Today's Catch

Feb 26, 2015
Credit:

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 25, 2015
Credit:

Marco Faasse, World Register of Marine Species

This ctenophore (a stingless jellyfish-like animal) is native to the east coast of North and South America. In 1982, it was discovered in the Black Sea, where it was transported by ballast water . It subsequently spread to the Caspian Sea. In both places it multiplied and formed immense populations. The sea walnuts contributed to the collapse of local fisheries because they feed on zooplankton...Read more
Feb 24, 2015
Credit:

Antoine N'Yeurt, Moorea Biocode Project

A strain of this green seaweed, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, escaped public and private aquariums in California, Japan, Australia, and Monaco. It has spread widely in the Mediterranean, replacing native plants (such as seagrasses ) and depriving marine life of food and habitat. In California , it was eradicated at considerable cost using toxic chemicals. Read No Passport Required:...Read more
Feb 23, 2015
Credit:

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
Credit:

Klaus Jost, www.jostimages.com

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
Credit:

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
Credit:

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 11, 2015
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, the Taylors have seen significant changes in the health of the ocean and the health of their oyster farm. “The ocean is so acidic that it is...Read more
Feb 10, 2015
Credit:

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

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