Today's Catch

Sep 24, 2014
Credit:

Carl Buell, http://carlbuell.com/

Offshore Peru, during the Eocene (~56-34 million years ago), showing three archaeocetes (ancient whales), along with a previously described fossil penguin. Top to bottom: Perudyptes devriesi , unnamed protocetid, Ocucajea picklingi , and Supayacetus muizoni . Smithsonian curator and paleobiologist Dr. Nicholas D. Pyenson was on the team that discovered the marine fossils in Peru's Pisco Basin...Read more
Sep 23, 2014
Credit:

Courtesy of Mystic Seaport.

The Charles W. Morgan sailing en route to Newport on June 15, 2104. Built in 1841, the Charles W. Morgan sailed on 37 voyages to remote corners of the globe during her 80-year whaling career. The Morgan departed in spring 2014 on her historic 38th Voyage following an extensive five-year restoration by Mystic Seaport, setting sail for the first time in nearly a century on a tour of New England’s...Read more
Sep 22, 2014
Credit:

Flickr user Paul Cowell

The sea's largest fish has been a mystery until recent decades. Thanks to electronic tags, researchers are uncovering some of the secrets of the whale shark ( Rhincodon typus Smith, 1828 ). One tagged animal, dubbed "Rio Lady," swam some 5,000 miles during a span of 150 days. Another dove to a depth of 6,324 feet in the Gulf of Mexico. These sharks are attracting scientists and tourists alike to...Read more
Sep 19, 2014
Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

Like a cake, the ocean has different layers—each with its own characteristics. (No icing, though.) The surface layer receives the most sunlight, allowing photosynthetic organisms like phytoplankton to convert sunlight to energy. The twilight zone receives only faint, filtered sunlight, allowing no photosynthetic organisms to survive. Many animals have adapted to the near-darkness with large eyes...Read more
Sep 18, 2014
Illustrator Drew Christie created this light-hearted short film about how humans could really learn something from whales. Check it out and learn about all the different cetaceans and our commonalities, such as a shared love for vacations in Hawaii and music.Read more
Sep 16, 2014
Credit:

New England Aquarium

Fargo, the dog pictured here, is not just having a relaxing day at sea. He is helping researchers at the New England Aquarium in Boston detect scat (or poop) from North Atlantic right whales . The dogs find about four times more whale poop with their scent detection than the researchers would using other methods. Why are they looking for poop? Researchers analyze the scat to learn more about the...Read more
Sep 15, 2014
Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

Giant squid have the largest eye in the animal kingdom. At up to 10 inches in diameter, people often describe it as the size of a dinner plate -- or, in other words, as big as a human head. Here, National Museum of Natural History staffer Katie Velazco goes eye-to-eye with a preserved example from the Smithsonian's collection . Why do they need such big eyes? The deep ocean is so dark that bigger...Read more
Sep 12, 2014
Join marine archeologists as they trace the history of the Trouvadore , a slave ship bound for Cuba that wrecked in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1841, and the ship’s passengers unusual path to freedom.Read more
Sep 11, 2014
Credit:

Kunio Amaoka

This deep sea creature, the whalefish ( Cetomimidae ), has a whale-like body, a gaping mouth, no fins or scales and a deep lateral line, which detects vibrations in the water. The first specimens were discovered by two Smithsonian scientists in fish collections at the National Museum of Natural History more than a century ago. In the 1980s, a different scientist realized that they only had female...Read more
Sep 10, 2014
Credit:

(c) 2004 Berkley White/Marine Photobank

Blast fishing, when dynamite or other explosives are used to stun or kill fish, is a practice used in many villages and isolated regions of the world. Hundreds of fish can be seen strewn across the reef, left as bycatch, such as these tropical fish in Thailand. Fishers are targeting larger, valuable species such as grouper which command a hefty price at the market—yet all the reef species pay the...Read more

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