Today's Catch

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 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
Feb 17, 2015
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 and, when the algae bloom in large enough numbers, the collection of tiny particles can actually block sunlight from reaching the seafloor. And this is...Read more
Feb 13, 2015

Bettina Balnis/Guylian Seahorses of the World 2010, Courtesy Project Seahorse

Most wild seahorses (here the thorny seahorse Hippocampus histrix ) are monogamous and some species mate for life. Searching for mates can be difficult and risky since seahorses are poor swimmers, found in low densities and rely on camouflage to hide from predators. By remaining faithful to one partner, the pairs have more time to undergo more pregnancies during a single mating season and,...Read more
Feb 12, 2015

Unknown/Turin Museum of Human Anatomy

This 1890 painting of Charles Darwin is on display at the Turin Museum of Human Anatomy. Darwin brought William Dampier’s books with him on the voyage to South America that led to Darwin’s formulation of the theory of evolution. He called Dampier’s detailed observations “a mine” of information. Read more about how Dampier influenced Darwin and other famous people.Read more
Feb 10, 2015

Ross Robertson

A candy basslet ( Liopropoma carmabi ) was just one of the specimens Smithsonian scientists collected from the deep reefs of Curaçao , in the southern Caribbean. To study biodiversity far below the water's surface, the researchers use a five-person submersible. Learn more about the scientists' research on the Ocean Portal's Summer in Sub Blog .Read more