Today's Catch

Brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) nest in a mangrove in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands.

Pelican Nest in Mangroves

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...
A close-up photo of dead man's fingers (Alcyonium digitatum), living in the Baltic Sea.

Dead Man’s Fingers

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...
A reef shark swims amongst corals.

Happy Hearts Love Sharks

For many years, shark fin soup has been a popular delicacy at weddings and formal occasions in China. Recently, it has become clear that shark-fin removal is cruel to sharks and severely damages shark populations. Claudia Li, a passionate Chinese-...
Walter Adey and the NMNH coral reef tank

Walter Adey and Coral Reef Tank

In the late 1970s, Walter Adey, a paleobiologist and coral reef researcher at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), wanted to build a tank that would make it possible to monitor and experiment on a coral reef ecosystem in the laboratory—...
A puffin with a mouthful of fish.

Puffin with a Mouthful of Fish

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...
UV light illuminates growth rings in a cross-section of 44-year-old Primnoa resedaformis coral found about 400 m (1,312 ft) deep off Newfoundland.

Coral Growth Rings

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...
A vaquita swims at the the water's surface.

The Vanishing Vaquita

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...
A male great hammerhead shark swims just below the surface of the water in the Bahamas at sunset.

Hammerhead Shark at Sunset

A male great hammerhead shark swims in the Bahamas at sunset. Scientists debate the purpose behind these sharks' hammer-shaped heads. A commonly accepted theory is that the shape allows the shark to scan a wider area of the ocean through its sensory...

Why the Octopus Brain is so Extraordinary

An octopus is a lot brainier than you might imagine considering one of its closest living relatives is a sea slug. In fact, some scientists argue it could be the first intelligent being on the planet. They can complete puzzles, untie knots, open...

The Vampire Squid from Hell

With a scientific name that means "the vampire squid from hell," you'd expect the vampire squid ( Vampyroteuthis infernalis ) to be a fearsome predator terrorizing the deep. Despite its demonic look, that isn't the case; instead, the vampire squid...

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