Today's Catch

A brachiopod looks like a clam, but they aren't closely related.

A Modern Day Brachiopod

Brachiopods are an ancient group of organisms, at least 600 million years old. They might just look like clams, but they are not even closely related. Instead of being horizontally symmetrical along their hinge, like clams and other bivalves, they...

Oil’s Impact on Marine Invertebrates

In the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, what is the effect of oil on invertebrates like jellyfish, clams, crabs, sea stars, and plankton? The scope of the damage is more easily observed among birds and large animals, but Dr. Chris Mah, an...

Johnson-Sea-Link Submersible

The first time biologist Mandy Joye dove to the deep sea in the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible (pictured here), she had never seen the bubbles of a methane seep. But after that fateful day in 1994, she was entranced. Instead of studying the mussels...
New Sea Urchin Species Discovered Near New Caledonia in the South Pacific

Dazzling New Sea Urchin Species

Simon Coppard, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and an Encyclopedia of Life Rubenstein Fellow specializing in echinoids often uncovers new species during his research. In 2006, he and a fellow...
The fins of the frogfish are perfect for creeping around in the algae and stalking unsuspecting prey.

Frogfish Histrio histrio

The Sargassum frogfish Histrio histrio (Antennariidae) is a small but voracious predator - it can ingest animals up to it’s own size! The fins of the frogfish are perfect for creeping around in the algae and stalking unsuspecting prey. Off the coast...
Photo taken of the inside of a sperm whale's mouth. The teeth on the lower jaw fit into sockets above- perfect for eating squid.

Inside a Sperm Whale's Mouth

Sperm whales have conical teeth on their long, narrow, lower jaw. The teeth fit neatly into sockets in the upper jaw, which has no teeth. This arrangement is a perfect adaptation for slurping up soft-bodied squids—giant or otherwise. The sperm whale...
Photograph of several large jellyfish with orange bells, dark red tentacles, and pale ruffly oral arms, swimming against a bright blue aquarium background.

Pacific Sea Nettles

These large jellyfish ( Chrysaora fuscescens ) are most commonly found along the coasts of California and Oregon. (They're also popular in the displays of public aquaria.) Their bells can grow to a diameter of around 1 foot (30 cm), with red...
Coral Spawning by Moonlight

Coral Spawning by Moonlight

A coral ( Montastraea faveolata ) has just spawned. Each of the hundreds of polyps living in the colony releases a small pink bundle of sperm and eggs. Read more about coral spawing and watch a spawning event .
Photograph of a many-armed sea star with maroon and white feathery-looking arms, with a deep red sea fan in the background.

Feather Star

As it clings to a red sea fan, a feather star ( Cenometra bella ) gently waves its slender arms—filtering bits of food from the water. Also known as sea lilies, feather stars are related to sea stars. Learn more about life on coral reefs in the...
Three Killer whales (Orca) swim along side researchers.

Researchers Studying Killer Whales

Researchers from the SOCAL-10 research partnership study the behavior of orcas (commonly called killer whales) and how they react to sonar and other noisy human activities. The partnership is bringing more information about how marine mammals, who...