L.K. Ward

L.K. Ward is a science writer for the Ocean Portal and a graduate of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. Prior to joining the Smithsonian team, L.K. worked as a science writer chronicling National Geographic scientific and exploratory expeditions around the world. If L.K. had to choose a favorite animal, it would be Tylosaurus - because who doesn’t love giant prehistoric ocean dinosaurs.

A Stealthy Swimmer

Aegina are narcomedusae, a type of jellyfish . These small, pulsing animals are one of the most abundant jellies at 300 meters (980 feet). Not a lot is known about the many species of Aegina —researchers doing genetic work...

Sea Butterfly

Unlike many other kinds of free-swimming sea snails , Corolla does not have a hard shell. Instead it produces a gelatinous shell—the bumpy slipper-shaped structure surrounding its body. The animal moves through the water by...

Giant Eyes

Cystisoma (a type of hyperiid crustacean ) has one huge pair of eyes. You can see the eye pictured here as the entire surface of its head and the convex orange sheet of retinal cells in the top left of the photo. Its eyes...

Midnight Hunter

Known as “viperfish”, these cryptic fish use their giant teeth to prey on other fish. They can grow to be 2 feet long (24 inches). At night, the viperfish will make its journey to shallower depths to seek out prey...

The Surprising Elegance of Midwater Sea Life

Imagine a hollow cube, measuring one foot on each side, suspended in the ocean at a depth roughly three football fields below the surface. From here, the seafloor is another 4,000 feet (or 1,200 meters) down. There is...

Mucus Home

Bathochordaeus stygius are filter feeders closely related to sea squirts in the phylum Chordata, the same phylum to which humans belong. These tadpole-shaped animals are typically 1.5 inches (4 cm) long and can spin complex...

Ocean Lemon Drop

Aegina citrea are less common at 300 meters (980 feet) than the many other species of Aegina , but their unusual bright yellow coloring and size (nearly twice that of other Aegina species) are striking. These animals are...

Ultimate Teamwork

Chuniphyes are siphonophores —colonial organisms in the same phylum as jellyfish , working together to survive. Also called “rocket ships”, these animals have rocket-shaped nectophores (the top part of the siphonophore that...

Glow Worms

Tomopteris are segmented worms that are cousins to earthworms, but belong to a separate group called polychaetes , meaning many (poly) bristles (chaetes). Despite being related to earthworms, they look completely different...

Extreme Parenting

This female hyperiid ( Phronima sedentaria ), a type of marine crustacean, is surrounded by her young inside the hollowed out barrel-shaped body cavity of a salp. The mother Phronima presumably captures and kills the salp to...

Intense Fasting

Although usually found in deeper waters, this Gnathophausia was swimming near the top of its typical range when it was captured in the biocube. The body of the animal is red, a common adaptation among deep-water animals. The...

Deep Sea Squid

This young Gonatus squid is still translucent, making it tricky for predators to spot it. As these muscular animals grow, it becomes increasingly costly to keep all that muscle transparent so change their body color from...

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