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The Ocean Blog

Scientists journey to the isolated island of Moorea on a quest to catalog every life form big enough to pick up with tweezers—from mountaintop to seafloor. Get up close and personal with researchers...
The Eastern cleaner-clingfish ( Cochleoceps orientalis ) has its job title in its name: “cleaner.” They prove invaluable to larger fish by removing parasites to keep the larger fish clean and healthy...
The island of Moorea is a natural laboratory for scientists on a quest to catalog every life form big enough to pick up with tweezers. Head out into the field and watch as researchers use cutting-...
Two large coral trout ( Plectropomus leopardus ) swim through a coral reef on Taveuni Island in Fiji. Coral trout are highly desired fish for human consumption, and because of overfishing, are...
This slug caterpillar ( Acharia horrida ) turns into a very plain brown moth with stinging spines that are very nasty to rub up against. Although the slug caterpillar family occurs worldwide, this...
A scuba diver explores elkhorn corals ( Acropora palmata ) growing on a tropical reef. Coral reefs provide recreation and inspiration for millions of people every year. Elkhorn coral is listed as...
The festive Christmas tree worm ( Spirobranchus giganteus ) lives on tropical coral reefs and resembles a fluffy fir tree adorned with ornaments. The multi-functional branch-like appendages are used...
This guineafowl moray ( Gymnothorax meleagris ) is one of about 200 species of moray eels found in tropical and subtropical coral reefs . Moray eels are a type of bony fish. Many species, like this...
We began this journey three months ago, a team of scientists and filmmakers traveling the East African coastline by boat to document and research the status of coral reefs from South Africa to Kenya...
Smithsonian research assistant Anne Chamberlain and Marc Frischer from Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah, Georgia, stride through thick mud covered by algal mats in a mangrove pond at...
Watch a recorded webcast about the latest efforts in Greece to study and save the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal. Centuries of human exploitation and habitat destruction have caused...
Shallow water coral reefs straddle the equator worldwide. The shallow coral reefs found in U.S. territorial waters are highlighted in purple in this map. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found...
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...
Around 100 million years ago, grass from land adapted to live and reproduce while submerged in seawater—the modern-day seagrasses. This sea invasion by land plants happened four separate times,...
Sea stars are important members of marine ecosystems, especially in the tropics. We may think of tropical coral reefs as being home mainly to fish and corals, but in fact these habitats are home to a...
The rich colors of emperor angelfish make them a vibrant version of royalty. They are curious fish that will come and greet their human visitors. However this unique coloring is not shared with all...
The feathery strands at the back of this nudibranch’s ( Chromodoris willani ) body are no mere adornment: they’re its gills! Nudibranchs, shell-less snails or sea slugs, are named for these tufted...
It's a pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus bargibanti ), found in Indonesia's biodiverse Coral Triangle and one of the smallest seahorse species in the world! They can change colors like a chameleon to...
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