Marine Life

A tiny larval (baby) starfish.

The Invisible Loss: The Impacts of Oil You Do Not See

A tiny larval (baby) starfish. Credit: Dr. Allison J. Gong, UC Santa Cruz Since late April, the world has watched a devastating oil spill from a BP drilling rig spread throughout the Gulf of Mexico and become one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the United States. We have all seen some of the impacts on large animals: birds, turtles, dolphins, and fishes have all been shown covered in oil with clogged gills, feathers and fins. Undoubtedly, the imagery of these familiar and normally photogenic animals is a powerful, heartbreaking reminder of the damage being done in the...Read more
A diver swims amidst a school of fish.

Taking the Ocean Personally

Last week, we began asking visitors to the Ocean Portal a simple question: “How do you feel about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?" We’ve received one Haiku and a slew of other interesting answers . Many people mourned the loss of wildlife, habitats, and ways-of-life. Many expressed frustration and a sense of helplessness. But perhaps the most interesting theme among the answers was a sense that we all can—and indeed must—do more to protect the ocean. I am “thinking very hard about the choices I make about energy use,” wrote one visitor. “I need to protect what I can,” wrote another. A...Read more
Students share a microscope to get a closer look at plankton samples from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

A Current Event in the Classroom: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Students share a microscope to get a closer look at plankton samples from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Credit: Seaberry Nachbar, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Sometimes, a tragic event can become a powerful teaching opportunity. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has the potential to capture students’ attention and stimulate discussion on topics like: • biology and ecology (How will the oil effect wildlife and the environment?), • physics and chemistry (How do water conditions, currents, and weather affect the way the oil disperses? What techniques and materials can...Read more

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