At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's Ocean Portal, we focus on everything ocean: unusual and everyday organisms, ocean-inspired art, researchers devoting their lives to exploring the still mostly mysterious ocean. The Ocean Portal Blog is where we invite guest bloggers to share their research or opinions about on-going ocean issues.
Ocean Portal's Latest Posts
As a research diver for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of my jobs is to make sure that people and companies working in the fish industry don’t dump too much waste in the ocean. On my first dive at an underwater waste site, my old salt of a dive partner hinted, “you might see a shark… or three” with a wink. “Okay,” I thought, “I can deal with a couple of sharks.” Descending to the dump site, I soon saw circling dogfish and salmon sharks extending all the way […]
Editor's note: This is an excerpt from Daniel Botkin's new book The Moon in the Nautilus Shell: Discordant Harmonies Reconsidered. He will be in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May 8th for a lecture and book signing through the Smithsonian Associates. The Nautilus and the Moon: (From Chapter 14) My mind meandered from thoughts of the shallow European sea to those of the far-off Pacific Ocean...
Even if you aren't a hardcore birder, chances are you have some hidden love for penguins. These flightless birds have captured our hearts through countless movies, beautiful images and their adorable fluffy young. Panoramic scenes of their large breeding colonies make penguin populations seem limitless, but the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists 11 of the 18 species as Vulnerable or Endangered. Penguins have certain characteristics that make them especially vulnerable to large-scale...
Sometimes I think that our planet Earth, named for the Old English word for “dry land” (eorthe), should get a new name. Despite our knowledge that more than 70% of the planet’s surface is ocean—definitely not “dry land”—we still refer to our home by an 8th century description. The same goes for Earth Day. Since 1970, people around the world have set aside April 22nd of each year to think about protecting the environment. This includes the ocean, as it’s a huge part of Earth’s […]
We began this journey three months ago, a team of scientists and filmmakers traveling the East African coastline by boat to document and research the status of coral reefs from South Africa to Kenya. We have observed a lot of changes in the coral reef communities as we travel north. Some of these changes are natural shifts in biodiversity, species composition and structure of the reef communities. There are also those ...
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