Today's Catch

Mar 9, 2015

©James D. Watt/Ocean Stock

This bluefin trevally is lucky to call Hawaii’s Maro Coral Reef, part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument , its home. Maro is the largest reef in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and just one of the many marine ecosystems protected in the 140,000 square miles of Papahānaumokuākea, one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. Learn more about Papahānaumokuākea and other...Read more
Mar 6, 2015

©Clyde F.E. Roper

This image from a scanning electron micrograph magnifies the tiny teeth that cover the surface of the giant squid’s tongue-like organ, or radula . Seven rows of sharp teeth help direct tiny pieces of food down the squid’s esophagus (only three are shown here). Because the esophagus passes through the brain before reaching the stomach, the pieces of food must be small. Read more about the giant...Read more
Mar 4, 2015

Antonina Rogacheva, Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Moscow

This new species of deep-water sea cucumber ( Elpidia belyaevi ) was discovered by Census of Marine Life researchers in the frigid waters of the Arctic . Since the 1800s, researchers observed sea cucumbers similar to this one in the Arctic at all depths, from shallow to deep, and assumed they were all the same species, Elpidia glacialis . But after the Census, researchers think that E. glacialis...Read more
Mar 3, 2015

Seabird McKeon

Another common species of sargassum shrimp, Leander tenuicornis (Palaemonidae) can be spotted by its long transparent claws or "chelae". Very similar shrimp are found in near shore habitats all around the world. Using genetic tests we may determine if they are the same species, or two different species that look the same. Off the coast of Belize, Smithsonian Marine Science Network postdoctoral...Read more
Mar 2, 2015
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
Feb 27, 2015

D. Jude, Univ. of Michigan, NOAA

This bivalve mollusk is native to the Caspian Sea, lagoons of the Black Sea, and their inflowing rivers. It lives in fresh and brackish water and cannot tolerate full seawater. In the 18th and 19th centuries, zebra mussels spread through European canals, reaching the Baltic Sea and many European river estuaries. In 1988, it was discovered in the Great Lakes and has spread to many rivers and lakes...Read more
Feb 26, 2015

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Rapa whelks , native to Asia, have invaded the Chesapeake Bay and are raising concerns about economic and ecological impacts to the Bay region due to their shellfish diet. Scientists believe that this non-native species reached the Chesapeake by hitching a ride across the Atlantic, probably as larvae in a ship's ballast water. Learn more about how invasive species can be transported in ballast...Read more
Feb 24, 2015

Antoine N'Yeurt, Moorea Biocode Project

A strain of this green seaweed, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, escaped public and private aquariums in California, Japan, Australia, and Monaco. It has spread widely in the Mediterranean, replacing native plants (such as seagrasses ) and depriving marine life of food and habitat. In California , it was eradicated at considerable cost using toxic chemicals. Read No Passport Required:...Read more
Feb 23, 2015

Alvaro E. Migotto

These brittlestars ( Ophiothela mirabilis ) are not where they belong. These animals, usually found in the Pacific Ocean, were first spotted in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil in 2000. And since then, they've been seen crawling up and down the eastern coast of South America, all the way north to the Caribbean. O. mirabilis has been observed in ports up and down the coast, suggesting...Read more
Feb 19, 2015

Klaus Jost,

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