Habitat Destruction

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It’s hard not to identify with penguins as they waddle about upright on land, clad in their tuxedo-like plumage. In their crowded breeding colonies, they squabble with and show off to their neighbors, sometimes...
The ocean is not as natural as it once was. Where there used to be large...
This mangrove island in the Pelican Cays, Belize, was clear-cut and filled with...
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Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (or the GBR as it is known to reef aficionados)...

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Compare the healthy coral on the left with the bleached coral on the right. Increased water temperatures caused the bleached coral to lose the microscopic algae that give the coral color and provide it with food. Corals can...
The Oculina deep-sea coral reef at top has not been disturbed by humans—but...
Blast fishing, when dynamite or other explosives are used to stun or kill...

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Coral reefs are beautiful, vibrant ecosystems that house roughly one quarter of all marine species and provide billions of...
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 Mexico that killed 11...
Diving can be a wild ride that evokes more than a little trepidation, especially in the Pacific Ocean's famously big, cold waves. Waves that are otherwise fun for my weekend surfing can turn a...
While the Ross Sea is perhaps the most pristine place left in the world’s ocean, the human footprint is fast changing this last place. Even as the effects of climate change are redefining the very...
Watch a recorded webcast about the latest efforts in Greece to study and save the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal. Centuries of human exploitation and habitat destruction have caused...
In 1872, the United States did something remarkable. We set aside one of our greatest natural treasures, Yellowstone National Park , for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. The logic was...
The Ross Sea, a 1.9 million square mile (3.6 million square km) stretch of ocean off the coast of Antarctica, has been nicknamed “ The Last Ocean .” And it’s not just a ploy to get your attention. In...
Endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles now have nearly 42,000 square miles of Pacific Ocean to call their own. Thanks to a decision in January 2012 by the National Marine Fisheries Service, these...
Monk seals -- the only completely tropical species of seal in the world -- are in trouble. Centuries of human exploitation and habitat destruction have caused the remaining populations of...
The Gulf of Mexico is known for one of the world's largest “dead zones"—areas of low- or no-oxygen water along the seafloor that suffocate most animal life. The average size of the Gulf's dead zone (...
Around 100 million years ago, grass from land adapted to live and reproduce while submerged in seawater—the modern-day seagrasses. This sea invasion by land plants happened four separate times,...
Follow researchers Candy Feller and Dennis Whigham from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center as they scramble, climb, crawl, and creep through the tangled roots of a mangrove forest. In this...
Compare the healthy coral on the left with the bleached coral on the right. Increased water temperatures caused the bleached coral to lose the microscopic algae that give the coral color and provide...
The ocean is not as natural as it once was. Where there used to be large predators that we took for sea monsters, now there are tiny fish and jellyfish. But there are a few untouched places left in...
The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred on March 24, 1989 when an oil tanker grounded on a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. It spilled almost 11 million gallons of crude oil, which reached 1,300...
This coral reef in the Western Pacific Ocean was killed by human input of silt and sand from nearby islands reaching the coral reef habitat. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in our Coral...
Phoenix’s mother, Stumpy (#1004), was killed in a collision with a ship near Virginia in February 2004. She was pregnant with her sixth known calf. More about whales can be found in our Tale of a...
This colorful coral lives in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. On the whole, this coral reef is the largest single structure built by living organisms and can be seen from space! Although more than one...
In California, the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary provides protection to Great White Sharks and other species. More about the great white shark can be found in our Great White Shark...
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