Today's Catch

Feb 11, 2014
Credit:

© OCEANA Carlos Minguell

Dead man’s fingers ( Alcyonium digitatum ) are soft corals named for their appendage-like appearance when thrown ashore by storms. The finger-like clumps of coral polyps come in various shades of pink, orange, white, grey, or yellow and are found along the northern Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America. View other images of Baltic Sea life in a photo gallery of Oceana’s 2011 expedition .Read more
Feb 10, 2014
Credit:

Steve Garvie, Flickr

An Atlantic puffin ( Fratercula arctica ) carries many sandlances ( Ammodytidae ) in its mouth to take back to its hungry chick. Puffins have spiny tongues that, pressed against the roof of their mouths, help to hold ten or more fish at once without losing any along the way. The two parents of a single chick take turns bringing food back to the nest. It's possible to learn what kinds of fish are...Read more
Feb 7, 2014
Credit:

Owen Sherwood

Ultraviolet light illuminates the growth rings in a cross-section of a 44-year-old deep-sea coral ( Primnoa resedaeformis ) collected off the coast of Newfoundland at about 1,300 feet (400 meters). Similar to tree trunks, cross-sections reveal coral-growth rings that can be used to determine their age—and information about climate . Because coral growth depends on temperature, sunlight, and...Read more
Feb 6, 2014
Credit:

Antoine N'Yeurt, Moorea Biocode Project

A strain of this green seaweed, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, escaped public and private aquariums in California, Japan, Australia, and Monaco. It has spread widely in the Mediterranean, replacing native plants (such as seagrasses ) and depriving marine life of food and habitat. In California , it was eradicated at considerable cost using toxic chemicals. Read No Passport Required:...Read more
Feb 5, 2014
The small vaquita ( Phocoena sinus ), a type of porpoise, usually only reaches lengths of 5 feet (1.5 meters). They are only found in the Northern part of the Gulf of California off the coast of Mexico, and their population size is estimated to be around only 150 animals. This makes them the most endangered of the marine mammals. But estimating their numbers is a difficult task considering their...Read more
Feb 4, 2014
Credit:

David Burdick/NOAA Photo Library

A crown-of-thorns starfish ( Acanthaster planci ) on a reef in the Marianas Islands. An “outbreak” of these coral-eating starfish can decimate a reef, and they have done great damage on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.Read more
Feb 3, 2014
Credit:

Seabird McKeon

Relatively slow moving, juvenile plane-head filefish Monacanthus hispidus (Monacanthidae) travel along with the algae. They pick off and eat small animals as they move around in the rotating sargassum ball. Adult filefish only grow to be about 11 inches long. Off the coast of Belize, Smithsonian Marine Science Network postdoctoral fellow, Seabird McKeon, studies floating seaweeds and the...Read more
Jan 31, 2014
Credit:

© Brian Skerry, www.brianskerry.com

A male great hammerhead shark swims in the Bahamas at sunset in this image captured by National Geographic photojournalist Brian Skerry. For nearly 30 years, Skerry has been swimming with and photographing sharks, including great whites, tigers, bulls, blacktips, and great hammerheads all over the world. In his first blog post for the Smithsonian Ocean Portal, " Swimming with Sharks ," Skerry...Read more
Jan 30, 2014
Credit:

Lori Morris, St. Johns River Water Management District

Johnson's seagrass is the lone ocean plant species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Its flowing green stalks play an important role in coastal ecosystems where they act as nursery grounds for small larval fish and are chomped on by the also endangered West Indian manatee and green sea turtle. See more endangered ocean species in our slideshow .Read more
Jan 29, 2014
Credit:

Mary Elizabeth Miller, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

A “pink meanie” jellyfish ( Drymonema larsoni )—a species found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean—feeds on a moon jelly ( Aurelia ). Dr. Keith Bayha from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Dr. Michael Dawson from the University of California, Merced recently discovered that the pink meanie represents not only a new species, but an entirely new family of jellyfish. Learn more about jellyfish...Read more

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