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Ocean Watch


Porcupine pufferfish packs poisonous punch

While snorkeling with a friend visiting from Canada, I spotted a tiny porcupine pufferfish resting on the ocean floor in about 6 feet of water. Read More

The sea strider is the only marine insect in the world … and it walks on water

Reader Mark Hamamoto emailed that while kayaking off Makua beach, he saw a spiderlike creature skimming over the surface of the water about 200 yards from shore. “Any idea what this is?” Mark wrote. “Never seen this before.” Read More

Shorebirds a reminder of Hawaii’s Alaska link

In some ways Alaska and Hawaii are worlds apart. But after my weeklong work with Pacific golden plovers in Nome, I learned that we also have much in common. Read More

Plover study and tracking in Alaska a pure delight

When I told kolea researcher Wally Johnson that I wished I could spend my summer solstice birthday in Alaska, he invited me to join his plover study team. Read More

Flatworms and sea sapphires add sparkle to coral reefs

As much as I loved swimming with millions of lovely, pulsing salps last week, their gelatinous bodies obscured the hard and soft corals below. Read More

Swimming with salps a pleasant experience

This week I swam with several million of the weirdest and most captivating animals off Orpheus Island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Read More

Brittle stars can regrow missing limbs if attacked

Finding several brittle stars while snorkeling this week reminded me of an invertebrate zoology class I took long ago at University of Hawaii at Manoa. Read More

Volunteers bring aloha to students in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the last places you would expect to hear hundreds of schoolchildren shouting, “Aloha!” but it’s happening in a town called Di­najpur. Read More

UH study offers clue about groups of honu

Last year several readers who live along Kaneohe Bay wrote that large green sea turtles were hanging out at the shoreline of their waterfront homes. Read More

Samoan crab resembling sea monster is protected

Samoan crabs are so popular here that the state protects the population by law. Read More

Moray eel gives chase to fleeing Ambon toby

It’s a fish-eat-fish world out on the reef, so seeing one species chase another isn’t usually a sight that has my heart pounding as I fumble for my camera. But this time the predator was scary and the prey poisonous. Read More

Urchins can use seaweed hat to feed themselves

Opal seaweed is native to the warm Indian, Pacific and western Atlantic oceans, growing from tide pools to waters 150 feet deep. It’s also native to Hawaii, meaning it got here without a lift from human hands or hulls, drifting hundreds or even thousands of miles to our islands. Read More

Nudibranchs are among the prettiest ocean critters

Nudibranchs are snails without shells. The common name of these animals is sea slugs. Read More

Stone money and gobies in Palau and Yap

With about 2,000 species, gobies form the largest fish family in the world. Read More

Yap’s unique stone money acts as hard currency

Besides meeting some of the friendliest people on the planet here, it’s the only place where money is as big as manta rays. Read More

Soft Coral Arch revives childhood memories

Rather than a hard skeleton, these soft coral types have inside their liquid stalks tiny calcium carbonate sticks and stones that help them stand up. Read More

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