Smithsonian Institution's blog

State of Emergency in the Gulf

Gulf Coast oil spill

The explosion of Deepwater Horizon, an oil-drilling platform roughly 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, is quickly growing into an environmental disaster that will leave its mark on coastal communities, fisheries, wildlife, and ecosystems along the Gulf Coast for decades to come.

The Spin on Sharks

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark
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Starting this Sunday, August 1st, the fins will be circling on a television near you. Sunday kicks off The Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” an annual TV ritual that offers hours of programming about sharks—some bloody, some beautiful, some scientific, some sensational.

You Navigate

Blue-footed Booby
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We chose the tagline “You navigate” for the Ocean Portal in part because we really want you—the visitors to the site—to help steer the course. We hope you find your own intriguing paths to explore the OP as it exists now, but we’re also looking for input to help guide the site’s development in the months and years ahead.

We’d like to call your attention to three ways you can easily speak your mind:

Help us pick the next OP stars

Polar bears at play
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The race is on. We need to choose the next species and ecosystem to feature on the Ocean Portal, and we’re putting it to a vote. Does the charismatic (and threatened) polar bear deserve the spot or should the humble (and bizarre) sea cucumber finally be thrust into the limelight? Want to slosh with us through the salt marsh next or swim among the giant kelp? We need more votes to decide, and you could be the one to tip the scales. Cast your ballot for your favorite ocean species and ecosystem, and stay tuned for the results.

The results are in...

Great White Up Close
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In September, during the Sant Ocean Hall's first anniversary celebration, the Ocean Portal Team hit the museum floor to tell visitors about the OP and get some early feedback. Let's face it, we spend a lot of time at our computers, so we were very excited to meet people face-to-face. We asked visitors to vote on which ocean creature they'd like to see featured next on the portal: Chinook salmon, great white sharks, vent worms, or moon jellies. For those who couldn’t visit us in person, we also opened the voting up on our Facebook fan page.

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