The Ocean Question: What is your favorite marine organism and why?

We caught up with 11 marine scientists (including one honorary marine scientist, paleoblogger Brian Switek) at this year’s Ocean Sciences meeting in Salt Lake City and asked them the following question – What is your favorite marine organism and why? Their responses ranged from the classic (dolphins and sharks) to the bizarre (deep-sea shrimp and snails) to the exceptionally broad (Eukaryotes, Holly? Could you narrow it down just a little?).

Check out what they had to say:


Watch our previous Ocean Question and let us know what your favorite marine organisms are in the comments below.


  1. Ann McElhatton · April 26, 2012

    Limulus polyphemus! 1) Atlantic horseshoe crabs are an amazing blue blooded species that help save lives 2) Atlantic horseshoe crabs are an important species in my hometown are (Cape May County, N.J.) and I have fond memories counting them in the middle of the night when they’d come up to spawn 3) Atlantic horseshoe crabs are gentle on the instead but have a fierce looking exterior 4) Who doesn’t have respect for all living fossils? Limulus Love!!!

  2. Zen Faulkes · April 26, 2012

    The critter that got me my Ph.D., the spiny sand crab, Blepharipoda occidentalis. Dance with the one that brung ya and all that.

  3. Bruce Townley · April 26, 2012

    Architeuthis dux, the Giant Squid.The mighty kraken!

  4. Tiz Keller · April 26, 2012

    Luv them Grunions, L. tenuis.
    We know spring is here, and all is well in the surf.

  5. Angela · April 26, 2012

    Nudibranchs and squid!!! Can’t choose just one

  6. klb8s · April 27, 2012

    Tardigrade — Because it can kick any or your favorite creatures’ asses, travel to Mars and back without a space suit, and then kick their asses again.

  7. ann · April 27, 2012

    Torn between my first love, everything in S.P. Crustacea, and Mola mola.

  8. Chuck · April 27, 2012

    Obviously Squalus acanthias, for being the scrappiest fish in the sea (and getting me into this grad school/science blogging mess). Invert-wise, I’ve always thought crabs have a lot of personality.

  9. Magnus Farr · April 30, 2012

    The Mantis Shrimp, either crushers or stabbers. The Mantis Shrimp, Stomatopod Gonodigitalis, or Stomach-foot genital-finger, is a truly formidable crustacean. Its dactyls, or front claws, shoot out and pulverize prey with such speed that water at the point of impact cavitates ina burst of heat and light. Additionally, it possesses the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom. It can see 12 primary colors and even circularly polarized light. Not to mention, some species are monogamous and live for twenty years. These animals are incredibly intelligent for crustaceans, though they have been known to bust the glass aquariums they were put in with their incredible rocket claws and suffocate. I’m sorry fellas, but I think I have every one of you beat.

  10. Hai~Ren · April 30, 2012

    If I really had to pick a favourite, it would be the stonefish (Synanceia horrida). Probably because they’re so well-camouflaged and can be found on so many shores that my friends and I explore at low tide, and because I was once careless and unlucky enough to step on one. The subsequent hospitalisation and recovery gave me a very special experience to share with others, and it’s also significantly altered my personal philosophy. If I had the strength to overcome getting stung by the world’s most venomous fish, I can get over whatever troubles I’m facing.

  11. Patric Douglas · April 30, 2012

    Ahhh, great question. Without a doubt this critter, because it looks like the Facehugger critter from the Alien series.

    Behold Magnapinna:

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