Today's Catch

Nov 8, 2013
Credit:

Klaus Jost, www.jostimages.com

Scientists have been studying why populations of crown-of-thorns sea stars ( Acanthaster planci ) have mushroomed in recent decades. Coral reefs can suffer when the sea star's numbers explode because the echinoderm has a healthy appetite and few predators. And they are part of the reason why Australia's Great Barrier Reef is in decline .Read more
Nov 7, 2013
Seagrasses growing on the seafloor of the Chesapeake Bay rely on light to grow—but, thanks to pollution, that sunlight has become more scarce. Nutrient runoff from fertilizers causes microscopic algae (phytoplankton) to grow rapidly at the surface and, when the algae bloom in large enough numbers, the collection of tiny particles can actually block sunlight from reaching the seafloor. And this is...Read more
Nov 6, 2013
Credit:

Tony Brown, Flickr

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 ages. Young emperor angelfish have such a different color scheme than the adults that they are easily mistaken for a different species. They also act differently: young fish may also take up a job as a...Read more
Nov 4, 2013
Credit:

Ross Robertson

A candy basslet ( Liopropoma carmabi ) was just one of the specimens Smithsonian scientists collected from the deep reefs of Curaçao , in the southern Caribbean. To study biodiversity far below the water's surface, the researchers use a five-person submersible. Learn more about the scientists' research on the Ocean Portal's Summer in Sub Blog .Read more
Oct 31, 2013
Credit:

© David Shale

This lizardfish ( Bathysaurus ferox ) rests on the ocean bottom with its head slightly elevated—waiting to snatch prey with its large mouth and sharp teeth. It lives at depths of 600-3,500 meters (1,969-11,483 feet) and grows up to 64 centimeters (25.2 inches) long. More about deep ocean exploration can be found in the Deep Ocean Exploration section .Read more
Oct 28, 2013
Credit:

© 2010 Moorea Biocode

Syllid fireworms are a part of the Syllidae family , which is a type of polychaete worm. Usually these small worms, not getting much bigger than 13 cm, live on the ocean floor. But when the worms mate, they move from their home on the sea bottom to the surface of the water and swim around in small circles. The females use bioluminescence to attract the males during this ritual that occurs around...Read more
Oct 25, 2013
Credit:

NIWA, New Zealand/CenSeam, Census of Marine Life

A huge colony of brittlestars (likely Ophiacantha rosea ) covers the peak of a seamount in the deep ocean. What’s the attraction? Food! Their arms reach out for tiny food particles carried by the swift Antarctic Circumpolar Current. More about the deep ocean can be found in the Deep Ocean Exploration section .Read more
Oct 24, 2013
Credit:

R. Hopcroft, UAF, Hidden Ocean 2005 NOAA.

This copepod Calanus hyperboreus (up to 7mm in length) lives in the Arctic , usually within 500 meters of the surface. To survive the cold Arctic winters, Calanus hyperboreus builds up dense fat (lipid) supplies on its body, which makes it a preferred food of both ctenophores and bowhead whales.Read more
Oct 23, 2013
Credit:

Jeffrey de Guzman/Nature’s Best Photography

The veined octopus ( Amphioctopus marginatus ), also known as the coconut octopus, has a skill beyond other cephalopods: it hides under animal and coconut shells, dragging them along the seafloor for protection. This is one of the few examples—if not the only example—of tool use in invertebrates. Here, the octopus sits inside a vacant bivalve shell. “This octopus displays tool-using behavior as...Read more
Oct 21, 2013
Credit:

© Brian Skerry, www.brianskerry.com

Two California market squids ( Loligo opalescens ) mate in the waters off of California's Channel Islands. While spawning, the male's arms blush red as he embraces the female, a warning to other competing males to back-off. Find out how and why squids and other cephalopods change color .Read more

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