Oceans Portal

Singer and plastic-clothing designer Pharrell Williams at the "Raw For The Oceans" event at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

The Top 12 Ocean Stories That Made Waves in 2014

The seas served up some compelling headlines this year, from celebrity fashion to solving the mystery of the melting starfish

Moon jellies (Aurelia aurita) drift in dark waters at the Sunshine International Aquarium in Tokyo.

Big Moon Jelly Blooms Tied to New Dock Construction

A floating pier installed off Japan led to a four-fold increase in baby jellies, offering a solid link between structures and blooms

A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) in South Africa shows its jaws.

The State of Sharks, 40 Years After <em>Jaws</em>

We could be at a tipping point for conserving the infamous predators, if we can keep up shark-friendly practices

A green turtle.

Why Do We Have Trouble Talking About Success In Ocean Conservation?

Despite what you’ve read in the news, there’s still hope for a future with a healthy ocean

Oil floats on the surface of Gulf waters in June 2010. Is it still there today?

Breaking Down the Myths and Misconceptions About the Gulf Oil Spill

Does oil stick around in the ecosystem indefinitely? What was the deal with the deformed fish? Can anything bad that happens in the Gulf be blamed on oil?

A West Indian manatee calf nurses from its mother.

14 Fun Facts About Manatees

These roly-poly herbivores just may be the teddy bears of the sea. But keep an eye out when boating; they don’t move so fast.

A screenshot of the first video of a giant squid in the wild.

The Top Five Ocean Stories of 2013

This year we've seen amazing footage of marine creatures, discovered how plastic works its way into the food chain, employed 3D printing to build new reefs

Jonah is cast overboard to a sea monster in an image from the earliest known atlas, the Theatrum orbis terrarum, by Flemish cartographer Abraham Ortelius, first published in 1570.

The Enchanting Sea Monsters on Medieval Maps

Fictitious animals on 16th and early 17th century maps hint at how people's perception of the ocean has changed over time

Migaloo, the white whale

Call Me Migaloo: The Story Behind Real-Life White Whales

White whales, such as the recently spotted humpback nicknamed Migaloo, are rare and elusive creatures. How many are there and why are they white?

Oceanographer Gareth Lawson, who studies pteropods, was able to identify Kavanagh’s sculptures to species, such as this Limacina helicina.

The Gorgeous Shapes of Sea Butterflies

Cornelia Kavanagh's sculptures magnify tiny sea butterflies—ocean acidification's unlikely mascots—hundreds of times


What’s Behind That Jellyfish Sting?

If you're headed to the beach this weekend: with Jellyfish populations rising, what should you do if you are stung, and why do stings hurt so much?


Top Ten Stories About Sharks Since the Last Shark Week

Shark tourism, cannibalistic shark embryos, wetsuits designed to camouflage from sharks and more

A community of glass sponges under Antarctica’s ice.

Glass Sponges Move In As Antarctic Ice Shelves Melt

Typically slow-growing glass sponge communities are popping up quickly now that disappearing shelf ice has changed ocean conditions around Antarctica


Warming, Rising Acidity and Pollution: Top Threats to the Ocean

Since the last World Oceans Day, we've documented trash in the deep sea, sea snails with acid-weakened shells, high ocean temperatures and more


What’s Working When It Comes to the Ocean?

On World Oceans Day, scientist Nancy Knowlton reflects on the health of our seas

Staghorn coral is listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. NOAA Fisheries has proposed it be reclassified as endangered.

Endangered Ocean Creatures Beyond the Cute and Cuddly

Marine species threatened with extinction aren't just whales, seals and turtles--they include fish, corals, mollusks, birds, and a lone seagrass

The shelled sea butterfly Hyalocylis striata can be found in the warm surface waters of the ocean around the world.

Amazing Sea Butterflies Are the Ocean’s Canary in the Coal Mine

These delicate and stunning creatures are offering Smithsonian scientists a warning sign for the world's waters turning more acidic

Emperor penguins swimming

14 Fun Facts About Penguins

Which penguin swims the fastest? Do penguins have teeth? Why do penguins sneeze? How is penguin poop useful?

Beneath the seafloor, there is an ecosystem of microbes living in the oceanic crust, independent of sunlight. Here, the seafloor of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica.

Microbes Buried Deep in Ocean Crust May Form World’s Largest Ecosystem

Far below the ocean floor, scientists have discovered a microbial community away from undersea vents, beyond the reach of the sun

Ribbon worms come in all shapes and sizes. This one, with white stripes along the body, was found off the coast of Mexico.

14 Fun Facts about Marine Ribbon Worms

Ribbon worms swallow prey whole, grease themselves with their mucus to slide quickly through mud, split into new worms if severed, and much more

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