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This short video takes you two hundred miles off the coast of Oregon and some 6,600 feet below the water's surface to observe the Dumbo octopus ( Grimpoteuthis bathynectes ). Little is known about...
Not all slugs (snails without shells) are slimy brown pests found in your...
In a decade long project, which ended in October 2010, scientists with the...
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From the giant squid to microscopic squid babies, squids are beautiful and...

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In this video Smithsonian research zoologist Dr. Martha Nizinski takes viewers with her as she searches for crustaceans in the deep sea . She's particularly interested in finding squat lobsters , which despite their name, are...
Discovering new species is an exciting quest, right? Well, some parts are—...
How does a coral spend its day? Most of us would say: not doing much. To the...

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Nudibranchs are a kind of sea slug, and their 3000 species are found from the poles to the tropics in both shallow and deep...

The Ocean Blog

With 1,400 named species of ribbon worms inhabiting every ecosystem on earth, seeking one out should be an easy proposition. But I quickly learned that it can be quite daunting when you’re looking...
This common octopus ( Octopus vulgaris ) doesn't have a jetpack to help him zoom through the water, but he's got something pretty close: a siphon that shoots water. (It's the little orange/yellow cup...
This orange boring sponge ( Cliona varians ) overgrows several coral species at Panama's Smithsonian Tropical Studies Institute. Boring sponges mechanically and chemically breakdown mollusk shells...
A longshoreman stands in front of a large pile of oyster shells on waterfront pier in Atlantic City in 1910. Back then, oysters were incredibly abundant. In the late 1800s, fishermen pulled in 10...
The Census of Marine Life - a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, “What lives in the sea?” It was an international effort to asses the diversity,...
In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita aurita ) in the Chesapeake Bay, have become more common around the world for a number of different reasons . One result of...
The dark seafloor beneath the ice is covered with sea stars, urchins and ribbon worms looking for their next meal, which can come from sponges, dead animals that float to the sea floor, or even other...
The largest of the cuttlefish species, Australian Giant Cuttlefish ( Sepia apama ) delight scientists each year as they gather in masses to spawn in northern Spencer Gulf, northwest of Adelaide in...
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 (...
Coral reefs are bustling cities of marine life, until rising ocean temperatures turn them into ghost towns. Can reefs spring back from devastating bleaching events? In this episode of the Podcast of...
From parrotfish that cover themselves in a blanket of their own mucus to tiny pygmy sea horses, there are some bizarre sea creatures that live in coral reefs . In this slideshow you can explore some...
A small horseshoe crab ( Limulus polyphemus ) rests on seaweed in Stage Harbor, Massachusetts. Atlantic horseshoe crabs can be found along the coast of North America from the Yucatán Peninsula to...
Like its terrestrial namesake, the Venus fly-trap anemone ( Actinoscyphia sp.) sits quietly and waits for food to drift into its outstretched tentacles, which are lined with stinging harpoons called...
In 1874 Reverend Moses Harvey of Newfoundland displayed the giant squid he bought on the side of his barn, much to the dismay of Mrs. Harvey. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant...
Winner of the ‘best camouflage’ contest, the nudibranch Scyllaea pelagica (Scyllaeidae) is usually betrayed only by its motion. Along it’s back, the sea slug has growths called papillae that help its...
Nine years ago I was invited by a colleague to join a research team investigating deep-sea coral habitats . I was asked to examine the invertebrates associated with these ecosystems. After my first...
This is a tree topper unlike any other! Reminiscent of a freshly made snow angel, these pteropods are actually shell-less sea snails ( Clione limacina ). Unlike the typical snail, they flap their...
The Boreoatlantic armhook squid ( Gonatus fabricii ) is named for its fabulous (but dangerous) suckers. While most squids have just two rows of suckers lining each arm, armhook squids have four—and...
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