Today's Catch

Jan 27, 2014
Credit:

Maggie D. Johnson, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Unlike the green, leafy algae we're used to seeing on the seafloor, coralline algae has a hard crust—which you can see here at the molecular level in a photo from a scanning electron microscope. Each coralline algae cell builds a limestone wall around itself, creating a honeycomb-like structure. As layer upon layer of algae grow over one another, they form an ever-thicker crust that acts as a...Read more
Jan 24, 2014
Credit:

Eliott Norse, Marine Conservation Biology Institute/Marine Photobank

Bycatch, or accidentally caught species, can make up a very high percentage of the haul in shrimp trawl nets. However, some of these “trash” species are now being used, rather than discarded, and new technologies can reduce the catch of non-target species. Learn more in our featured story about Sustainable Seafood .Read more
Jan 23, 2014
Credit:

Amanda Feuerstein

A coral reef near Bocas del Toro, Panama recovers from a mass bleaching event that occurred in the summer of 2010. The tops contain some bleaching, but the sides look healthy. Smithsonian marine biologist Dr. Nancy Knowlton chronicled both the coral's bleaching and its recovery on the Ocean Portal blog.Read more
Jan 22, 2014
Credit:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In the 1940s the short-tailed albatross population plummeted from tens of millions to such a small number that they were believed to be extinct. Their decline was due to hunting for their feathers and damage to their breeding islands from volcanic activity. Keeping track of these migratory birds can be difficult. They nest and breed on islands off of Japan and then fly to the west coast of the...Read more
Jan 21, 2014
Credit:

I. MacDonald (in Gulf of Mexico–Origins, Waters, and Biota. Vol. 1. Biodiversity. Felder, D. L. and Camp, D. K. (eds.) 2009. Texas A&M Press.)

This brilliant red octopus ( Benthoctopus sp. ) was photographed at more than 8,800 feet (about 2,700 meters) in Alaminos Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico. See more photos of wild creatures encountered during the Census of Marine Life .Read more
Jan 17, 2014
Credit:

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

The Island Leaf-Toed Gecko ( Phyllodactylus insularis ) is one of several species of geckos that live in the mangroves of the Caribbean’s Mangal Cay. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves overview .Read more
Jan 16, 2014
Credit:

Albert Kok

Staghorn (seen here) and elkhorn corals are listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. They are the only coral species currently listed, but 66 other coral species have been proposed for listing and are under review. Both staghorn and elkhorn coral are found in Caribbean waters and generally do most of their reproduction when bits of their branches break off and reattach somewhere...Read more
Jan 15, 2014
Credit:

© David Shale

This rarely-seen smalleyed rabbitfish ( Hydrolagus affinis ), belonging to the order of Chimaera, was caught during a research trip to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in 2004 sponsored by the Census of Marine Life . In Greek mythology, chimeras were beasts that were part lion, part snake and part goat, although deep sea Chimaeras are not a combination of animals. Rather, they are related to sharks, but...Read more
Jan 14, 2014
Credit:

Flickr User AJC1

In the ocean, microscopic forms of algae, known as dinoflagellates , can "bloom" into dense patches near the surface, often referred to as "red tides." Some of these harmful algal blooms (HABs) are dangerous, producing toxins that can kill marine organisms, taint shellfish, cause skin irritations, and even foul the air. They seem to be increasing in size, intensity, and persistence—possibly due...Read more
Jan 13, 2014
Credit:

John Klausmeyer/University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

This early whale was well suited to life at sea. But it also lived on land. An ancestor of the right whale , Maiacetus lived 49-40 million years ago. It had flipper-like limbs and webbed feet, like modern seals. But it also had ankle bones - clues that although Maiacetus swam, its ancestors walked. As later whales evolved to become more aquatic, the telltale anklebone disappeared. Find more about...Read more

Pages