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Featured Image: Octopus Cluster, Davidson Seamount. Credit: Ocean Exploration Trust/National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The deep sea is a harsh place to live. Lacking the sunlight-fueled productivity that drives shallow-water food webs, the deep sea is extremely limited by available food, leading to slow growth rates, low reproduction, and a reduced ability to recover from disturbances.…

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Tropical coral reefs are some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on our planet. Often called the ‘rainforests’ of our oceans, coral reefs host incredible levels of biodiversity and provide important ecosystem services that many organisms – including humans – rely on. Globally, coral reefs cover less than 0.1% of our seafloor, but provide…

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Seamounts are underwater mountains that rise from the seabed. Because most of the world’s seafloor is a muddy plain, seamounts are special deep-sea features that support unique creatures. Seamounts can arise along mid-ocean ridges, as isolated landmarks, or as volcanoes in chains and clusters. Off California, several seamounts were ancient islands that only went under…

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You’ve probably heard the saying that we know less about the deep ocean than we do about the surface of the moon. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, we have explored less than 5% of the ocean to date, so the saying is pretty accurate. However, as technology improves and scientists are able…

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Climate change has had many names and connotations since I first learned about it. Originally, it was taught as “global warming” and the not-so-well understood implications of it seemed too far in the future to be concerned with in the present. In fact, I had many peers who welcomed the idea of a climate a…

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The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is currently reviewing its priorities for reducing bycatch, the unwanted ocean wildlife (e.g., fish, turtles, coral, seabirds, etc.) unintentionally caught by commercial fishermen when targeting a different species. NMFS is in the early stages of developing a new National Bycatch Strategy and is asking the public for comments and…

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