Today's Catch

Aug 20, 2014
Credit:

© Sandra Raredon / Smithsonian Institution

An X-ray image of a Monterey skate ( Raja montereyensis ) reveals a spine that extends like a tail out from the pelvic fin. The skeletons of skates, rays, chimaeras, and sharks are made of cartilage, rather than bone. 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 complex bone structure and diversity...Read more
Aug 19, 2014
Credit:

© 2004 Smithsonian Institution

This beautiful bromeliad, also called an air plant because it gets its nutrients and water from the air, is a flowering plant in the pineapple family. All of them are epiphytes, meaning they get their support from and grow on other plants. Many are found in mangrove forests, such as this one making house on a mangrove root. It's not known whether they provide any benefit to the trees, but when...Read more
Aug 15, 2014
Credit:

Brian Skerry

"Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year, often only for their fins. I have wrestled with how to take pictures of dead sharks that resonate with readers. One morning, I jumped into the sea in Mexico and swam along a gillnet, where I found a thresher shark that had recently died in the net. As I composed the frame, the scene struck me as a crucifixion. Finally I had an image that would...Read more
Aug 13, 2014
Credit:

Mark Harris, Flickr

A thresher shark’s long tail fin helps not only its swimming ability, but also its ability to hunt. It can use the fin to herd and trap schooling fish by swimming in increasingly smaller circles before striking the fish with its tail. This strike usually assails from above instead of sideways, a rare technique on the shark’s part that allows them to stun multiple fish at a time. Most carnivorous...Read more
Aug 12, 2014
A Greenland shark photographed in the St. Lawrence Estuary, near Baie-Comeau, Quebec
Credit:

Jeffrey Gallant, GEERG, www.geerg.ca

Scientists know the Greenland shark ( Somniosus microcephalus ) moves slowly in the Arctic's cold water. They also know that parasites attack the shark's eyes. But much about this animal remains a mystery. Marine biologist Greg Skomal says that's because the Greenland shark spends most of the year living under 6 feet of Arctic ice . Skomal works for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries...Read more
Aug 11, 2014
Credit:

Citron, Wikimedia Commons

Is it an enormous eel? No—it's a shark! The frilled shark is named for its strange appearance , including a snakelike body, three pronged teeth, and gills that give the impression of a frilly collar. However, this collar does not mean these sharks are dainty eaters. Even though their feeding behavior is yet to be observed, some scientists believe that their flexible jaws could allow them to...Read more
Aug 8, 2014
Sharks face many threats from people, including extreme overfishing driven by high prices for their fins, and being caught by mistake in nets and on longlines. While there is still much work to be done to conserve sharks, take a moment to recognize the work already being done in communities around the world to protect these fascinating and beautiful animals. In this video, see how the number of...Read more
Aug 7, 2014
How does a coral spend its day? Most of us would say: not doing much. To the human eye, a coral looks relatively still, waiting in the current and hoping some food will run into its tentacles. But this video "Slow Life" by marine scientist Daniel Stoupin reveals the unseen world of "unmoving" animals coral reefs—unseen because they move too slowly for us to grasp. With their movements sped up and...Read more
Jun 12, 2014
Credit:

Britta Monaco/Marine Photobank

Bonaire, a small Caribbean island just north of Venezuela, is routinely ranked as a top diving destination in the world. But there's something getting in the way of beautiful dives: plastic trash. While the western coastline of Bonaire is mostly pristine, lots of plastic debris from other Caribbean islands and South America washes up on the eastern shore after being carried by currents. This...Read more
Jun 11, 2014
Instead of adding castaway fishing nets to already crowded landfills, Hawaii’s multi-partner marine debris group has developed a method of converting marine debris into usable electricity. The Nets-to-Energy Program is reducing the effects of marine debris on the ocean and keeping shorelines clean. Explore other videos that capture the beauty and mystery of the ocean realm at NOAA Ocean Today .Read more

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