Today's Catch

Offshore Peru, during the Eocene (~56-34 million years ago), showing two archaeocetes (ancient whales): Ocucajea picklingi and Supayacetus muizon.

Eocene Whales and Penguins Off the Coast of Peru

Offshore Peru, during the Eocene (~56-34 million years ago), showing three archaeocetes (ancient whales), along with a previously described fossil penguin. Top to bottom: Perudyptes devriesi , unnamed protocetid, Ocucajea picklingi , and Supayacetus...
Like a cake, the ocean has different layers—each with its own characteristics.

Ocean Layers

Like a cake, the ocean has different layers—each with its own characteristics. (No icing, though.) The surface layer receives the most sunlight, allowing photosynthetic organisms like phytoplankton to convert sunlight to energy. The twilight zone...
A brightly colored parrotfish swims over a field of seagrass.

Parrots of the Sea

Parrotfish like this ‘rainbow parrotfish” ( Scarus guacamaia ) play a critical ecological role in coral reef ecosystems. Herbivores, parrotfish feed on macroalgae that can otherwise smother corals directly or reduce coral growth and fish survival....
A white crab hides among coral polyps of the same color.

White Xenia Crab from Indonesia

“Lembeh Strait is a fantastic place to find species that have evolved to resemble other animals or plants to survive. Because of the lens I was using, I had to get really close to this crab. As I moved in, it retreated into the xenia coral polyps....

The Trouvadore: A Story of Deliverance

Join marine archeologists as they trace the history of the Trouvadore , a slave ship bound for Cuba that wrecked in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1841, and the ship’s passengers unusual path to freedom.
The giant squid’s enormous eyes help it find prey in the dark ocean depths.

Largest Eye in the World, Giant Squid

Giant squid have the largest eye in the animal kingdom. At up to 10 inches in diameter, people often describe it as the size of a dinner plate -- or, in other words, as big as a human head. Here, National Museum of Natural History staffer Katie...
A red deep-sea fish specimen.

A Fish that Looks Like a Whale

This deep sea creature, the whalefish ( Cetomimidae ), has a whale-like body, a gaping mouth, no fins or scales and a deep lateral line, which detects vibrations in the water. The first specimens were discovered by two Smithsonian scientists in fish...

Fishing with Dynamite

Blast fishing, when dynamite or other explosives are used to stun or kill fish, is a practice used in many villages and isolated regions of the world. Hundreds of fish can be seen strewn across the reef, left as bycatch, such as these tropical fish...

Investigating Nutrient Pollution's Impact on Mangroves

At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the effect of excess nutrients on mangrove swamps. Feller runs the Animal-Plant Interaction Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. See a photo of a tree-climbing...
West Indian Manatee

West Indian Manatee Portrait

West Indian Manatees, Trichechus manatus , are found in warm, shallow coastal ecosystems along the southeastern North America and northeastern South America. They graze plants in mangrove ecosystems and seagrass beds , occasionally eating small fish...

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