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You’re out to sea on a 355 foot platform, and suddenly one end begins to slowly tip underwater. Should there be a call for evacuation? Are you sinking? Not if you’re on FLIP –...
By Emily Frost Throw a message in a bottle into the vast ocean and where does...
Algae, like all organisms, normally grow in balance with their ecosystems,...
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How do we know where ocean animals swim day and night? Scientists are getting...

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The sea's largest fish has been a mystery until recent decades. Thanks to electronic tags, researchers are uncovering some of the secrets of the whale shark ( Rhincodon typus Smith, 1828 ). One tagged animal, dubbed "Rio Lady,"...
The spiral-tufted bryozoan ( Bugula neritina ) is being studied for a...
Researchers launch one-meter-tall plastic drifters into the Gulf of Mexico...

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New technology is making it possible for scientists to go where they’ve never gone before, the depths of the icy Arctic...

The Ocean Blog

The research submersible Alvin uses bright lights to illuminate the dark seafloor. Built in 1964, it has made more than 4,400 dives. It can carry two scientists and a pilot as deep as 4,500 meters (...
A Coral Reef Watch satellite monitors the temperature of the world’s oceans. When ocean waters get too hot, corals release the microscopic algae that provide them with color and, more importantly,...
The ocean is so big that it can be easy to forget the microscopic beauty of the organisms that live within. Some of this beauty is documented by the Nikon Small World photomicrography competition ,...
Part 3 of a 6-part series describing Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's efforts to understand the scope and impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "Sampling the Source"...
Scientists from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) collect sediments drilled from Earth’s crust. This marine research program supported by 24 countries is increasing our understanding of...
Deep-sea coral beds are true biodiversity hotspots. It’s urgent that we study these extreme environments because we know so little about them, because they are important communities for so many deep-...
In 2012, the long-elusive giant squid was finally filmed live in its natural habitat. The squid was found by placing glowing lures outside of a submersible to mimic jellyfish, which typically...
Brian Skerry warily stares down his photography equipment on board the vessel Nai'a on an expedition to the Phoenix Islands. Read about the patience it takes as a traveling photographer and the work...
Last week, Smithsonian research zoologists Dr. Jerry Harasewych and Dr. Martha Nizinski were in Curaçao looking for deep-sea marine gastropods and decapod crustaceans , respectively. I learned they...
When he was 10 years old, Stephen Cairns lived in Cuba where he kept a collection of butterflies and sea shells. When his family moved to Louisiana, he could bring only one of the collections with...
Dr. Clyde Roper prepares to dive thousands of feet to a giant squid habitat off the coast of New Zealand in a one-person submersible. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid...
The Pisces IV submersible sits on a saddle near Kingman Reef in Hawaii next to a gold coral ( Gerardia sp. ). The photo was taken by another Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory submersible— Pisces V...
In the late 1990's, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) invented the D-Tag —a radio device that can be attached by suction cups to a whale's back. Using a tiny underwater...
Researchers use Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) like this one to study the diversity of coral reef organisms. They leave the structures underwater for about a year. Then they retrieve...
The first underwater robotic vehicle—or “glider”—to cross an ocean is the centerpiece of a new exhibit at the Smithsonian. Rutgers University professor Scott Glenn explains that the technology is now...
This illustration shows how Scarlet Knight , the first unmanned, underwater robot or glider to cross an ocean basin, faced an entire fleet of fishing ships, equipped with nets, threatening the glider...
Woods Hole scientists operate an ROV to sample the oil spewing from the ruptured Macondo Well. After the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico,...
Using an ROV (Remotely-Operated Vehicle) equipped with a high-definition video camera, scientists can observe the life that flourishes beneath the Arctic ice . On this expedition, they discovered...
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