Today's Catch

Dec 16, 2011
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's "Line W" program is conducting research to better understand how the oceans and the atmosphere work together to cause, and are affected by, climate variability on the earth. Since 2001, a set of moored instruments and repeated research cruises across the Gulf Stream have helped form an unprecedented view of ocean circulation in a crucial part of the...Read more
Dec 16, 2011
“Sea grapes” may sound like something Poseidon would snack on, and not a killer algae. Yet Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea poses a serious threat to marine life. Spread by the bilge water of boats , this fast-growing alga is quick to take root, squeezing out native species. But there is one spot in the Mediterranean where cylindracea hasn’t yet taken over, and biologists like Juan Manuel Ruiz...Read more
Nov 1, 2011

Danee Hazama

"This World of Ours, Does not feel steady, We keep rotating, Oi! What will happen to us?" This is one of the questions that a group of performers from the Pacific island of Tuvalu is posed to audiences across the United States in 2011. With the Water is Rising project, they hoped to draw attention to threats associated with climate change , including sea-level rise, through dance , song, and...Read more
Oct 27, 2011
A photo of the cliffs at Mistaken Point, in Newfoundland

Helen Goodchild, Flickr User "Goodhen"

When the cod fishery collapsed in Newfoundland in the early 1990s, the hopes of the local fish harvesters collapsed with it. Hundreds of Newfoundlanders moved away and businesses that depended on the cod fishery closed. But retired schoolteacher Kit Ward of Portugal Cove South wasn’t content to watch her community vanish. She and some friends found a solution that was right under their feet, in...Read more
Sep 30, 2011

D. Rubilar Rogers

Smithsonian curator of fossil marine mammals Nick Pyenson and a team of collaborators are heading into Chile's Atacama Desert , shown here. They'll study a rich bonebed of fossil marine vertebrates that lived off the Chilean coast around 8 million years ago. The bonebed was once a seafloor that preserved the skeletons of many familiar marine animals that live offshore Chile today, as well as...Read more
Sep 21, 2011

Flickr User Mouser NerdBot

There are different types of beaches and multiple factors that influence the formation of sand. Many beaches may look alike, but they are actually very different from each other. Wave patterns, geology, and other factors shape the composition, size, texture, and color of sand. Grains can be big or small, rough or smooth, glittery or dull, and made of light shells or dark minerals. The sand...Read more
Sep 20, 2011

Smithsonian Institution

Earth’s first animals had soft bodies. This illustration shows a community of soft-bodied Ediacaran (edi-A-karan) animals. Some species resemble living ocean creatures. Others are unlike any known organisms and cannot be classified. Scientists have found fossils of these fauna in sedimentary rocks worldwide. Explore the ancient ocean in an image gallery or in our Ocean Over Time interactive .Read more
Sep 16, 2011

Flickr User Fabi Fliervoet

More than ever, the fate of the ocean is in our hands. To be good stewards and leave a thriving ocean for future generations, we need to make changes big and small wherever we are. To make a positive difference, here are five simple things you can do in 10 minutes or less to help protect the ocean—wherever you are. The trash we "throw away" doesn't disappear. Plastic bags, disposable food...Read more
Sep 15, 2011
The US Fish Commission Steamer Albatross (1882-1921) sailed approximately one million miles, in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and collected millions of organisms. The Albatross had a special and vital link with Smithsonian science, for the vessel was the brainchild of Spencer Baird, second Secretary of the Smithsonian. At least 10 prominent Smithsonian scientists – including Bartsch, Bean,...Read more
Sep 8, 2011

National Snow and Ice Data Center

This graph of the Arctic sea ice coverage shows how close the year 2011 is to reaching a record-low . The graph contains data through September 7, 2011. The National Snow and Ice Data Center , which produced the graph, says we should know within a couple weeks if the ice extent drops below the previous record which was set in 2007.Read more