Today's Catch

Sep 21, 2011
Credit:

Flickr User Mouser NerdBot

There are different types of beaches and multiple factors that influence the formation of sand. Many beaches may look alike, but they are actually very different from each other. Wave patterns, geology, and other factors shape the composition, size, texture, and color of sand. Grains can be big or small, rough or smooth, glittery or dull, and made of light shells or dark minerals. The sand...Read more
Sep 20, 2011
Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

Earth’s first animals had soft bodies. This illustration shows a community of soft-bodied Ediacaran (edi-A-karan) animals. Some species resemble living ocean creatures. Others are unlike any known organisms and cannot be classified. Scientists have found fossils of these fauna in sedimentary rocks worldwide. Explore the ancient ocean in an image gallery or in our Ocean Over Time interactive .Read more
Sep 16, 2011
Credit:

Flickr User Fabi Fliervoet

More than ever, the fate of the ocean is in our hands. To be good stewards and leave a thriving ocean for future generations, we need to make changes big and small wherever we are. To make a positive difference, here are five simple things you can do in 10 minutes or less to help protect the ocean—wherever you are. The trash we "throw away" doesn't disappear. Plastic bags, disposable food...Read more
Sep 15, 2011
The US Fish Commission Steamer Albatross (1882-1921) sailed approximately one million miles, in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and collected millions of organisms. The Albatross had a special and vital link with Smithsonian science, for the vessel was the brainchild of Spencer Baird, second Secretary of the Smithsonian. At least 10 prominent Smithsonian scientists – including Bartsch, Bean,...Read more
Sep 8, 2011
Credit:

National Snow and Ice Data Center

This graph of the Arctic sea ice coverage shows how close the year 2011 is to reaching a record-low . The graph contains data through September 7, 2011. The National Snow and Ice Data Center , which produced the graph, says we should know within a couple weeks if the ice extent drops below the previous record which was set in 2007.Read more
Sep 8, 2011
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NASA/NOAA GOES Project

This image shows four tropical storm systems in the Atlantic Ocean basin on September 8, 2011. In this arresting image you can see Maria, Katia, Nate, and Lee--all four storm systems--in one NOAA satellite image. NASA provided information and data for each of these tropical storms on their Hurricanes and Tropical Cyclones website, a site designed to report the latest storm images and data from...Read more
Sep 1, 2011
If you want to study invasive species in the ocean, the Panama Canal offers a lot to explore. The ships passing through can inadvertently transport plants, animals, and even parasites from the Atlantic into the Pacific, or the reverse direction. Some species stow away in ballast tanks , others cling to ship hulls . In this video Mark Torchin, a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research...Read more
Aug 24, 2011
On August 23, 2011 a 5.8 earthquake emanated from the little-known Central Virginia Seismic Zone. The epicenter was near Mineral, VA, but the tremor shook homes, schools, and office buildings in Washington, DC, including Smithsonian Institution buildings, and beyond. In this brief video, Smithsonian educator Catherine Sutera uses a Slinky® to demonstrate two types of seismic waves that people in...Read more
Jul 27, 2011
Credit:

J. Murray Roberts

Deep-sea corals scientist Dr. J. Murray Roberts photographed these living polyps from the Mingulay Reef Complex off Scotland in aquaria in 2010. Learn more about Roberts' work mapping deep-sea corals and explore more about deep-sea corals in the Ocean Portal multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."Read more
Jul 26, 2011
Credit:

© 2004 Smithsonian Institution

Macroscopic algae ( Ventricaria ventricosa ), also known as "bubble algae" or "sea pearl," is widespread algal species that can withstand low light. Each of the bubbles is a single cell, making it one of the largest single-celled organisms known, reaching up to 5 centimeters in diameter. They are often found in mangrove forests , growing on the mangrove roots, and some people consider it a pest.Read more

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