Today's Catch

Feb 4, 2014
Credit:

David Burdick/NOAA Photo Library

A crown-of-thorns starfish ( Acanthaster planci ) on a reef in the Marianas Islands. An “outbreak” of these coral-eating starfish can decimate a reef, and they have done great damage on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.Read more
Feb 3, 2014
Credit:

Seabird McKeon

Relatively slow moving, juvenile plane-head filefish Monacanthus hispidus (Monacanthidae) travel along with the algae. They pick off and eat small animals as they move around in the rotating sargassum ball. Adult filefish only grow to be about 11 inches long. Off the coast of Belize, Smithsonian Marine Science Network postdoctoral fellow, Seabird McKeon, studies floating seaweeds and the...Read more
Jan 31, 2014
Credit:

© Brian Skerry, www.brianskerry.com

A male great hammerhead shark swims in the Bahamas at sunset in this image captured by National Geographic photojournalist Brian Skerry. For nearly 30 years, Skerry has been swimming with and photographing sharks, including great whites, tigers, bulls, blacktips, and great hammerheads all over the world. In his first blog post for the Smithsonian Ocean Portal, " Swimming with Sharks ," Skerry...Read more
Jan 30, 2014
Credit:

Lori Morris, St. Johns River Water Management District

Johnson's seagrass is the lone ocean plant species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Its flowing green stalks play an important role in coastal ecosystems where they act as nursery grounds for small larval fish and are chomped on by the also endangered West Indian manatee and green sea turtle. See more endangered ocean species in our slideshow .Read more
Jan 29, 2014
Credit:

Mary Elizabeth Miller, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

A “pink meanie” jellyfish ( Drymonema larsoni )—a species found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean—feeds on a moon jelly ( Aurelia ). Dr. Keith Bayha from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Dr. Michael Dawson from the University of California, Merced recently discovered that the pink meanie represents not only a new species, but an entirely new family of jellyfish. Learn more about jellyfish...Read more
Jan 28, 2014
Credit:

© David Shale

This aptly named fish ( Anoplogaster cornuta ) has long, menacing fangs, but the adult fish is small, reaching only about 6 inches (17 cm) in length. It's teeth are the largest in the ocean in proportion to body size, and are so long that the fangtooth has an adaptation so that it can close its mouth! Special pouches on the roof of its mouth prevent the teeth from piercing the fish's brain when...Read more
Jan 27, 2014
Credit:

Maggie D. Johnson, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Unlike the green, leafy algae we're used to seeing on the seafloor, coralline algae has a hard crust—which you can see here at the molecular level in a photo from a scanning electron microscope. Each coralline algae cell builds a limestone wall around itself, creating a honeycomb-like structure. As layer upon layer of algae grow over one another, they form an ever-thicker crust that acts as a...Read more
Jan 24, 2014
Credit:

Eliott Norse, Marine Conservation Biology Institute/Marine Photobank

Bycatch, or accidentally caught species, can make up a very high percentage of the haul in shrimp trawl nets. However, some of these “trash” species are now being used, rather than discarded, and new technologies can reduce the catch of non-target species. Learn more in our featured story about Sustainable Seafood .Read more
Jan 23, 2014
Credit:

Amanda Feuerstein

Is it lights out for corals once they have experienced a bleaching event? Not necessarily. This photo shows a coral reef near Bocas del Toro, Panama that is in the process of recovering from a mass bleaching event that occurred in the summer of 2010. The tops contain some bleaching, but the sides look healthy. Warm waters had caused the corals to lose their zooxanthellae, the single-celled algae...Read more
Jan 22, 2014
Credit:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In the 1940s the short-tailed albatross population plummeted from tens of millions to such a small number that they were believed to be extinct. Their decline was due to hunting for their feathers and damage to their breeding islands from volcanic activity. Keeping track of these migratory birds can be difficult. They nest and breed on islands off of Japan and then fly to the west coast of the...Read more

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