Restoring Habitats

A map of NOAA's 13 marine protected areas

The Marine Sanctuary: A Safe Harbor for Ocean Life

The National Marine Sanctuary system is a network of 13 marine protected areas managed by NOAA, in addition to the Papahānaumokuākea (Northwest Hawaiian Islands) Marine National Monument. Credit: NOAA, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries...
Oil Drilling Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf Oil Spill

The Gulf oil spill is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Within days of the April 20, 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of...
Nuclear bomb in Bikini Atoll

Naturally Resilient

Coral Reefs Can Recover From Disasters. How Can We Save Them From Us? by Michael Webster, Coral Reef Alliance In 1946, the US military tested nuclear bombs on a coral reef in the Pacific,...
Sunset over Boston Harbor

Signs of a Recovering Harbor

A sunset over Boston Harbor. Credit: Chesser1023 For more than two centuries, Boston Harbor has been a dumping ground. In 1773, colonists famously dumped shiploads of tea to protest taxes. But in recent decades,...
Hawaiian Monk Seal

Endangered Ocean Animals

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was signed into law on December 28, 1973 by President Nixon. Over 2,000 species are currently on the ESA, and they are separated into "Threatened" and "Endangered" species. Endangered...

Diving into the Sandstorm

A dredge from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can be seen removing a sandbar off of Virginia Beach, VA. Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Flickr Diving can be a wild ride that...

Five Questions for Richard Carson, Natural Resource Economist

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the water and onto the beaches of the remote ecosystem. Richard Carson...
A juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtle emerges from the nest

Taking the Temperature of the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle

Kemp's ridley sea turtles ( Lepidochelys kempii ) often emerge from their nests during the day, which is a rare (and dangerous) thing for sea turtle hatchlings! Credit: Terry Ross ( Flickr ) The...
Sunset over a fishing net.

Success Stories in Ocean Conservation

It is easy to feel hopeless when reading the news coverage of ocean conservation. Between climate change , acidification , pollution and overfishing, it often feels like the ocean and its biodiversity, which we...
Plastic bottles and other marine debris cover a rocky beach in Curacao.

Fighting Plastic From Every Angle

A still from a video documenting a remote beach in Curaçao that's been blanketed in plastic garbage. Credit: Cristina Castillo / Smithsonian Institution Ocean plastic comes in all shapes and sizes, from the flip-flops...

Miami Connects Art and Mangrove Restoration

In coastal towns and cities, vast areas now inhabited by super markets, houses, roads, parking lots, hotels and schools were once occupied by mangrove forests . Growing out of the ocean and onto the...

The Blue Halo – Barbuda and Beyond

By Charlotte Runzel A Barbudan fisherman with a fresh lobster catch! Credit: Blue Halo Initiative Papa Joe, the oldest fisherman on the Caribbean island of Barbuda, remembers when he could harvest conch in water...

Three Ways You Can Use Genomics to Study Oil Spill Impacts

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative researchers collect samples from a Pensacola Beach with oil layers in the sand. They use genomics to track how the communities of microbes change as they digest different components...
Cleaning up abandoned fishing nets

Upcycled Ocean Plastic

The Possibilities Are Endless For Reuse of Plastic Ocean Trash Here, workers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) remove discarded fishing nets from Midway Atoll in the Pacific. Though Norton Point doesn’t...

Living on the Edge: Mangroves

Mangroves are the biological buffers between land and sea. Without them, communities living along shorelines would be directly exposed to violent storm surge and erosion. Also crucial to fish communities, mangroves provide fertile nursery...
Mangroves on the edge of the water.

Mangrove Restoration: Letting Mother Nature Do The Work

Red mangroves form an impenetrable, protective barrier against storms and tsunamis. Credit: Smithsonian Institution By Hannah Waters The ecological importance of coastal mangrove forests is common knowledge today. The trees’ gnarled roots , submerged...

Bringing Back Tampa Bay’s Seagrass

Seagrasses are flowering plants that can form dense underwater meadows and are an important shallow water habitat. Credit: Heather Dine, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary By Hannah Waters Back in the 1970s, if any...
Photograph of an oiled brown pelican squatting on the beach.

Animals and the Oil Spill: What Can You Do?

A brown pelican, the Louisiana state bird, stands mired in oil in East Grand Terre on June 3, 2010. Credit: Office of the Governor of the State of Louisiana Lately we’ve been fielding questions...