Today's Catch

Jul 5, 2013
Credit:

Nicky deBattista

The West Norwegian Fjords - Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord site was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2005. The site's two fjords, among the world's longest and deepest, are considered archetypical fjord landscapes and among the most scenically outstanding anywhere. Their exceptional natural beauty is derived from narrow and steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1,400 meters...Read more
Jul 4, 2013
Credit:

Mary Parrish/Smithsonian Institution

Vertebrates evolved in the sea and eventually moved onto land. The ancestors of whales later returned to the sea, taking advantage of its rich food supplies. As early whales adapted to their new marine surroundings, a diversity of species evolved. Explore the the interactive " Did Whale Evolution Go Backwards? ".Read more
Jul 3, 2013
Credit:

John Johnson/Marine Photobank

A 2010 study of IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species found that one-fifth of the world's vertebrates (animals with backbones) are threatened with extinction, including this Hawaiian monk seal. The Hawaiian monk seal ( Monachus schauinslandi ) is the one of the rarest marine mammals in the world: there are around 1,200 individuals alive today, around 1/3 the population size compared to 1950. Its...Read more
Jul 2, 2013
Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building corals have tiny plant-like organisms living in their tissue. The corals couldn’t survive without these microscopic algae–called zooxanthellae (zo-zan-THELL-ee). This cutaway diagram of a coral polyp shows where the photosynthetic algae, or zooxanthellae, live—inside the polyp’s tissue. The coral gives the algae a home. In...Read more
Jun 28, 2013
Credit:

Edy Setyawan

A smasher mantis shrimp came out from its burrow on a fringing reef adjacent to the USS Liberty ship wreck in Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia at a depth of 6 meters. The smashers use their raptorial claw to break their food, like clams. Mantis shrimps have good vision as their eyes have 16 photo-receptors to recognize prey and avoid predators.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
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
May 9, 2013
For two months, Cassandra Brooks , a marine scientist with Stanford University, travelled on an ice-breaking ship through the Ross Sea in the Antarctica—and she filmed the whole thing. A camera hooked to the front of the ship recorded the ship’s travels, and the ever-changing sea ice. Sea ice isn’t just a solid layer covering the water’s surface. Sometimes the ice looks like shining glass...Read more
May 3, 2013
Credit:

Patrick Decaluwe / Guylian Seahorses of the World 2010, Courtesy of Project Seahorse.

There are 47 different species of seahorses and 14 of those were discovered in the last eight years, including Pontoh's pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus pontohi ), which was officially named in 2008. Seahorses’ ability to change their color and shape to blend in with their environment makes identification of individual species challenging. Because of this, some researchers previously thought there...Read more
May 2, 2013
Credit:

Bastian Bentlage

This venomous box jelly ( Chiropsalmus quadrumanus ) was collected off the coast of South Carolina. The specimen now resides in the Smithsonian’s marine collection . It's venomous sting can be lethal, especially to small children. Listen to Podcast of Life: Box Jellies and check out the jellyfish and comb jellies overview to learn more about jellies.Read more

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