Today's Catch

Jul 18, 2012
Credit:© Morne Hardenberg
It's hard to imagine a 2000-pound animal launching itself out of the water while hunting, but the great white shark does just that. This spectacular behavior is called breaching, and great white sharks breach in order to catch fast-moving prey like seals. Swimming fast at the surface, sharks can reach 40 miles per hour and fly 10 feet into the air; however, breaching is relatively rare because...Read more
Jul 16, 2012

Joan Lederman

Massachusetts ceramics artist Joan Lederman glazes her work —including this bowl—with deep sea sediments. Some contain tiny single-celled organisms called foraminifera. Lederman has noticed that sediments with foraminifera often make branching patterns—like the ones you see on this bowl. “I hear and feel forams roll off the sediment-filled brush,” says Lederman. More about deep ocean exploration...Read more
Jul 3, 2012

Projeto Tamar Brazil/Marine Photobank

A fishing line with bait on the hook intended for tuna and other big fish is also a tasty snack for other animals such as this albatross, which drowned after being accidentally caught on a longline near Brazil. And it's a big problem. A 2003 study found that 300,000 birds are being killed each year by fisheries as bycatch, of which 100,000 are albatrosses. Fishermen are working with scientists to...Read more
Jun 6, 2012

Pedro Carrillo/Nature’s Best Photography

I have been to this location many times, but no other photo has come out like this one composed with the sun behind a turtle’s head.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Pedro Carrillo. See more beautiful ocean photos in our slideshow of winners from the 2010 Nature's Best Ocean Views photo contest.Read more
Jun 5, 2012

The Rakefish Project

This four-foot long fish sculpture was created by art students at A.W. Cox Elementary School in Guilford, CT. The purpose of the Rakefish Project is to raise awareness of marine litter among elementary school children as it travels to schools throughout the United States - from Washington, D.C. to Hawaii. Students covered the surface of the rakefish with single word responses and questions that...Read more
Jun 4, 2012

Michael Vecchione/NOAA

The yellow bioluminescent ring on this female octopus ( Bolitaena pygmaea ) may attract mates. Bioluminescence is an important adaptation that helps many deep sea animals survive in their dark world. More about deep ocean exploration can be found in our Deep Ocean Exploration section .Read more
May 30, 2012

Joseph Poupin, Institut de Recherche de l'Ecole Naval

Hermit crabs, like this one collected in Moorea, usually protect their soft, vulnerable abdomens from predators by reusing empty snail shells. They are picky home owners and they will trade shells with other crabs to get a better fit or a less damaged shell. This specimen shows the crab without its customary borrowed shelter. Learn more in our Scientists Catalog Life on the Island of Moorea...Read more
May 29, 2012

© Trevor Sewell/Electron Microscope Unit, University of Cape Town

Great White Sharks are stealthy hunters and the secret is in their skin. Shark skin is covered by tiny flat V-shaped scales, called dermal denticles, that are more like teeth than fish scales. These denticles decrease drag and turbulence, allowing the shark to swim faster and more quietly. Olympian swimsuit designers have taken a page from the shark’s playbook and created a fabric that mimics the...Read more
May 21, 2012

Smithsonian Institution

Fitting nine of anything on two fingers is impressive. These mollusks and echinoderms are a teeny-tiny sample of the ocean's biodiversity. The Census of Marine Life estimates that there are at least one million species of plants and animals in the sea -- and most have not been described. The nine animals in this photo were collected by Smithsonian researchers in the southern Caribbean, near...Read more
May 20, 2012

Flickr user Graham Busby, "buzzthediver"

A mantis shrimp ( Odontodactylus scyllarus ) holds her clutch of eggs in her clubbed claws. Usually these claws are weapons that punch hard-shelled prey at speeds of more than 50 miles an hour. Mantis shrimp have compound stalked eyes that allow them to see an array of colors that human eyes cannot - they can even see ultraviolet light and polarized patterns. Check out this Nature's Best...Read more