Today's Catch

Sep 16, 2015

Mark J. A. Vermeij

Grey reef sharks ( Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos ) are among the most versatile and tough predators on a Pacific coral reef, but they are also among the most vulnerable species, as they are threatened by wasteful fishing practices like shark finning . They're also very sensitive to human presence, fleeing reefs when people settle along the coasts and preferring more isolated areas. Where you can...Read more
Sep 15, 2015

Brad Gemmell

Jellyfish produce mucus, especially when stressed, which can interact with oil and break it down. This moon jellyfish is sloughing off mucus that has mixed with droplets of oil. Researchers from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative are looking into how this mucus could possibly help break down oil when it enters the ocean through a spill like that of Deepwater Horizon in 2010. Read more about...Read more
Sep 14, 2015
The majestic and highly predatory red lionfish ( Pterois volitans ) , native to the Indo-Pacific, is invading Atlantic waters. The lionfish is a popular home aquarium species, and some were most likely dumped off the Florida coast when no longer wanted. The result is a lionfish population explosion that now threatens native species like snapper, grouper, and sea bass. Read " Five Invasive Species...Read more
Sep 11, 2015

Stephen Sharnoff

Horizontal bands (or zones) of color represent different species of lichen that have adapted to the conditions at different heights above sea level. Lichens near the top of a rocky shoreline (here a white color) do not get very wet, but do occasionally get sprayed with salt and bird droppings. Lichens just above the level of high tide get consistently sprayed with water but are completely...Read more
Sep 10, 2015

Tony Brown, Flickr

In November 2012, Australia began protecting a huge swath of its ocean from overfishing and oil exploration, creating the largest network of marine reserves in the world at a grand total of 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million square kilometers). The area, a third of the continent’s territorial waters, includes an underwater canyon as large as the U.S. Grand Canyon, seagrass meadows, and the...Read more
Sep 9, 2015
Nancy Knowlton speaking about the "Future of the Ocean" Credit:
Nancy Knowlton, the Sant Chair of Marine Science at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, asks "What is the likely future of our ancestral home?" The answer depend on what humans do now and in the future, she says. Dr. Knowlton chronicles two possible futures of coral reefs by comparing an unhealthy reef to a healthy, resilient one and explores a success story in the increasing...Read more
Sep 8, 2015

© David Shale

This tiny, shrimplike creature is no more than 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) long, but it’s as ferocious as a shark. Its giant eyes spot prey. Huge claws grab the prey, and a tiny mouth rips it to shreds. The prey never sees what’s coming, because Phronima’s transparent body blends into the surrounding water. More about deep ocean exploration can be found in the Deep Ocean Exploration section .Read more
Sep 4, 2015


These cancer cells have been treated with discodermolide, a chemical obtained from a sponge that grows on deep-sea coral reefs. It prevents the cells from dividing and spreading. Learn more about deep-sea corals in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea " and about drugs from sea creatures in our conversation with Dr. Shirley Pomponi .Read more
Sep 3, 2015

© Annie Crawley

This hatchetfish was photographed moments after being pulled from the deep sea in the trawling net. These small, silvery fish have large eyes to collect any sunlight that reaches the deep sea. Even in the deep, they are not immune to human impacts; the researchers found many hatchetfish with plastic in their stomachs. Read more about an expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.Read more
Sep 2, 2015
Most lobsters are a mottled brown color, but sometimes you can see a strange orange or blue lobster. And then, when lobsters are cooked, they turn bright red. Why is there such a rainbow of lobster colors? As explained in this video from the American Chemical Society, lobsters eat a red pigment in their plant food called astanxanthin, which helps protect them against stress. This pigment is...Read more