Today's Catch

Ice Melt at the Poles

It’s confirmed: both Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice —around 350 billion tons each year—and, as a result, sea level has risen 11.1 millimeters worldwide since 1992. This photo shows a summertime channel created by the flow of melted ice,...
A puffin sits on a rock next to a puffin decoy.

Puffin and Decoy

Each summer puffin parents return to their nesting colony and lay a single egg in an underground burrow; once it hatches, they dutifully catch and feed fish to their chick. When the chick is strong enough, it emerges from its burrow, leaves its...

Seagrasses and Light in the Chesapeake Bay

Seagrasses growing on the seafloor of the Chesapeake Bay rely on light to grow—but, thanks to pollution, that sunlight has become more scarce. Nutrient runoff from fertilizers causes microscopic algae (phytoplankton) to grow rapidly at the surface...
A "reef hotel" made of PVS layers on the seafloor.

Placing ARMS in the Red Sea

Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian's Sant Chair for Marine Science, puts up an Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) during a dive in the Red Sea. These small underwater “condos” have been placed across the world’s oceans—from shallow water to 700...
A photo of zebra mussels clinging together, the mollusks have successfully invaded brackish and freshwater areas across North America.

Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha)

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...
Image of a rapa whelk, a large marine snail retreated into its shell

Rapa Whelk

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...
Deep Water Octopus in the Gulf of Mexico

Deep Water Octopus in the Gulf of Mexico

This brilliant red octopus ( Benthoctopus sp. ) was photographed at more than 8,800 feet (about 2,700 meters) in Alaminos Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico. See more photos of wild creatures encountered during the Census of Marine Life .
A walrus sits on top of ice.

One Hundred Names for Sea Ice

To people living in warm climates, all ice looks the same. But if you live day-in and day-out on sea ice, like the Inupiaq people of Alaska, you would find that there are many kinds of ice, all distinct. In fact, the Inupiaq have more than 100 names...
A school of grooved razorfish seen in x-ray imaging.

X-Ray Image of Grooved Razorfish

An X-ray image of grooved razorfish ( Centriscus scutatus ). Razorfish are encased in thin, transparent bony plates attached to their spines, which you can see in the X-ray. Also known as shrimpfish, razorfish have a unique swimming style: they keep...
Tiny jellies in a petri dish.

Velella velella Jellies

The Trash Detectives collected hundreds of samples during the expedition, including these tiny Velella velella jellyfish larvae together with confetti-like bits of plastic. Velella velella are free-floating hydrozoans that live on the surface of the...