Habitat Destruction

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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...
What is coral bleaching? These white corals in the Gulf of Mexico’s Flower...
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William...
The Oculina deep-sea coral reef at top has not been disturbed by humans—but...

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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...
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 Oculina deep-sea coral reef at top has not been disturbed by humans—but trawling has devastated the one at bottom. When fishermen trawl, they drag a net along the seafloor, destroying everything...
This mangrove island in the Pelican Cays, Belize, was clear-cut and filled with dredged sand and coral from the adjacent reef flat. Developers are clearing and dredging mangroves in an attempt to...
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (or the GBR as it is known to reef aficionados) stretches for more than 2,300 kilometers (over 1,429 miles) and can be seen from outer space. This largest barrier reef...
What is blue carbon? It's a term used to describe the carbon that is captured from the atmosphere by ocean ecosystems, mainly coastal mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes. These coastal areas can...
Coral reefs are beautiful, vibrant ecosystems that house roughly one quarter of all marine species and provide billions of dollars in products and services to humans each year. But they are also...
Red coral necklaces fill a store display window. The United States annually imports around one million live coral animals from tropical reefs for use in aquariums, and is the largest documented...
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...
It is a well-known fact that for animals living in the deep sea, food can be scarce. The food that is around usually rains down from above as dead animals and organic particles from plankton living...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Orange roughy ( Hoplostethus atlanticus ) is a deep ocean fish that grows and matures at a sluggish rate compared to most shallow water fish. They don't reproduce until they are at least 20 years old...
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...
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...
Mangroves thrive in hot, muddy, salty conditions that would kill most plants. But even these tough trees are threatened by human development. This lone mangrove shoot in South Bimini, Bahamas stands...
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, the harbor has received less tea and...
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