Today's Catch

May 2, 2014
The majestic and highly predatory red lionfish ( Pterois volitans ) , native to the Indo-Pacific, is invading Atlantic waters. The lionfish is a popular home aquarium species, and some were most likely dumped off the Florida coast when no longer wanted. The result is a lionfish population explosion that now threatens native species like snapper, grouper, and sea bass. Read " Five Invasive Species...Read more
May 1, 2014
Credit:

Tony Brown, Flickr

In November 2012, Australia began protecting a huge swath of its ocean from overfishing and oil exploration, creating the largest network of marine reserves in the world at a grand total of 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million square kilometers). The area, a third of the continent’s territorial waters, includes an underwater canyon as large as the U.S. Grand Canyon, seagrass meadows, and the...Read more
Apr 29, 2014
Credit:

NOAA Office of Response and Restoration

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred on March 24, 1989 when an oil tanker grounded on a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. It spilled almost 11 million gallons of crude oil, which reached 1,300 miles of coastline. The spill's remote location, accessible by air or boat only, made the restoration response all the more difficult. Seabirds, mammals, fish, invertebrates, and their communities were...Read more
Apr 23, 2014
Credit:

Deano Cook/Nature's Best Photography

At night this lemon shark ( Negaprion brevirostris ) lurks at the surface, but often during the day they will lie on the ocean bottom. This behavior had been thought to save them energy, but in reality it takes energy for the shark to push water over their gills while not moving. They may be lying still to be cleaned by small fish, like the wrasse. “As nightfall was approaching and the sun...Read more
Apr 16, 2014
Credit:

© Sandra Raredon/Smithsonian Institution

The distinctive form of a winghead shark ( Eusphyra blochii ) is revealed by an X-ray image. The Winghead Shark, one of about ten species of hammerhead sharks, has its eyes set at the tips of its wide, T-shaped head, giving it superb binocular vision. Scientists in the Division of Fishes at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History use X-ray images, like the one shown, to study the...Read more
Apr 14, 2014
Credit:

The Wales Inupiaq Sea Ice Dictionary, courtesy of Igor Krupnik (NMNH)

To people living in warm climates, all ice looks the same. But if you live day-in and day-out on sea ice, like the Inupiaq people of Alaska, you would find that there are many kinds of ice, all distinct. In fact, the Inupiaq have more than 100 names for different kinds of sea ice, illustrated here. A female walrus and her calf ( isavgalik ) rest on ice ( nunavait ) in the midst of scattered pack...Read more
Apr 3, 2014
Credit:

Flickr User Critidoc

This bait ball shows how small fish can react when larger predators are near by gathering tightly together in a ball-like formation that exposes the least number of fish. Fish species found in the open ocean are especially in need of some protection, as they don't have the cracks and crevices that fish in coastal or coral reef habitats have to hide away. Instead, they hide behind one another to...Read more
Mar 31, 2014
Credit:

© David Shale

This tiny, shrimplike creature is no more than 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) long, but it’s as ferocious as a shark. Its giant eyes spot prey. Huge claws grab the prey, and a tiny mouth rips it to shreds. The prey never sees what’s coming, because Phronima’s transparent body blends into the surrounding water. More about deep ocean exploration can be found in the Deep Ocean Exploration section .Read more
Mar 17, 2014
Credit:

George Cathcart

"Fronds of giant kelp, buoyed by their gas-filled pneumatocysts, wave like pennants in the current of Monterey Bay, California," wrote George Cathcart of his image , a winning selection in the Portraits of Planet Ocean Flickr contest . Giant kelp ( Macrocystis pyrifera ) is large, brown algae that grows in dense forests along coasts around the world. Long stalks anchor each plant to the seafloor...Read more
Mar 11, 2014
Credit:

HBOI

These cancer cells have been treated with discodermolide, a chemical obtained from a sponge that grows on deep-sea coral reefs. It prevents the cells from dividing and spreading. Learn more about deep-sea corals in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea " and about drugs from sea creatures in our conversation with Dr. Shirley Pomponi .Read more

Pages