Today's Catch

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...
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...

Cashes Ledge

Cashes Ledge is an underwater mountain range off the New England coast, which is home to a great diversity of life. Because the rocky and steep peaks almost reach the surface in some areas, it is dangerous for fishermen. As such, they avoided it,...
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...
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...

Just How Big Is the Ocean?

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...
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...
Pink meanie jellyfish

It’s a Jelly Eat Jelly World

A “pink meanie” jellyfish ( Drymonema larsoni )—a species found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean—feeds on a moon jelly ( Aurelia ). In 2014 Dr. Keith Bayha from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Dr. Michael Dawson from the University of...

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