Smithsonian Institution

The Ocean is important to all life, including yours. Join us. Welcome to the Ocean Portal – a unique, interactive online experience that inspires awareness, understanding, and stewardship of the world’s Ocean, developed by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and more than 20 collaborating organizations. You are among the first wave of visitors to the Portal, an experience which we hope will empower you to shape and share your personal Ocean experiences, knowledge, and perspectives. The input you provide through feedback modules and comment boxes will help us to shape future Ocean Portal content and functionality. Like the Ocean, which is made of millions of marine species, your comments, questions, and clicks will help to bring the Portal closer to the vastness and variety of the Ocean itself.

Net Results

Students will study and replicate a model of the factors affecting fisheries populations in the Chesapeake Bay (or any other bay). Through a game they will investigate how decisions by watermen, recreational fisherpeople,...

The “Right” Whale to Hunt

Yankee Whalers: An 1856 Currier & Ives print shows whalers harpooning a right whale. More about whales can be found in our Tale of a Whale photo essay .

Fishing for the Future

Through a fishing simulation, students model several consecutive seasons of a commercial fishery and explore how technology, population growth, and sustainable practices impact fish catch and fisheries management.

Whale Products in Fashion

In the 19th century, "whalebone" was an important fashion tool—however, it wasn't made out of bone, but whale baleen . Dried baleen was flexible yet strong, and used to create structure in clothing, such as tight corsets,...

How to Catch a Fish

After an introduction to the variety of current fishing methods, students learn through an activity about the problem of bycatch and then design a poster or PSA to educate others about the issue.

Phoenix near Maine

This photograph was snapped as Phoenix swam in the Gulf of Maine in July 2008. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a Whale featured story .

Baleen in Action

The fringed baleen plates are easy to observe as this North Atlantic right whale skims the water’s surface while it feeds. Many baleen whales suck in as much water was possible, and then push it out through their baleen to...

Basque Whalers

Close-up of a 17th century painting shows how whales were brought ashore for processing and their blubber rendered into marketable oil. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a Whale photo essay .

How Whales Become Entangled

This illustration shows how fishing lines attached to traps and buoys on the ocean floor present a potentially deadly hazard to North Atlantic right whales. Freeing entangled whales involves a certain amount of knowledge and...

Preparing to Hoist the Right Whale Model

Workers prepare to hoist the model of Phoenix, a model of an actual North Atlantic right whale, into position above the exhibit hall floor in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Learn the...

Model of Phoenix

A life-size, meticulously detailed model of the North Atlantic right whale Phoenix hangs in the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC. More about Phoenix can be found in the...

Work Site for Building the Model of Phoenix

Scaffolding and supports at the work site hold a life-size model of a North Atlantic right whale Phoenix—the “ambassador” of the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC. Learn...

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