Today's Catch

Mar 19, 2014
Credit:

Lawrence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Climate and sea changes in the Southern Ocean create conditions that favor the growth of salps over krill , the latter of which are a vital food source for seals, whales, and penguins. Salps are filter-feeding tunicates that float through the water column, sometimes forming long salp chains, consuming phytoplankton and using jet propulsion to move. Read about their complex life history in “ The...Read more
Mar 17, 2014
Credit:

NOAA's National Ocean Service

Giant kelp ( Macrocystis pyrifera ) is large, brown algae that grows in dense forests along coasts around the world. Long stalks anchor each plant to the seafloor, and they grow meters high like giant trees towards the surface. Kelp forest ecosystems are home to a variety of animals, including seals, sea lions, whales, sea otters, gulls, terns, snowy egrets, great blue herons, cormorants, and...Read more
Mar 14, 2014
Credit:

Flickr User Telemachus

Sharks have young in three different ways. After internal fertilization, some species lay a thick egg case that encloses the shark embryo (seen in the photo here). Most species are ovoviviparous, which means that the shark hatches and develops within the female shark and is born live. A third way (viviparous) is similar to human development, where the young shark grows within the female and gets...Read more
Mar 13, 2014
Credit:

Lexa Grutter

A parrotfish ( Chlorurus sordidus ) creates a mucus cocoon to protect it from parasites, like bloodsucking isopods , while it sleeps. Read more from the Citizens at Sea blog .Read more
Mar 12, 2014
Credit:

Nuno Sá/Nature’s Best Photography

“I slowly approached this bird resting on the back of a turtle just under the surface of the water. I got the shot just before the tern flew away.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Nuno Sá. See more beautiful ocean photos in our slideshow of winners from the 2010 Nature's Best Ocean Views photo contest.Read more
Mar 11, 2014
Credit:

HBOI

These cancer cells have been treated with discodermolide, a chemical obtained from a sponge that grows on deep-sea coral reefs. It prevents the cells from dividing and spreading. Learn more about deep-sea corals in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea " and about drugs from sea creatures in our conversation with Dr. Shirley Pomponi .Read more
Mar 10, 2014
Credit:

©2003 MBARI

Riftia tubeworm ( Riftia pachyptila ) colonies grow where hot, mineral-laden water flows out of the seafloor in undersea hot springs—such as the Guymas Basin of the Gulf of California at 2,000 meters (6562 feet), where MBARI took this photo. As volcanic activity deep below the seafloor changes, sometimes these hot springs stop flowing. In this case, the entire worm colony may die off. But new hot...Read more
Mar 6, 2014
Credit:

© Brian Skerry, www.brianskerry.com

The shortfin mako shark ( Isurus oxyrinchus) is found offshore in tropical and warm temperate waters of all oceans, but has been known to travel to cooler waters at times. It is very strong and the fastest known species of shark, reaching moving speeds of 31 mph (50 kph) with bursts up to 46 mph! These qualities make the shortfin mako a prized catch among recreational fisherman. The mako is also...Read more
Mar 5, 2014
Credit:

Stacy Jupiter

Giant clams are one of the many wonders of coral reefs. They can grow up to five feet wide, weigh over 400 pounds, and live for 100 years! They power all that bulk by filter feeding microbes and particles from the water, siphoning hundreds of gallons of water per day. Like corals, they also have a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae that live in the fleshy part...Read more
Mar 4, 2014
Credit:

David Shale/MAR-ECO, Census of Marine Life

This beautiful jewel squid ( Histioteuthis bonnellii ) can be found swimming above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, at depths of 500-2,000 meters (1,640-6,562 feet). The “jewels” covering the body are bioluminescent photophores. But these squids can't bargain for their lives with those jewels: they have been found in the stomachs of sperm whales, swordfish and sharks.Read more

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