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In Focus


While more than 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by its oceans, nearly 80% of that remains unexplored. Harvard experts are investigating the mysteries of the deep, diving into the impact of climate change, and searching for answers only found beneath our ocean’s waters.

Under the sea

Harvard students and faculty are using the latest technology to study the ocean’s largest, smallest, and most unique creatures.

An octopus' tentacles

Creatures of the deep

Why did you love ‘My Octopus Teacher’?

Scholars reflect on the somewhat surprising appeal of the popular award-winning documentary.

Read more about the documentary

Sperm whales swim near the ocean's surface

Creatures of the deep

Understanding the whales

Scientists who met at the Radcliffe Institute are exploring how whales communicate and if they have language

Read more from the Harvard Gazette

Fossils of prehistoric fish


Walking underwater

Researchers have found that some deep sea creatures use the same motor neurons and genes that help humans and other land vertebrates walk. 

Read more from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

An illustration of a new dinosaur believed to live in water


Water beast

A recent paper argues the Spinosaurus was an aquatic dinosaur and powered by a predatory tail.

Read more from the Harvard Gazette

Oceans and climate change

As temperatures and sea levels rise, what do we know about how climate change is impacting our oceans?

Pieces of ice float near a large glacier
  • Harvard Gazette

Melting polar ice is shifting Earth itself, and not just sea levels

Research shows that the melting of glacial ice in Antarctica, the Arctic Islands, and Greenland can be measured in the shifting of the Earth’s crust.

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  • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Climate change is likely to increase human exposure to methylmercury

A fish tail on ice
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  • The Harvard Gazette

The Antarctic Ice Sheet is melting, lifting sea level higher than expected

A glacier rests in the water in the Antarctic
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  • Graduate School of Design

An Island in Flux: Envisioning a more resilient Nantucket

A beach on the island of Nantucket
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  • The Harvard Gazette

The impact of ocean acidification

A researcher holds a small stingray in their hands
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  • Harvard Chan School

Plastic takes a toll on oceans and puts human health at risk

plastic bottles piled together
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Water we doing

How are researchers, climate change experts, and environmental advocates finding ways to combat the effects of the changes to our oceans?

A view of fish silhouettes from the ocean floor looking upward

Advances in technology

Exploring 3,000 meters under the sea

Life is better under the sea. Take it from a group of Harvard undergraduates who were among the first to glimpse life on the ocean floor 10 miles off the coast of California.

Read more from the Harvard Gazette

Robot mimics the powerful punch of the mantis shrimp
Click to Play Video

Advances in technology

How do mantis shrimp produce deadly, ultra-fast movements?

New research answers long-standing biological questions and paves the way for small but mighty robots.

Read more from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Innovation in exploration


A multidisciplinary group of engineers, marine biologists, and roboticists have developed a sampling device that is soft, flexible, and customizable, allowing scientists to gently grab different types of organisms from the sea without damaging them.

Read more from the Wyss Institute