Today's Catch

Mar 14, 2016
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
Mar 11, 2016
A brightly colored parrotfish swims over a field of seagrass. Credit:

© Brian Skerry/National Geographic

Parrotfish like this ‘rainbow parrotfish” ( Scarus guacamaia ) play a critical ecological role in coral reef ecosystems. Herbivores, parrotfish feed on macroalgae that can otherwise smother corals directly or reduce coral growth and fish survival. These “Parrots of the Sea” are now fully protected in the waters of Belize, Guatemala and the Bay Islands of Honduras. Maintaining healthy local reefs...Read more
Mar 9, 2016
A white crab hides among coral polyps of the same color. Credit:

Marli Wakeling/Nature's Best Photography

“Lembeh Strait is a fantastic place to find species that have evolved to resemble other animals or plants to survive. Because of the lens I was using, I had to get really close to this crab. As I moved in, it retreated into the xenia coral polyps. When I backed up, it came back out. The skittish crab, in addition to having the wrong lens for the task, made this a challenging shot.” -- Nature's...Read more
Mar 8, 2016
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
Mar 7, 2016
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
Mar 4, 2016
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
Mar 2, 2016
At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the effect of excess nutrients on mangrove swamps. Feller runs the Animal-Plant Interaction Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. See a photo of a tree-climbing crab and some of the other animals that make these coastal ecosystems their home in our Mangrove section .Read more
Mar 1, 2016
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
Mar 1, 2016
Credit:

© Michael Moore/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

This close-up photo of a right whale's head shows dozens of hitchhikers—tiny crustaceans known as whale lice, or cyamid amphipods. They live on the rough patches of skin (known as callosities) on North Atlantic right whales , eating algae that settles there and only causing minor skin damage. Distinctive patterns formed by their white bodies crowding around rough patches on whales’ skin help...Read more
Feb 26, 2016
Credit:

© Brian Skerry, www.brianskerry.com

A yellow moray eel, Gymnothorax prasinus , inside of a sea sponge in the waters off of Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand. Photographer Brian Skerry takes an artistic eye to his underwater photography, such as the blurred yellow illuminating the otherwise well-hidden eel. In his book Ocean Soul , he wrote, “I believe my most important role remains as artistic interpreter of all that I see. I need...Read more

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