Today's Catch

Oct 28, 2014
Credit:

John Johnson/Marine Photobank

A 2010 study of IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species found that one-fifth of the world's vertebrates (animals with backbones) are threatened with extinction, including this Hawaiian monk seal. The Hawaiian monk seal ( Monachus schauinslandi ) is the one of the rarest marine mammals in the world: there are around 1,200 individuals alive today, around 1/3 the population size compared to 1950. Its...Read more
Oct 27, 2014
Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building corals have tiny plant-like organisms living in their tissue. The corals couldn’t survive without these microscopic algae–called zooxanthellae (zo-zan-THELL-ee). This cutaway diagram of a coral polyp shows where the photosynthetic algae, or zooxanthellae, live—inside the polyp’s tissue. The coral gives the algae a home. In...Read more
Oct 23, 2014
Credit:

Dr. Mike Goebel, NOAA NMFS SWFSC

Looking through this iceberg's reflection in the Antarctic water, you can see the iceberg below the surface—some 90% of its total volume. Icebergs are pieces of freshwater ice broken off of glaciers or ice shelves, left to float across the sea. Many icebergs and other pieces of floating ice cram together, freezing into pack ice, which is a form of sea ice.Read more
Oct 22, 2014
Credit:

Terry Ross (Flickr)

Kemp's ridley sea turtles ( Lepidochelys kempii ) often emerge from their nests during the day, which is a rare (and dangerous) thing for sea turtle hatchlings! They are the most critically endangered sea turtle species in the world, and have inspired international cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico to protect nesting beaches, implement more stringent fishing regulations, and foster...Read more
Oct 21, 2014
Credit:

Scott Kupiec

In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita aurita ) in the Chesapeake Bay, have become more common around the world for a number of different reasons . One result of these blooms is that there is less food for fish and more for bacteria . This is because the large numbers of jellyfish eat zooplankton—potential fish food —but most fish don't eat jellyfish. Instead,...Read more
Oct 20, 2014
Credit:

Mandy Lindeberg, NOAA/NMFS/AKFSC.

The ocean sustains land animals besides humans. Here, a fox looks for a meal at low tide on the Arctic Peninsula. When the tide goes out, it leaves behind tidepools full of tasty snacks for foxes and other terrestrial predators such as bears, weasels, and raccoons—as long as they run out before the tide comes back in.Read more
Oct 17, 2014
Credit:

Lophelia II 2010 Expedition, NOAA-OER/BOEMRE

An orange brisingid starfish sits on a large reef of Lophelia pertusa, cold-water corals in the Gulf of Mexico, at 450 m depth as a school of fish swims above. They have many arms—up to 20!—covered in spines, which themselves are covered with small snapping jaws called pedicellariae. By attaching their center to a surface and waving these long arms in the water, these starfish filter feed,...Read more
Oct 16, 2014
When a whale dies, the story has just begun. The massive carcass sinks to the seafloor, where it provides food for a deep sea ecosystem on the otherwise mostly barren seafloor. There are several stages to the whale fall ecosystem as different parts of the whale are used up. In the first phase, mobile scavengers such as ratfish, hagfish and sharks smell whale on the water and swim from afar,...Read more
Oct 16, 2014
Credit:

Linda Snook/NOAA/CBNMS

The Pacific hagfish ( Eptatretus stoutii ), a fish that looks similar to an eel, has no jaw and is totally blind. They find food, often dead fish, through a specialized sense of smell and, because they can absorb nutrients through their skin, can eat by just burrowing into a dead carcass. However, they also eat live prey. Learn more about their habitat, ecology, and slime-producing habits !Read more
Oct 16, 2014
Credit:

Gustavo Almada (Flickr

Every breeding season, some 400,000 Magellanic penguins ( Spheniscus magellanicus ) come to Punta Tombo, Argentina to nest on the shore. They typically lay two eggs in a burrow or under a bush, and the parents take turns watching the egg or chick and flying out to sea to catch food. In recent years, the parents have had to fly farther to catch food that has moved offshore as ocean waters warm...Read more

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