Today's Catch

Apr 25, 2013

Smithsonian Institution

Starksia blennies, small fish with elongated bodies, generally native to shallow to moderately deep rock and coral reefs in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans, have been well-studied for more than 100 years. It would have been reasonable to assume that there was little about the group left to discover. Using modern genetic analysis combined with traditional examination of morphology...Read more
Apr 24, 2013
How will changes in temperature affect glaciers and ice sheets? Dr. Sarah Das from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution explores this phenomenon first hand in Greenland, where she studies how the melted ice travels through glaciers and out to the sea. Learn more about climate change .Read more
Apr 22, 2013

Flickr User dolanh

When it comes to many of our once-favorite seafoods, there aren't always plenty more fish in the sea. In fact, some studies estimate that up to 90 percent of large predatory fish (those that eat other animals—and usually end up on our dinner plates) have disappeared since humans began heavy fishing. You can help turn the tide by demanding sustainable seafood at the supermarket and in your...Read more
Apr 15, 2013

Rod Strachan/Nature's Best Photography

These cute Adélie penguins ( Pygoscelis adeliae ) are actually having a bit of a spat. In the spring (October for them), the penguins form breeding colonies on rocky coasts with thousands of birds in a group. Krill, a tiny crustacean, is the penguins' main food source, but krill populations are being affected by climate change and the Adélie penguin populations are decreasing as a result. “This...Read more
Apr 10, 2013

James Watt, USFWS Pacific

Check out the eyes on these Hawaiian squirrelfish ( Sargocentron xantherythrum )! Because squirrelfish are almost entirely nocturnal, they need big eyes to absorb as much moonlight and starlight as they can in the dark. During the day, they hide out in the nooks and crannies of tropical coral reefs. To defend its small hiding place, the squirrelfish grunts by grinding its teeth and stretching the...Read more
Mar 28, 2013

Tobias Friedrich/Nature's Best Photography

Gray reef sharks ( Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos ) are known for being active at night. They are considered Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List due to fishing and the loss of their coral reef habitat. The sinister animal, with its sleek body, can be quite aggressive when directly threatened. “It was shaping up to be a bad night dive when my mask broke and I was forced to come up early. The others...Read more
Mar 27, 2013

Steve Gould/Nature's Best Photography

There are over 30 colonies of king penguins ( Aptenodytes patagonicus ) on South Georgia Island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. The penguins capture their prey, typically lanternfish, by diving at speeds of 12 miles per hour. “This photo was taken the first evening of six that I spent at South Georgia Island. It captures a group of penguins on their way to the ocean to feed. As they approached, I...Read more
Mar 26, 2013

Sven Zea (

Tectitethya crypta (formerly known as Cryptotheca crypta ) is a large, shallow-water sponge found in the Caribbean. It was first studied for medical purposes in the 1950s when few scientists or doctors thought to look for medicines in the ocean. But in the sponge, scientists isolated two chemicals — aptly named spongothymidine and spongouridine — which were used as models for the development of a...Read more
Mar 17, 2013

Filip Nuyttens

This sea potato ( Echinocardium cordatum ) looks similar to its root vegetable namesake, but it's a sea urchin! The spines on this urchin are more hair-like than the spikes seen on some more commonly known urchins, and they lay flat across the urchin's body. They can be found buried in the sediments of the sea floor. In their burrow they separate themselves from the sand and mud with a layer of...Read more
Mar 14, 2013

Eduardo Zattara, Smithsonian Institution

The over 1,000 species of ribbon worms ( Nemertea ) are mostly found in marine environments (like the Hubrechtia found in a mud flat, in the photo). These worms have both a mouth and an anus (unlike flatworms, which use the same opening for both ingesting and removing their food). Some species are centimeters long, like the ones that Smithsonian scientists searched for in Florida , while others,...Read more