Today's Catch

Jun 21, 2013
Credit:

NOAA

Superheated magma, about 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, glows orange as it slowly leaks from cracks along the six-mile long active rift zone of the West Mata Volcano in the Pacific Ocean near Fiji. The slow-leaking magma doesn't erupt, but bubbles out and solidifies to form pillow basalts, a type of rock commonly found at volcano sites and in the Earth's crust. The volcano's top is nearly a mile below...Read more
Jun 20, 2013
Credit:

D. Ross Robertson and Carole C. Baldwin

By diving in the Curasub, Smithsonian researchers with the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) have discovered a new species of tiny fish in the biodiversity-rich waters of the southern Caribbean. The fish, a blenny named Haptoclinus dropi , is only around 2 cm in length with a beautiful color pattern that includes iridescence on the fins. Against a white background, it's hard to see the...Read more
Jun 19, 2013
Credit:

Alan Studley/Nature’s Best Photography

“This shark was cruising low along the reef known as Alcyone. Her left eye was glancing up toward other hammerheads when I took this shot from below.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Alan Studley. See more beautiful ocean photos in our slideshow of winners from the 2010 Nature's Best Ocean Views photo contest.Read more
Jun 18, 2013
Credit:

Photo courtesy of Jim Denny

The Hawaiian petrel ( Pterodroma sandwichensis ) lives over the Pacific ocean unless it is breeding season (March to October) when they can be found nesting on Hawaiian islands. They feed on animals like fish, squid and crustaceans that they swoop down to grab from the water, but their meals may have changed over the past 4,000 years.Read more
Jun 17, 2013
Credit:

Department of Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

These watercolor sketches of Trapezia crabs were drawn by Frederick Bayer, a former Smithsonian coral biologist, in 1947. Trapezia crabs live on and within corals, feeding on their tissue and mucus, and protect them from predators such as crown-of-thorns starfish . Bayer made these drawings in 1947, one year after the US military tested nuclear bombs on the coral reefs of Bikini Atoll in the...Read more
Jun 10, 2013
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
Jun 7, 2013
"We too are sea creatures," entreats ocean explorer Sylvia Earle in this beautiful short film, which calls for protecting the ocean and, in particular, for ending destructive fishing practices. It's estimated that we've lost on the order of 90% of many of the ocean's big fishes, such as tuna, sharks, and cod, through overfishing what was once considered a limitless resource. Today, people still...Read more
Jun 6, 2013
Credit:

NOAA

One of the biggest threats to sea turtles, such as the loggerhead turtle ( Caretta caretta ) pictured here, is being accidentally caught and killed in fishing nets. Trapped in a net, the turtles are dragged through the water with no access to the surface to breathe, causing them to drown. To address this problem, NOAA Fisheries worked with the shrimp trawling industry to install escape hatches...Read more
Jun 5, 2013
Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

How do right whales size up? North Atlantic Right whales ( Eubalaena glacialis ) are big, but they're not the biggest whales. That distinction goes to the Blue whale ( Balaenoptera musculus ), the largest animal on Earth. While the Orca, or Killer whale size of up to 31 feet make it the largest dolphin. The Sperm whale on the other hand may not be the biggest whale, but it has the biggest brain...Read more
May 23, 2013
Credit:

John Wang, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research

Sea turtles may have survived the planetary changes that killed the dinosaurs, but now they are threatened by fisheries. It's estimated that some 4,600 sea turtles are killed by fishing nets and hooks every year in U.S. waters. But off the coast of Mexico, one community is trying something different: hanging lights on their nets so turtles can avoid them. They've found a 50% reduction in turtle...Read more

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