Today's Catch

Close-up photograph of translucent coral polyps, showing the symbiotic algae living inside.

Close-up of a Coral Polyp

In this close-up photo, you can actually see the photosynthetic algae, or zooxanthellae, living inside a tiny coral polyp. Look for the brownish-green specks in the colorless polyp. Corals depend on these algae for food and for some of their oxygen...
A bluefin trevally swims in Hawaii’s Maro Coral Reef, part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Hawaii’s Maro Coral Reef

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...
Arctic Sea Cucumber

Arctic Sea Cucumber

This 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...
Brown grass shrimp on a floating piece of seaweed.

Brown Grass Shrimp

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...
Close-up photograph looking into the gaping mouth of a golden brown sea lion, lying on the sand.

Galapagos Sea Lion Yawning

A Galapagos sea lion ( Zalophus wollebaeki ) rests on a beach in Ecuador. The population of these charming animals swings wildly during El Niño events, but is declining overall. They are currently listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List . See more...

Farming Oysters Despite Acidic Seas

Bill Taylor, Paul Taylor, Diani Taylor and Brittany Taylor have more in common than just a last name; they also share a business. The Taylors have been in the family oyster-farming business in Washington State for five generations. In recent years,...
A photo of a candy basslet, an orange and yellow-striped fish.

Candy Basslet

A candy basslet ( Liopropoma carmabi ) was one of the specimens Smithsonian scientists collected from the deep reefs of Curaçao on a 2011 research trip in the southern Caribbean. Learn more about the scientists' research on the Summer in Sub Blog
Veined Octopus at Anilao Batangas Pier, Philippines

Veined Octopus at Anilao Batangas Pier, Philippines

The veined octopus ( Amphioctopus marginatus ), also known as the coconut octopus, has a skill beyond other cephalopods: it hides under animal and coconut shells, dragging them along the seafloor for protection. This is one of the few examples—if...
A zoomed-in image of the crown-of-thorns sea star.

Acanthaster planci

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...
A Galapagos tortoise munches on some greens.

Galapagos Tortoise

On the Galapagos Islands, William Dampier wrote excitedly of the giant tortoises he encountered: “I do believe there is no place in the world that is so plentifully stored with these animals….” This photo was taken at the Charles Darwin Research...