Today's Catch

May 21, 2015

© Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution

This fossil tooth whorl of the ancient shark Helicoprion , dates back 290 million years. For a long time, people didn't know what the shark looked like—but, thanks to a CT scan of a fossil, researchers finally put the pieces together in 2013. Read more about this story in our great white shark overview , and learn more about top predators like Helicoprion in the Ocean Over Time section .Read more
May 20, 2015

NIWA, New Zealand/CenSeam, Census of Marine Life

A huge colony of brittlestars (likely Ophiacantha rosea ) covers the peak of a seamount in the deep ocean. What’s the attraction? Food! Their arms reach out for tiny food particles carried by the swift Antarctic Circumpolar Current. More about the deep ocean can be found in the Deep Ocean Exploration section .Read more
May 18, 2015

R. Hopcroft, UAF, Hidden Ocean 2005 NOAA.

This copepod Calanus hyperboreus (up to 7mm in length) lives in the Arctic , usually within 500 meters of the surface. To survive the cold Arctic winters, Calanus hyperboreus builds up dense fat (lipid) supplies on its body, which makes it a preferred food of both ctenophores and bowhead whales.Read more
May 15, 2015

Copyright © Brian Skerry

Florida Manatee ( Trichechus manatus latirostris ) swimming within a fresh water spring on Crystal River in Florida. Note the tree roots on the right of the frame which make up a portion of this unique ecosystem. Fish aggregate around the manatee and eat algae off of the manatee's body.Read more
May 14, 2015

Michael Berumen

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 feet on the deep reefs of Curaçao, and from Brazil to the Indian Ocean. The ARMS mimic the nooks and crannies of oyster reefs, without the sharp edges...Read more
May 13, 2015

Courtesy Charles Fisher

Deep-sea corals miles away from the source of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 were impacted by the plumes. One affected site was 13.7 miles (22 km) away from the Macondo wellhead—the farthest observed—and extremely deep, more than 6,000 feet (1,875 meters) below the surface. This is deeper than any of the reported oil plumes that resulted from the spill. How did oil get down there? Read...Read more
May 12, 2015

© Brian Skerry,

Two California market squids ( Loligo opalescens ) mate in the waters off of California's Channel Islands. While spawning, the male's arms blush red as he embraces the female, a warning to other competing males to back-off. Find out how and why squids and other cephalopods change color .Read more
May 11, 2015

Yeang H. Ch’ng/Nature’s Best Photography

“A four-foot-long barracuda is visible flashing past me, with the sky and the lights of my boat seen above.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Yeang H. Ch’ng. See more beautiful ocean photos in our slideshow of winners from the 2010 Nature's Best Ocean Views photo contest.Read more
May 8, 2015

Images from Barry Brown, Substation Curacao and Cedric Guigand, University of Miami

Human infants often already resemble their parents. Visitors coo, "Oh, she has your eyes," or "He is the spitting image of his father." But what if the infant (or in this case, the larva) looked entirely different from its adult parents, with different body shape and coloring? This is the case for many marine species, especially fishes, making it difficult to match up a larva with it's...Read more
May 7, 2015

NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition

Methane gas, trapped deep within the Earth's crust, can slowly leak from cracks in the seafloor known as methane seeps. While we would never consider methane as food, in the deep sea where there is little light or resources, microbes have evolved to turn methane into energy and live off of it . And where there are microbes, there are often other animals—such as tube worms or mussels—that eat...Read more