Marine Biology


Explore the largest habitat on Earth

Marine biology is the study of life in the ocean, from the smallest microbes to the largest animals to ever live on Earth. It is the collective effort of scientists from many fields to explore, understand, and conserve the diversity of life in in the world's largest ecosystem. Oceans cover 71% of our planet's surface, and provide 99% of its livable habitat by volume. They are the largest space in our universe known to be inhabited by living organisms, yet we know less about the deepest reaches of our oceans than we do about the surface of Mars. This vast marine space is home to an enormous diversity of strange and wonderful organisms, so much so that hundreds of new species are discovered every year. We depend on this biodiversity: 3 billion people rely on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods, and 2.6 billion people rely on the ocean for their primary source of protein. Human impacts on ocean ecosystems are increasing, and marine biologists are working to understand how sea creatures adapt to changing environments, and develop sustainable solutions. In this blog, we will discuss the latest scientific discoveries, cool critters, and current issues from Earth's living oceans.

The Urchin's Tale, Part 1

What have sea urchins taught us about how ecosystems work?

Natalie LowHeadshot of Natalie Low
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If I were to ask you to name your favorite animal, chances are that it would not be a sea urchin. And I wouldn’t blame you - sea urchins are certainly not very charismatic, as far as animals go. At first glance, they come across as no more than a bunch of rock-like things with too many spikes and not enough personality. But there is much more to these weird, spiny critters than meets the eye.

A crazed crowd of crabs

Scientists discover new and mysterious crab behavior in an important underwater habitat.

Julia MasonHeadshot of Julia Mason
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A trip to the depths of the ocean is rarely dull, but last April, a group of scientists exploring Panama’s waters in a manned submersible found something "unexpected and mesmerizing."

What is El Niño?

Understanding El Niño and its ocean impacts.

Julia MasonHeadshot of Julia Mason
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Those of us living in California have seen El Niño flooding the local news, and the streets of Los Angeles. The name El Niño has come up in relation to recent storms and strange weather across the U.S., and you may have heard that this season's was a "Godzilla" El Niño, but what is El Niño, exactly?