Smithsonian Institution

Welcome to the Ocean Portal. We focus on everything ocean – unusual and everyday organisms, ocean-inspired art, researchers devoting their lives to exploring the still mostly mysterious ecosystem. We here at the Ocean Portal learn something new everyday and we want to share it with you! 

The Ocean Portal is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Ocean Initiative. Together with the National Museum of Natural History’s Sant Ocean Hall and the Sant Marine Science Chair, the Ocean Portal supports the Smithsonian’s mission to increase the public’s understanding and stewardship of the Ocean.

Learning Ocean Science Through Ocean Exploration

A curriculum for teachers of Grades 6-12 that takes lesson plans that were developed for NOAA Voyages of Discovery and the Ocean Explorer Web Site and presents them in a comprehensive scope and sequence through subject area...

Teaching Physical Science Through Oceanography

This supplement was developed for university level students, but can be adapted for middle and high school students. This supplement to Oceanography Magazine focuses on educational approaches to help engage students in...

Mapping the Ocean Floor

After an introduction in which students try to identify hidden objects by the sounds they make when shaken in a box, students use string to map a model ocean floor by taking depth readings to simulate sonar.

Emperor Penguins

Recent Antarctic expeditions have documented climate-induced changes to emperor penguin habitats and impacts on how the penguins feed, breed, and raise their young.

Saving Venice, Italy

To protect Venice from rising seas, Dimitri Deheyn (Scripps Institution/UC San Diego Sediment Research Group) studied the environmental impact of dredging sediment from the waterways. Managers worldwide can apply the...

Antarctic Salps

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...

Ocean “Pingos”

Geologist Charles Paull (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) investigates geologic features similar to pingos (Earth covered ice mounds found in the Arctic) on the Arctic Ocean floor where methane—a powerful greenhouse...

Collaborator Research

Recent Antarctic expeditions, underwater volcano monitoring, studies of little-known transparent creatures, and other recent scientific research is being conducted by Ocean Portal Collaborators.