What is an invasive species?

Invasive species can harm both the natural resources in an ecosystem as well as threaten human use of these resources. An invasive species can be introduced to a new area via the ballast water of oceangoing ships, intentional and accidental releases of aquaculture species, aquarium specimens or bait, and other means.

What is a wetland?

There are many different kinds of wetlands and many ways to categorize them. NOAA classifies wetlands into five general types: marine (ocean), estuarine (estuary), riverine (river), lacustrine (lake), and palustrine (marsh). Common names for wetlands include marshes, estuaries, mangroves, mudflats, mires, ponds, fens, swamps, deltas, coral reefs, billabongs, lagoons, shallow seas, bogs, lakes, and floodplains, to name just a few!

Maritime Forests (Ocean Today)

A maritime forest is a forest that is on the coast and is influenced by sea-spray.

Northern Elephant Seals (Ocean Today)

Northern Elephant Seals migrate thousands of miles to these beaches twice a year to breed, give birth, molt and rest.

Protecting Coral Reefs (Ocean Today)

Buck Island Reef National Monument lies one and a half miles north of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, in the Caribbean.

Pacific Flyway (Ocean Today)

As fall turns to winter, shorter days and cooler temperatures whisper a message to animals around the world that the time has come to move.

Dune Grass Planting (Ocean Today)

Laura Bankey: Today we are at Dam Neck Annex, part of Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia, restoring sand dune habitat along the Atlantic coast.

Killer Whales 101 (Ocean Today)

The Killer whale in, three of a kind. In oceans all over the world, Orcas are swimming. In the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest, a matrilinial pod of resident Orcas is following the salmon run.

Underwater Forests (Ocean Today)

Kelp forests can be seen along much of the west coast of North America. Kelp are actually large brown algae that live in cool, relatively shallow waters close to the shore.

Marine Protected Areas (Ocean Today)

Chances are you've visited a Marine Protected Area and didn't even know it.

Turtle and the Tree (Ocean Today)

Group of Loggerhead turtles established Keewaydin Island as a home.

Wetlands Restoration (Ocean Today)

Wetlands are among the richest and most diverse places on earth. Thousands of fish, mammals and birds call the wetlands home.

Gray Whale 101 (Ocean Today)

The Gray whale in Baja Holiday! It's June! Time to plan the winter holiday… How about two – three months in Baja Mexico! Gray whales have been making this annual trip for centuries!

Marine Mammal Rescue (Ocean Today)

The Marine Animal Rescue Program was started in 1993 at the National Aquarium, and is responsible for responding to marine mammal and sea turtle strandings in Maryland.

Saving a Bay -- Lavaca Bay Restoration (Ocean Today)

With fisherman, seabirds, and marshland, Lavaca Bay looks like any other peaceful coastal area… but things weren't always this serene.

Sea Otters 101 (Ocean Today)

In a quiet cove of Monterey Bay in Northern California, a female raft of sea otters is hanging out in a kelp bed.

Too Many Lionfish! (#ScienceAtSea)

A large group of invasive lionfish near St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, filmed during a Caribbean coral reef mapping expedition in April, 2015. During the 2015 Caribbean mapping expedition, 135 lionfish were spotted during a total of 26 dives. Lionfish were spotted as deep as 768 feet.

Stingray Encounter (#ScienceAtSea)

A stingray filmed by Remotely Operated Vehicle near St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, during a Caribbean coral reef mapping expedition in April, 2015.

The Wandering Seal (Ocean Today)

Deep into the foggy abyss of the central Bering Sea, the Pribilof Islands were found, not by sight, but by sound.

Protecting Marine Life (Ocean Today)

Swim up North America's coast like a whale and you will see its vibrant and diverse life.

Discovering the Ocean's Secrets (Ocean Today)

Imagine going to work everyday in the ocean, to study the plants and animals that call it home. Scientists from Canada, Mexico, and the United States are benefitting from marine protected areas.

Connecting Us to Nature (Ocean Today)

Marine protected areas offer a perfect adventure. They are places to explore and enjoy nature in and around the waters of Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Sustaining Communities (Ocean Today)

Every year, North America's Marine Protected Areas contribute millions of dollars to the economy. Much of the sustainably caught seafood you see in grocery stores and eat in restaurants comes from these areas.

Happening Now: Arctic Sea Ice Sets Record Low (Ocean Today)

In 2012 analysis on Arctic sea ice conditions painted a grim picture. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the summer sea ice minimum extent dropped to its smallest size in recorded history.

Ocean Oases (Ocean Today)

The ocean floor just off the eastern United States is deeply carved with hidden canyons, teaming with exotic and breathtaking species of plants and animals.

Watch Out For Spouts (Ocean Today)

When you're out boating, sailing, or even kayaking, you may be closer than you think to the largest animals on Earth. So, here's what you need to know to respect their space and keep them safe.

Whale Sense (Ocean Today)

Watching whales in their natural habitat can be a breathtaking experience. This activity has become increasingly popular, now drawing over 13 million people a year.

The Autonomous Underwater Glider (#ScienceAtSea)

On March 28, 2015, NOAA Ship Nancy Foster deployed an autonomous glider off the eastern coast of St. Croix. Diving down to depths of 656 feet, the glider moved westward along the southern edge of the shelf break. On the fifth day, shallow waters slowed progress, and the glider remained off the southwest coast. The glider will continue logging data until its retrieval later this month.

Remotely Operated Vehicle Exploration (#ScienceAtSea)

Remotely Operated Vehicles provides scientists with "eyeballs" beneath the water to see the health of the ecosystem.

Ocean Gliders (#ScienceAtSea)

An ocean glider is an autonomous underwater vehicle used to collect ocean data. Scientists are now experimenting with using gliders to locate populations of spawning fish. The glider shown in this video is outfitted with an acoustic receiver to “listen” for vocalizations—grunting sounds—made by some fish as they mass together to spawn in the U.S. Caribbean.

Mapping the Seafloor (#ScienceAtSea)

Creating a habitat ecosystem map of the seafloor is a tricky process. Learn how it works in this two-minute video.

Animals of the Ice: Beluga Whales (Ocean Today)

Take a look in the shallow coastal waters of the Arctic, and you might just spot a beluga whale.

Animals of the Ice: Emperor Penguin (Ocean Today)

Their waddle has made them famous. Emperor penguins may just be the cutest creature in the world's coldest climate: Antarctica.

Animals of the Ice: Antarctic Krill (Ocean Today)

Krill are small crustaceans found throughout the ocean. They play an important role in the aquatic food chain, particularly in the Southern Ocean.

Animals of the Ice: Polar Bear (Ocean Today)

The Arctic circle is home to the largest bear in the world: the polar bear. You may be surprised to learn that the polar bear is actually considered a marine mammal.

Animals of the Ice: Walruses (Ocean Today)

The Arctic Ocean and subarctic seas are home to a hefty fellow: the walrus. These beasts use sea ice for resting and giving birth.

Our Debris Filling the Sea (Ocean Today)

What do a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean and the Antarctic have in common? Unfortunately, it’s marine debris.

The Role of Ice in the Ocean: Pt. III: Shrinking Ice: Impacts (Ocean Today)

As Arctic ice continues to melt, it will cause ripple effects across the planet. When the polar regions warm, even just a degree, it disturbs atmospheric and oceanic patterns.

The Role of Ice in the Ocean: Pt. II: How Do We Measure Ice? (Ocean Today)

If all of the ice in the Arctic Circle were to melt, life as we know it would be dramatically different - and not in a good way.

The Role of Ice in the Ocean: Pt. I: What is Sea Ice and Why Is It Shrinking? (Ocean Today)

The Arctic region is hauntingly beautiful. It's a vast expanse of sea ice floating on water. Sea ice is actually frozen ocean water. It forms, grows, and melts in the ocean.

North America's Marine Protected Areas (Ocean Today)

A number of very special places dot the coastline of North America. These places are part of a growing network of Marine Protected Areas - like parks on land - but in the ocean.

The Depths Below: Ring of Fire (Ocean Today)

Orange and red flashes in the pitch black. Lava oozes from the cracks, and rolls across the ocean floor. Earthquakes rumble and roar as tectonic plates grate against each other.

USS Monitor: The Ironclad Endures (Ocean Today)

It’s March 8, 1862 and an epic battle of the Civil War is underway in the waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Confederate CSS Virginia faces off against its northern opponent, the USS Monitor.

Happening Now: Arctic Sea Ice on the Decline 2013 (Ocean Today)

As summer turns to Fall in the Arctic, the ice cover will shrink to its smallest extent for the year. After a record setting low in 2012, the 2013 summer sea ice extent rebounded – but only slightly.

Lessons from Valdez: 25 Years Later (Ocean Today)

On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez grounded on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, rupturing the hull and spilling oil into the pristine waters of Alaska.

USS Monitor: Rediscovering the Ironclad (Ocean Today)

Ocean exploration is all about making new discoveries. But sometimes the most fascinating findings are when things are rediscovered. The USS Monitor was a civil war ironclad warship that sank in 1862.

The Mesophotic Zone (Ocean Today)

You’re entering another dimension. A dimension of water, of darkness, of mystery. Next stop, The Mesophotic Zone.

Tsunami Science: 10 Years since Sumatra (Ocean Today)

December 26, 2004. What began as an undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean ended as the most deadly tsunami in recorded history, with nearly 240,000 lives lost.

Ghost Ships off the Golden Gate (Ocean Today)

In the waters off San Francisco Bay… in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary… lie hundreds of mysteries.

What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? (Ocean Today)

Garbage patches are large areas of marine debris concentration that are formed by rotating ocean currents called gyres. A garbage patch is made up of tiny plastic pieces called “microplastics”.

Deep Ocean Corals (Ocean Today)

Hawaii is interesting, because it is the most remote island chain in the world, it has a somewhat low diversity of corals.

The Last Grand Challenge (Ocean Today)

Exploring the earth’s oceans is probably the last grand challenge we have on this planet.

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