Today's Catch

Feb 6, 2015
Credit:

Jeffrey de Guzman/Nature’s Best Photography

The veined octopus ( Amphioctopus marginatus ), also known as the coconut octopus, has a skill beyond other cephalopods: it hides under animal and coconut shells, dragging them along the seafloor for protection. This is one of the few examples—if not the only example—of tool use in invertebrates. Here, the octopus sits inside a vacant bivalve shell. “This octopus displays tool-using behavior as...Read more
Feb 6, 2015
Credit:

Lawrence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Climate and sea changes in the Southern Ocean create conditions that favor the growth of salps over krill , the latter of which are a vital food source for seals, whales, and penguins. Salps are filter-feeding tunicates that float through the water column, sometimes forming long salp chains, consuming phytoplankton and using jet propulsion to move. Read about their complex life history in “ The...Read more
Feb 3, 2015
Credit:

Cameron McIntyre, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

AUV Sentry is an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that was used in the Gulf of Mexico directly after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Researchers rushed to get to the Gulf as quickly as possible to learn what was happening to the deep water ecosystems found near the leaking wellhead. The AUV Sentry was deployed off of ships to map oil plumes and to search for hard bottom on the sea...Read more
Feb 2, 2015
Credit:

David Clark

On the Galapagos Islands, William Dampier wrote excitedly of the giant tortoises he encountered: “I do believe there is no place in the world that is so plentifully stored with these animals….” This photo was taken at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. No longer plentiful, the Galapagos tortoise is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN's Red List for...Read more
Jan 30, 2015
Credit:

K. Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College, Arctic Exploration 2002, NOAA

Chrysaora melanaster , one of the largest jellyfish commonly found in the Arctic, swims underneath the Arctic ice . Its tentacles can stretch to more than 3 meters long and pack a mean sting for humans.Read more
Jan 29, 2015
Credit:

David Valentine, University of California Santa Barbara

In this view of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill from above in June 2010, you can see bright orange oil floating on the ocean's surface on the left and, on the right, a thin layer of oil reflects the colors of the rainbow. However, there is more going on beneath the surface. Along with oil, methane gas spewed from the Macondo well and dissolved into the ocean, forming a plume in the deep sea at...Read more
Jan 28, 2015
Credit:

New England Aquarium

Every North Atlantic right whale has a pattern of callosities unique to that individual. This distinctive pattern provides a very visual, convenient tool that researchers can use to tell one individual from another. Learn more about how these callosities are used by researchers in our Tale of a Right Whale .Read more
Jan 27, 2015
What would happen if we let our fear of sharks lead people to kill them all? This is the question Joe Hanson asks in this video from PBS Digital Studios. Find out about how the removal of sharks affects the food web, ecosystem balance, and why sharks are particularly vulnerable to human threats .Read more
Jan 26, 2015
Credit:

Wikimedia Commons, Pierre-Jules Hetzel

A sea monster attacks a ship in an illustration for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. The illustration is by publisher and artist Pierre-Jules Hetzel, who is most famous for his drawings in Verne's books. This terrifying monster looks a lot like an octopus or squid, which do little harm to people. Read about how author Ray Bradbury encouraged people to sympathize with sea beasts in one...Read more
Jan 23, 2015
Credit:

In Smithsonian Report 1916

Many sperm whales stranded on beaches or caught by whalers exhibit telltale circular scars like these. Only one thing could have made them: the strong suckers that line the giant squid’s eight arms and two long feeding tentacles. Older sperm whales have so many scars that they overlap each other. Learn more about the over-sized anatomy of the giant squid in this video with Smithsonian scientist...Read more

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