Hannah Waters

One of Hannah Waters's earliest memories is digging up sand crabs on a Delaware beach, and she hasn't stopped digging the ocean. Formerly a writer, editor and producer for the Ocean Portal at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, she is currently an associate web editor at Audubon.org. She studied Biology and Latin Minnesota’s Carleton College, sneaking off to the coasts in the summertime to study seabird colonies, conserve endangered piping plovers, and help lobstermen with their traps. She loves cephalopods, imagining plankton as larger-than-life monsters, and weird adaptations.

Counting Mountains of Oysters

A longshoreman stands in front of a large pile of oyster shells on waterfront pier in Atlantic City in 1910. Back then, oysters were incredibly abundant. In the late 1800s, fishermen pulled in 10 million bushels of oysters...

Sea Stars and Urchins off Antarctica

Sea stars ( Odontaster validus ) and sea urchins ( Sterechinus neumayeri ) spread over an algae-covered seafloor off the coast of Antarctica. These two species are often found living in association with one another, and they...

Coral at the Great Barrier Reef

This colorful coral lives in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. On the whole, this coral reef is the largest single structure built by living organisms and can be seen from space! Although more than one-third of the reef is...

Where did Half of the Great Barrier Reef's Coral Go?

In the past 30 years, the Great Barrier Reef -- Australia's iconic natural wonder -- has lost half of its coral to a combination of forces. Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair of Marine Science at the Smithsonian Natural Museum...

Solitary Deep-water Corals

These corals from the Smithsonian collections are Stephanocyathus (A.) spiniger , a solitary, deep-water stony coral species. Around 74% of all deep-water corals are solitary, living as individual organisms instead of...

Humboldt Squid Shoots Ink

A humboldt squid ( Dosidicus gigas )—also known as the jumbo squid—releases a cloud of ink at night in Mexico's Sea of Cortez. These large, carnivorous squids can reach more than 5 feet in length and travel in shoals of 1,...

From Sea Sponge to HIV Medicine

Tectitethya crypta (formerly known as Cryptotheca crypta ) is a large, shallow-water sponge found in the Caribbean. It was first studied for medical purposes in the 1950s when few scientists or doctors thought to look for...

A Bryozoan's Medical Endosymbiont

The spiral-tufted bryozoan ( Bugula neritina ) is being studied for a potential Alzheimer's disease and cancer drug—but it's not the bryozoan that makes the chemical. The chemical, found in the bryozoan's tissues, is...

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