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.

Research Diver Collecting Data

A scientific diver collects data on an underwater slate. Over the past several decades, scuba diving has become a serious, rigorous research tool that has an enormous impact on our understanding of this blue planet.

More Than a Century of Smithsonian Marine Science

Models of a giant squid and an octopus hang over display cases in the "Lower Invertebrates" exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution Building ("the Castle") in 1901. The Smithsonian has been conducting marine science and...

Larval Starfish

A tiny larval (baby) starfish. The immature forms of invertebrates and other animals may be even more vulnerable to threats such as oil spills than adult forms.

Citizens of the Sea

Order a copy of the book, Citizens of the Sea . Credit: National Geographic The incredible variety of marine life—in numbers, body form, behavior, and more—is at the heart of Citizens of the Sea , an irresistible plunge into...

Pirates Ply the Ocean

Today you can just hop on a plane and be on another continent within a day's time. But a century ago the only way to get from one continent to another was by sea--and the journey took months or even years. Pirate Captain...

Young Visitors to the Sant Ocean Hall

Two young visitors to the Sant Ocean Hall learn about the coral reef tank with one of our friendly volunteer docents. Both the Ocean Portal and the Museum's free public programs are made possible in part by contributions...

The Spin on Sharks

A scalloped hammerhead shark at Isla del Coco, Costa Rica. Credit: © Terry Goss 2008/Marine Photobank Starting this Sunday, August 1st, the fins will be circling on a television near you. Sunday kicks off The Discovery...

Carnival of the Blue Logo

Logo for the Carnival of the Blue, a rotating monthly compilation of the "best of" ocean blogging.

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Forms

Crocheted corals from the Smithsonian Community Reef group on Flickr. The community reef project is a satellite reef of the Institute For Figuring’s Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibition, was on display in Sant Ocean Hall...

Oil’s Impact on Marine Invertebrates

In the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, what is the effect of oil on invertebrates like jellyfish, clams, crabs, sea stars, and plankton? The scope of the damage is more easily observed among birds and large animals, but Dr...

Venomous Box Jellyfish from South Carolina

This venomous box jelly ( Chiropsalmus quadrumanus ) was collected off the coast of South Carolina. The specimen now resides in the Smithsonian’s marine collection . Its venomous sting can be lethal, especially to small...

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