With the nuclear and humanitarian crisis in Japan, major political changes in North Africa and the Middle East, and heated budget battles here in the United States, you'd be forgiven for not remembering that nearly one year ago the Gulf of Mexico was dominating the news.

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 people and opening up a well that pumped nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the ocean. It was the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

One year later, where do things stand?

Join us next week as we seek answers from a panel of experts in a Live Webcast on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, at 6:30pm (EDT) from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Do you have questions about the status of wildlife and ecosystems, seafood, and where the oil went? Post them below and we'll forward to the panel. Please include your name and location. Tune in to hear the answers.

The panelists will include a veterinarian, a fisheries expert, a chemical oceanographer and an environmental engineer with an expertise on oil spill remediation. They'll discuss everything from performing triage on oil-covered birds to explaining where the crude went.

Dr. Nancy Knowlton, the Smithsonian’s Sant Chair for Marine Science and author of Citizens of the Sea, will moderate the conversation.

Want to do some more reading before sending in your questions? Here are some interesting places to start:

-  "Gulf's Complexity and Resilience Seen in Studies of Oil Spill," by Leslie Kaufman of The New York Times 

-  Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling. Report to the President, by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling 

The Fish & Wildlife section of the official U.S. website RestoreTheGulf.gov 

-  Gulf Coast oil spill background on the Ocean Portal