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Close-up shot of sea surface with small waves
The Constellation of Creatures Inhabiting the Ocean Surface
The myriad species floating atop the world’s seas, called neuston, are mysterious and understudied, complicating efforts to clean up plastic pollution.
The Constellation of Creatures Inhabiting the Ocean Surface
The Constellation of Creatures Inhabiting the Ocean Surface

The myriad species floating atop the world’s seas, called neuston, are mysterious and understudied, complicating efforts to clean up plastic pollution.

The myriad species floating atop the world’s seas, called neuston, are mysterious and understudied, complicating efforts to clean up plastic pollution.

marine
Neuston
Slideshow: Meet the Neuston, the Diverse Organisms Living at the Ocean’s Surface
Amanda Heidt | Jan 2, 2023 | 2 min read
The ocean’s surface harbors an ecosystem of colorful, understudied life, ranging from protists and cnidarians to insects.
Illustration showing where neuston reside
Infographic: Neuston Drift Atop the World’s Oceans
Amanda Heidt | Jan 2, 2023 | 1 min read
The sea surface is home to a diverse group of animals adapted to life in the open ocean, but increasingly, they’re sharing that space with plastic debris.
A school of juvenile spiny chromis (Acanthochromis polycanthus)
Human-Made Noise Disrupts Fish Parenting
Christie Wilcox, PhD | May 23, 2022 | 3 min read
The roar of nearby boat engines alters how fish care for and protect their young, resulting in fewer successful nests and smaller offspring, a study finds.
Close-up of a fiber with brightly colored pathogens beside it
Microplastics in Seawater May Harbor Parasites
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Apr 26, 2022 | 2 min read
Laboratory experiments find that Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia can congregate on microplastic beads and fibers, suggesting they might make their way into and around the world’s oceans by hitching rides on tiny bits of trash.
hagfish slime on hands
Hagfish Slime Cells Tailored to Deter Predation
Chloe Tenn | Sep 28, 2021 | 5 min read
The Scientist spoke with Chapman University’s Yu Zeng about his lab’s finding that the slime-producing cells of the slippery marine fish vary with the creature’s size, which may be an adaptation to thwart different predators.
A boat, the Tara, sailing past an island in Patagonia, Chile
Sailing the Seas in Search of Microbes
Shawna Williams | Jun 1, 2021 | 5 min read
Projects aimed at collecting big data about the ocean’s tiniest life forms continue to expand our view of the seas.
sharks, blue shark, Prionace glauca, overfishing, ocean deoxygenation, climate change
Climate Change Could Drive Sharks to Fishing Grounds: Study
Asher Jones | Jan 28, 2021 | 5 min read
Blue sharks don't dive as deeply in low-oxygen waters—which become more prevalent as oceans warm—effectively pushing them into areas of high fishing pressure.
Octopod Sailors, 300 BC–present
Jef Akst | Nov 1, 2020 | 3 min read
Lore has always surrounded argonauts, pelagic octopuses that build shells and travel the seas.
Microbes Find Their Niche in Underwater Shipwrecks
Jef Akst | Nov 1, 2020 | 5 min read
Early investigations of the microbial communities in and around sunken boats reveal that there are patterns to where bacteria settle.
Poet of the Sea, 1940s–1950s
Ashley Yeager | Nov 1, 2019 | 3 min read
Most know Rachel Carson for her work on the dangers of chemical pollutants, but the writer’s earlier prose took readers on a tour of a mysterious underwater world.
How Interconnected Is Life in the Ocean?
Catherine Offord | Nov 1, 2019 | 10+ min read
To help create better conservation and management plans, researchers are measuring how marine organisms move between habitats and populations.
Red Tides Under the Microscope
Bob Grant | Nov 1, 2019 | 10+ min read
Understanding the dinoflagellates that regularly wreak havoc on marine and nearshore ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico could help researchers mitigate the damage they cause.
Infographic: Red Tides Still Hold Tantalizing Mysteries
Bob Grant | Nov 1, 2019 | 1 min read
A full description of the lifecycle of Karenia brevis could lead to improved monitoring, prediction, and mitigation of the harmful algal blooms it regularly causes.
Interactive: How Interconnected Is Life in the Ocean?
Catherine Offord | Nov 1, 2019 | 1 min read
To help create better conservation and management plans, researchers are measuring how marine organisms move between habitats and populations.
College Campuses Close as Hurricane Dorian Threatens
Jef Akst | Sep 3, 2019 | 2 min read
The storm has already pummeled the Bahamas. Now the US coast prepares.
a view of Hurricane Dorian shot from the International Space Station
Labs Prepare to Protect—and Collect—Data During Hurricane Dorian
Emma Yasinski | Sep 1, 2019 | 3 min read
In the southeastern US, the coming storm disrupts research for many scientists.
Six North Atlantic Right Whales Have Died So Far This Year
Ashley Yeager | Jun 28, 2019 | 2 min read
Canadian officials are investigating the deaths and implementing regulations to reduce the number of ships that strike the endangered species or snag them in fishing gear.
Warming Weather Could Make Arctic Fish Faster
Jef Akst | Jan 24, 2019 | 2 min read
As sea temperatures rise, mammals and birds may lose their edge over the cold-blooded species they eat, as well as the sharks that hunt them.
After the Storm: A Live Look at the Duke Marine Lab
The Scientist Staff | Sep 25, 2018 | 1 min read
Tune in Thursday to see the effects of Hurricane Florence on the Beaufort, NC facility.
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