Today's Catch

Oct 26, 2012


What do you get when you mix together a hurricane, the remnants of a wintry midwestern storm, and cold Arctic air? The " Frankenstorm ," which is what the US National Weather Service renamed Hurricane Sandy as it approached the US east coast during the week before Halloween in 2012. The combination of strange weather conditions may result in a powerful storm not unlike a nor'easter, with powerful...Read more
Oct 24, 2012

David Maitland / Nikon Small World

Coral sand is aptly named: it's sand made up of tiny bits of coral and other ocean animals such as foraminifera , molluscs, and crustaceans. This image, taken at 100x zoom, took 18th place in the 2012 Nikon Small World photomicrography competition.Read more
Oct 19, 2012

Devin Harvey/Marine Photobank

Red coral necklaces fill a store display window. The United States annually imports around one million live coral animals from tropical reefs for use in aquariums, and is the largest documented consumer of precious red coral, commonly used in jewelry, according to a 2008 SeaWeb report ( PDF ). Harvesting coral to produce jewelry like this threatens all coral reefs , including deep-sea corals .Read more
Oct 16, 2012

K. Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College, Hidden Ocean 2005, NOAA

Many expeditions in the Arctic reveal new species, such as this jellyfi sh Bathykorus bouilloni , which, strangely, has only four tentacles! Dr. Kevin Raskoff from California State University, Monterey Bay first captured one in the deep Arctic in 2002 and thought it was rare. But when he returned in 2005 with NOAA and the Census of Marine Life , he and his crew found themselves in a swarm of the...Read more
Oct 15, 2012

© Clyde F.E. Roper

This close-up photo shows the tough, serrated ring around the opening of a giant squid sucker. The ring is made of chitin—the same material that’s in your fingernails. Using suction, the sucker tightly grips the squid’s prey. The ring digs into the skin of the giant squid’s only predator—the sperm whale—leaving its mark behind. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid featured...Read more
Oct 5, 2012

E. Widder, ORCA,

Glowing photophores are visible on this midwater squid ( Abralia veranyi ) viewed from below at low light levels. We think of light as a way to see in the dark. But many species use it to help them hide. This adaptation is called counterillumination. Seen from below, an animal might stand out as a dark shape against the brighter water above. By glowing on its underside, it can blend in. Watch a...Read more
Oct 3, 2012
In the past 30 years, the Great Barrier Reef -- Australia's iconic natural wonder -- has lost half of its coral to a combination of forces. Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair of Marine Science at the Smithsonian Natural Museum of Natural History and Editor-in-Chief of the Ocean Portal, went on PBS NewsHour to talk about the reef, its problems, and how it can be restored. Also, read her blog post on...Read more
Sep 28, 2012

Norfolk Public Library

A longshoreman stands in front of a large pile of oyster shells on waterfront pier in Atlantic City in 1910. Back then, oysters were incredibly abundant. In the late 1800s, fishermen pulled in 10 million bushels of oysters each year but, by the mid-1900s, the catch had dropped to 1 or 2 million bushels each year because of disease and overharvesting. Nowadays, the normal catch is down to 100,000...Read more
Sep 27, 2012

Steven Paton, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

A mangrove tree crab ( Aratus pisonii ) clings to a leaf near the Smithsonian Institution’s marine laboratory on Galeta Island, Panama, part of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute . During high tide, the crabs climb up into the branches and, during low tide, climb back to the mangrove tree's roots and freshly-revealed beach to scavenge for both plant and animal food, including bits of the...Read more
Sep 17, 2012

K. Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College, Hidden Ocean 2005, NOAA.

Alien-looking creatures like this deep-red jellyfish ( Crossota norvegica ) swim in the Arctic Sea. Learn more about Arctic sea life in our Under the Arctic Ice story, or at the home page for the Arctic Ocean Diversity project . And learn more about jellyfish !Read more