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It blew in for two solid days: a flotilla of plastic forks, soda bottles, rubber gloves, and other refuse. I tried to pick everything up off the beach, but when I turned around, you...
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Since late April, the world has watched a devastating oil spill from a BP...
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William...
When a critically endangered North Atlantic right whale becomes entangled in...

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In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita aurita ) in the Chesapeake Bay, have become more common around the world for a number of different reasons . One result of these blooms is that there is...
There are many plastic nets floating in the world's ocean. Some of them were...
At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the...

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The Gulf oil spill is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Within days of the April 20, 2010 explosion and...
Artist Chris Jordan, who took these photos, is making a documentary about Laysan albatrosses on Midway Atoll and their plastic problem. Watch the trailer .
Marine debris--or trash that has washed or been dumped into our ocean and coastal areas--is not only unsightly but can also pose a serious hazard for humans and marine life. On Bonaire, beach-goers...
GRAND ISLE, La. -- Brown pelicans congregate on containment boom that surrounds Queen Bess Island, a few miles north of Grand Isle, Louisiana on August 25, 2010, a few months after the Deepwater...
More than 40 years after the 1969 oil spill in Massachusetts’ Wild Harbor salt marsh, environmental chemist Dr. Chris Reddy from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution finds that the oil is still...
In the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, what is the effect of oil on invertebrates like jellyfish, clams, crabs, sea stars, and plankton? The scope of the damage is more easily observed among birds...
Sit down with two veteran marine scientists, Dr. Nancy Knowlton and Dr. Jeremy Jackson, who fell in love with each other and the reefs of the Caribbean 40 years ago. Those reefs are now gone due to...
The Deepwater Horizon disaster has imperiled the ecosystem along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Most oil spills have occurred at the ocean surface. This one, originating at the ocean floor and rising up...
On April 27, 1986, an estimated 50,000 barrels of medium-weight crude oil drained from a ruptured storage tank at a refinery in Panama, polluting the coast and the Smithsonian Tropical Research...
Midway Atoll, where these photos were taken, is more than 2,000 miles from the nearest land.
Oil burns during a controlled fire on May 6, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Coast Guard oversaw oil burns after the sinking, and subsequent massive oil leak, from the Deepwater Horizon oil...
Researchers from the SOCAL-10 research partnership study the behavior of orcas (commonly called killer whales) and how they react to sonar. Read more in a blog post from one of the researchers.
The National Museum of Natural History's Department of Invertebrate Zoology has developed an online map that provides information about invertebrates in the National Collection from areas impacted by...
A diver cares for the reef by cleaning up discarded fishing gear and garbage. Even if you don't have scuba gear, you can help protect the ocean and coral reefs !
This photograph from a scanning electron micrograph shows the plastisphere up close. Here you can see a microbial reef forming on a tiny piece of plastic found in the open ocean. A variety of single-...
Sometimes called the rainforests of the sea, coral reefs are incredibly diverse and complicated systems. Because of this complexity, it can be a challenge to manage and protect reefs—and sometimes...
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