aren't enough coral seedlings around, and the ones that are around are growing together too closely. Enter: the coral gardeners. Fiji's coral gardeners, who are fishermen trained by biologists, collect small corals that are struggling to grow because they have little space, and bring them to a raised platform that...Read more
Jun 3, 2015

Maggie D. Johnson, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Unlike the green, leafy algae we're used to seeing on the seafloor, coralline algae has a hard crust—which you can see here at the molecular level in a photo from a scanning electron microscope. Each coralline algae cell builds a limestone wall around itself, creating a honeycomb-like structure. As layer upon layer of algae grow over one another, they form an ever-thicker crust that acts as a...Read more
Jun 2, 2015

© David Shale

This rarely-seen smalleyed rabbitfish ( Hydrolagus affinis ), belonging to the order of Chimaera, was caught during a research trip to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in 2004 sponsored by the Census of Marine Life . In Greek mythology, chimeras were beasts that were part lion, part snake and part goat, although deep sea Chimaeras are not a combination of animals. Rather, they are related to sharks, but...Read more
May 29, 2015

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
May 28, 2015

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
May 27, 2015

© OCEANA Carlos Minguell

For centuries, the Baltic Sea has provided European flounder ( Platichthys flesus ) and other fish for millions of people to consume. Since the early 1980s, the nations surrounding the sea have coordinated their efforts to protect its health through the Helsinki Commission . In addition to being overfished , the Baltic Sea is one of the more polluted bodies of water in the world . You can read...Read more
May 26, 2015

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, like the one in this image, have such a different color scheme than the adults that they are easily mistaken for a different species. The adult coloring has blue and...Read more
May 22, 2015
A behind the scenes look at the NMNH ocean-related collections and their importance to research and discovery.Read more
May 21, 2015

© Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

This fossil tooth whorl of the ancient shark Helicoprion , dates back 290 million years. For a long time, people didn't know what the shark looked like—but, thanks to a CT scan of a fossil, researchers finally put the pieces together in 2013. Read more about this story in our great white shark overview , and learn more about top predators like Helicoprion in the Ocean Over Time section .Read more