Human impacts

A variety of organisms make their home on this tropical coral reef in Indonesia.

Coral Reefs Need You

A variety of organisms make their home on this tropical coral reef in Indonesia. Credit: © Chris Newbert/Minden Pictures For those of you who have had the opportunity to visit a coral reef ,...

Shark Fin Genetics

Dr. Demian Chapman of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at New York’s Stony Brook University explains how DNA extraction from shark fins can identify the species of shark and where the shark was...

Don't Feed Wild Dolphins

A Twelve-Step group for wild animals with people-food addictions? Don’t be responsible for getting a dolphin hooked on human handouts! This cartoon satire portrays a dolphin trying to break his addiction. Marine mammals around...
Cut of Atlantic Salmon on a Plate

Love Salmon? Listen Up.

A beautiful cut of Atlantic salmon, a popular species among seafood lovers that is in severe decline. Credit: Flickr User Kent Wang (Creative Commons) Salmon are one of the most widely loved varieties of...

Ocean Acidification in the Puget Sound

Scientists predict that ocean acidification will impact communities around the world. One of them is the Suquamish Nation , an American Indian tribe on the Puget Sound, in the Pacific Northwest. Students from the...

2011 Student Summit on the Ocean & Coasts Webcast, Part 5: Jean-Michel Cousteau

Recorded on Feb. 15, 2011, award-winning ocean filmmaker Jean-Michel Cousteau addresses students and educators at the Third Student Summit on the Ocean and Coasts . Cousteau, president of the Ocean Futures Society, discusses climate...

Science in a Time of Crisis: Assessing the Impacts

Part 6 of a 6-part series describing WHOI's efforts to understand the scope and impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "Assessing the Impacts" describes a range of work...
Large container ships at port, discharging ballast water in the Port of Oakland

Reducing the Risk of Transporting Invasive Species

Busy shipping areas, like the Port of Oakland, are especially vulnerable to invading species that can be carried in ballast water. Credit: Monaca Noble, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center When people sail the sea, marine...
An algal bloom, also known as a red tide, has converted the ocean's surf to a red color

Scientists Work to Predict and Prevent Algae Blooms

Harmful algal blooms are dangerous, producing toxins that can kill marine organisms, taint shellfish, cause skin irritations, and even foul the air Credit: Flickr User AJC1 Algae, like all organisms, normally grow in balance...
Can painted wooden fish.

Chinook Salmon: One Species at a Time

Can painted wooden fish on a schoolyard fence change human behavior and help clean up the ocean for the real salmon? Stream of Dreams in British Columbia thinks so, and a lot of wooden...
J. Murray Roberts studies and maps the cold-water corals known as Lophelia in the North Atlantic.

Exploring the Blue Planet with J. Murray Roberts

J. Murray Roberts studies and maps the cold-water corals known as Lophelia in the North Atlantic, where the bases of some coral mounds are 2.6 million years old. Credit: Sebastian Hennige Imagine you’re an...
Amy Baco-Taylor

Amy Baco-Taylor: Passionate about Deep-Sea Corals

Dr. Amy Baco-Taylor dives to deep-sea environments to study corals and the invertebrates that live on them. Two events made me passionate about deep-sea corals . One was my first submarine dive in a...

Coral Scientist Brendan Roark: On an Urgent Mission

Dr. Brendan Roark discusses different methods of sampling deep-sea corals with undergraduate students at Texas A&M University. Credit: James LaCombe Deep-sea coral beds are true biodiversity hotspots. It’s urgent that we study these extreme...

Researching Invasive Species Near the Panama Canal

If you want to study invasive species in the ocean, the Panama Canal offers a lot to explore. The ships passing through can inadvertently transport plants, animals, and even parasites from the Atlantic into...
The dwarf lantern shark sits in a human hand.

5 Reasons to Revere, Not Fear, the Shark

Over the years, sharks have gotten a bad rap as bloodthirsty man-eaters. We challenge you to take a second look at these magnificent creatures and to fight fear with facts. Here are five reasons...
Sea bass flock to a tropical coral reef in the Red Sea.

5 Simple Things You Can Do for the Ocean

More than ever, the fate of the ocean is in our hands. To be good stewards and leave a thriving ocean for future generations, we need to make changes big and small wherever we...
A student uses a marker to decorate a reusable lunch bag with ocean creatures

Teaching Your Students About Marine Debris: a Classroom Activity

A student decorates a reusable bag as part of "Design Your Own Bag," a marine debris activity hosted by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Credit: Smithsonian Institution Have you ever gone to...
The currents of the North Pacific gyre collect trash—mostly bits of microscopic plastic—into what are known as "garbage patches."

Ocean Trash Plaguing Our Sea

Garbage patches in the ocean aren't piled-up islands of trash and debris, as is the common perception. But that doesn't mean the tiny, swirling plastic bits are nothing to worry about. The currents of...