Today's Catch

Jun 3, 2014
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Many species of pink coralline algae cover a reef surface in the Southern Line Islands. Often unnoticed, these pink algae crusts help to cement coral reefs together, providing extra support and habitat for animals that live on reefs. Unhealthy coral reefs are often home to fast-growing seaweeds that cover and smother the slow-growing coralline algae. In the Southern Line Islands, however, the...Read more
Jun 2, 2014
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The twin-spot snapper ( Lutjanus bohar ) is one of the more curious predators in the central Pacific, says marine ecologist Stuart Sandin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "It poses commonly for the camera but is also immediately on-hand whenever there is an opportunity to eat." These fish (also called bohars) are top predators on the reef, eating a variety of fishes, shrimps, crabs,...Read more
May 30, 2014
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Chuck Savall

Corals are sedentery animals, so how do they reproduce? One way is sexually through spawning , when the corals release eggs and sperm into the water (often at the same time due to some sort of trigger). External sexual reproduction occurs when colonies of coral release huge numbers of eggs and sperm that are often glued into bundles (one bundle per polyp) that float towards the surface. In this...Read more
May 29, 2014
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Seals and sea lions have many similarities, and are in the same family of Pinnipeds, but they lead very different lives. Seals are smaller than sea lions; male Stellar sea lions can grow to be up to 2,200 pounds. Seals also are suited to spend more time in the water than sea lions, which can "walk" on shore with their large flippers and spend time in large social groups. Another give-away is that...Read more
May 28, 2014
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These beautiful mandarinfish ( Synchiropus splendidus ) are covered in bright blue, red, yellow and orange waves. What they lack, however, are traditional fish scales. They live in western Pacific tropical coral reef ecosystems and instead of your typical fish scales they are covered in a smelly, thick mucus coating. It's possible that this mucus, which not only smells—but tastes—bad, is used as...Read more
May 27, 2014
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When you think of African animals, what do you think of? Probably the “Big Five:” lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos. But Africa also has an incredible amount of marine diversity in the coral reefs and open water surrounding the continent. Consider the ocean’s “Big Five” —whale sharks, giant manta rays, humpback whales, dolphins, tiger sharks—in this blog post from a researcher...Read more
May 23, 2014
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Steve Turek

A diet of algae and seagrasses gives this turtle ( Chelonia mydas ) greenish colored fat—and its name. Weighing as much as 500 pounds, the threatened green sea turtle lives its life at sea, with only females coming to shore to lay eggs. See a slideshow with more pictures of beautiful but threatened animals , and meet the seven species of sea turtle .Read more
May 22, 2014
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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
May 21, 2014
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Comb jellies (such as this Bolinopsis species) are named for their combs: the rows of cilia lining their bodies that propel them through the ocean. Read more about jellyfish and comb jellies .Read more
May 20, 2014
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"Wild manatees in Belize are not used to humans. Living miles offshore in mangroves, they remain shy and elusive. After weeks searching and waiting for an opportunity to photograph them, I was rewarded with an especially tolerant mother and calf. I approached quietly, watching the mother create billowing clouds of silt as she fed on seagrass. I positioned myself so the light was perfect and...Read more

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