Today's Catch

Sep 11, 2015

Stephen Sharnoff

Horizontal bands (or zones) of color represent different species of lichen that have adapted to the conditions at different heights above sea level. Lichens near the top of a rocky shoreline (here a white color) do not get very wet, but do occasionally get sprayed with salt and bird droppings. Lichens just above the level of high tide get consistently sprayed with water but are completely...Read more
Sep 10, 2015

Tony Brown, Flickr

In November 2012, Australia began protecting a huge swath of its ocean from overfishing and oil exploration, creating the largest network of marine reserves in the world at a grand total of 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million square kilometers). The area, a third of the continent’s territorial waters, includes an underwater canyon as large as the U.S. Grand Canyon, seagrass meadows, and the...Read more
Sep 9, 2015
Nancy Knowlton speaking about the "Future of the Ocean" Credit:
Nancy Knowlton, the Sant Chair of Marine Science at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, asks "What is the likely future of our ancestral home?" The answer depend on what humans do now and in the future, she says. Dr. Knowlton chronicles two possible futures of coral reefs by comparing an unhealthy reef to a healthy, resilient one and explores a success story in the increasing...Read more
Sep 8, 2015

© David Shale

This tiny, shrimplike creature is no more than 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) long, but it’s as ferocious as a shark. Its giant eyes spot prey. Huge claws grab the prey, and a tiny mouth rips it to shreds. The prey never sees what’s coming, because Phronima’s transparent body blends into the surrounding water. More about deep ocean exploration can be found in the Deep Ocean Exploration section .Read more
Sep 4, 2015


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
Sep 3, 2015

© Annie Crawley

This hatchetfish was photographed moments after being pulled from the deep sea in the trawling net. These small, silvery fish have large eyes to collect any sunlight that reaches the deep sea. Even in the deep, they are not immune to human impacts; the researchers found many hatchetfish with plastic in their stomachs. Read more about an expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.Read more
Sep 2, 2015
Most lobsters are a mottled brown color, but sometimes you can see a strange orange or blue lobster. And then, when lobsters are cooked, they turn bright red. Why is there such a rainbow of lobster colors? As explained in this video from the American Chemical Society, lobsters eat a red pigment in their plant food called astanxanthin, which helps protect them against stress. This pigment is...Read more
Sep 1, 2015

Indah Susanti

"While Komodo Island, Indonesia is famous for its giant prehistoric lizard, its underwater also holds unique marine species to treasure. The orangutan crab is one of them. With its maximum size of two centimeters, it felt like searching for a needle in a haystack just to find him," wrote Indah Susanti of her image , a winning selection in the Portraits of Planet Ocean Flickr contest . Orangutan...Read more
Aug 31, 2015

Flickr User Critidoc

This bait ball shows how small fish can react when larger predators are near by gathering tightly together in a ball-like formation that exposes the least number of fish. Fish species found in the open ocean are especially in need of some protection, as they don't have the cracks and crevices that fish in coastal or coral reef habitats have to hide away. Instead, they hide behind one another to...Read more
Aug 28, 2015

© David Liittschwager/National Geographic

Photographer David Liittschwager took a 12-inch metal frame to Moorea, French Polynesia, and four other disparate environments to see how much life he could find in one cubic foot. Read more about the project and ocean biodiversity .Read more