Oceans Portal

Two waved albatrosses, the only tropical albatross species, courting one another on the Galapagos Islands.

Is It Love? Why Some Ocean Animals (Sort Of) Mate For Life

A look at the mating systems of some monogamous ocean animals show that finding life partners helps species protect themselves and their young


Photos of Starfish Up Close: What Are You Looking At?

A stunning look at starfish reveal beautiful patterns--but what exactly are those wormy structures, bald patches, and spiky maces?


Researchers Discover New Method of Barnacle Sex

Upending 150 years of theory, scientists observed that some barnacles can capture sperm from the water for reproduction

Small red boring sponges embedded in star coral, killing the coral polyps immediately surrounding them.

Drill, Baby, Drill: Sponges Bore Into Shells Twice as Fast in Acidic Seawater

In acidic water, drilling sponges damage scallops twice as quickly, worsening the effects of ocean acidification


The Ten Best Ocean Stories of 2012

From deep-sea squid habits to vanishing coral reefs, here are the ocean stories we couldn’t stop talking about this year.


The Christmas Tree Worm, Decorating Coral Reefs Year-Round

The oceans show holiday spirit with a worm on coral reefs that resembles a fluffy fir tree adorned with colored ornaments.


When Attacked, Corals Send Out Chemical Signals to Recruit Bodyguard Fish

New science reveals that, when threatened by toxic seaweed, corals send out chemical signals to small goby fish that remove the coral-choking greenery

Frilled Shark

The Scariest Monsters of the Deep Sea

We took the spook-tacular celebration to the depths of the ocean, where some of the craziest—and scariest—looking creatures lurk in the dark

14 Fun Facts About Hagfish

These frightening creatures defend themselves with slime and chow down on animal carcasses

"If we don't do something," says Knowlton, who has earned the nickname Dr. Doom, "we could lose all corals by 2050."

A Coral Reef's Mass Spawning

Understanding how corals reproduce is critical to their survival; Smithsonian's Nancy Knowlton investigates the annual event

Nancy Knowlton

Nancy Knowlton

The renowned coral reef biologist leads Smithsonian's effort to foster a greater public understanding of the world's oceans


Turning the Tide

Our oceans are in trouble, says Nancy Knowlton. But it's not too late to do something about it

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