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Bikini Atoll, formed over millions of years around an island in the Pacific Ocean about halfway between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii, has been subjected to horrific human-caused disturbances. Between 1946 and 1958, the...
Blog entry MORE STORIES Blog entry MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
Welcome to Citizens of the Sea , a new blog series where ocean life comes to...
Slideshow MORE STORIES Slideshow MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
From parrotfish that cover themselves in a blanket of their own mucus to tiny...
Blog entry MORE STORIES Blog entry MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
Stare at a tide pool and you will often see a crust of pink coating the bottom...

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Compare the healthy coral on the left with the bleached coral on the right. Increased water temperatures caused the bleached coral to lose the microscopic algae that give the coral color and provide it with food. Corals can...
The Oculina deep-sea coral reef at top has not been disturbed by humans—but...
What are corals? Corals themselves are animals. But tropical reef-building...

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It may be the last place you’d expect to find corals—up to 6,000 m (20,000 ft) below the ocean’s surface, where the water is...
Imagine you’re an alien seeing Planet Earth for the first time. What do you see from your spacecraft? A blue planet with over 70% of its surface covered by ocean. From space it’s obvious how...
Unlike the shallow tropical coral reef pictured on the top, the deep-sea Oculina reef at bottom does not require sunlight. Learn more in the article " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."
The robotic arm of a Pisces submersible collects a gold coral colony ( Gerardia sp.) during a research cruise in the Hawaiian Islands. Ocean scientists have radiocarbon-dated some Gerardia specimens...
These beautiful mandarinfish ( Synchiropus splendidus ) are covered in bright blue, red, yellow and orange waves. What they lack, however, are traditional fish scales. They live in western Pacific...
A thicket of white stony coral ( Lophelia pertusa ) shelters a squat lobster (Eumunida picta). This is the typical shape of this widespread species of deep-sea coral. See more pictures of coral in...
In the X-ray image of this Viper Moray Eel ( Enchelynassa canina ), note the second set of jaws in the “throat”; these are the gill arches, which are present in all fish. Gill arches support the...
Part 6 of a 6-part series describing WHOI's efforts to understand the scope and impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "Assessing the Impacts" describes a range of work by...
Coral reefs are beautiful, vibrant ecosystems that house roughly one quarter of all marine species and provide billions of dollars in products and services to humans each year. But they are also...
Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic...
Species of deep-sea gold coral, or Gerardia , often have a tree-like shape, as you can see in this specimen. See more pictures of coral in our Deep-sea Corals article.
Several species of deep-sea corals form a garden 165 m (540 ft) below the ocean’s surface off the coast of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Explore more in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the...
What is coral bleaching? These white corals in the Gulf of Mexico’s Flower Garden Bank National Marine Sanctuary are bleached due to an increase in water temperatures, which causes corals to lose the...
Bacteria are everywhere in the ocean. They live in the water, on virtually every living and non-living surface, and even inside other organisms . There are 1 million bacterial cells in every...
Each month, the Naked Oceans podcast invites a leading marine researcher to pick the "critter of the month" by asking: if you were a marine organism, which one would you be? This month, Dr. Nancy...
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...
In November 2012, Australia began protecting a huge swath of its ocean from overfishing and oil exploration, creating the largest network of marine reserves in the world at a grand total of 1.2...
Red coral necklaces fill a store display window. The United States annually imports around one million live coral animals from tropical reefs for use in aquariums, and is the largest documented...
Beneath the sun shining through the Red Sea onto a hill of coral, butterfly fish ( Chaetodon lunula ), and angelfish swim together. The two fish can be confused for each other, but are distinguished...
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