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Plastic trash floats in the waters off the Smithsonian's Carrie Bow Cay field station , in Belize. This image is a still taken from a video recorded by Laurie Penland, a Smithsonian dive officer .
More than 40 years after the 1969 oil spill in Massachusetts’ Wild Harbor salt...
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Laysan albatrosses ( Phoebastria immutabilis ) are incredible birds. They have...
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2012 marked the 70th anniversary of a series of World War II battles in the...

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In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita aurita ) in the Chesapeake Bay, have become more common around the world for a number of different reasons . One result of these blooms is that there is...
There are many plastic nets floating in the world's ocean. Some of them were...
At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the...

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The Gulf oil spill is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Within days of the April 20, 2010 explosion and...
There is a huge amount of plastic trash floating in the ocean, which endangers wildlife that eats or gets tangled in it. Reducing the amount of plastic trash in the ocean doesn't seem that hard;...
Reef biologists over a certain age are haunted by memories of what glorious places Caribbean reefs once were. In our youth we studied them for all sorts of reasons but scarcely thought about reef...
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 are. To make a positive...
The plastic includes big pieces, such as bottle caps and cigarette lighters, as well as plastic confetti, indiscernible to the human eye.
Dr. Chris Reddy, an environmental chemist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution studies the long-term impacts of oil spills. Watch as he digs beneath the surface in Massachusetts’ Wild Harbor...
Marine debris damages habitat, entangles wildlife, helps transport invasive species, and harms marine animals that mistakenly ingest the trash thinking it is food. As part of the Smithsonian's Art's...
A diver cares for the reef by cleaning up discarded fishing gear and garbage. Even if you don't have scuba gear, you can help protect the ocean and coral reefs !
Researchers from the SOCAL-10 research partnership study the behavior of orcas (commonly called killer whales) and how they react to sonar. Read more in a blog post from one of the researchers.
Many animals depend on their eyes to navigate, find food, locate mates, and for other important activities. But marine mammals often rely on sound—sometimes far more than sight—for such critical...
Laysan albatrosses will fly hundreds of miles to catch food to feed their chicks. Or, rather, what looks like food: sometimes they catch floating plastic instead.
On April 27, 1986, an estimated 50,000 barrels of medium-weight crude oil drained from a ruptured storage tank at a refinery in Panama, polluting the coast and the Smithsonian Tropical Research...
The impacts of derelict fishing gear on the Northwest Hawaiian Islands coral reef ecosystem are numerous. A primary effect of reef entanglement is structural damage to the coral substrate that...
Sometimes called the rainforests of the sea, coral reefs are incredibly diverse and complicated systems. Because of this complexity, it can be a challenge to manage and protect reefs—and sometimes...
The National Museum of Natural History's Department of Invertebrate Zoology has developed an online map that provides information about invertebrates in the National Collection from areas impacted by...
We drove down a long dirt road on the northern side of Curaçao looking for a remote place to snorkel and sample. After a 30-minute bumpy ride, our team stepped out of the car into a breeze and the...
Dark brown oil floods a marsh on the Mississippi Delta after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on May 18, 2010. More about the Gulf oil spill can be found in our Gulf oil spill featured story .
On June 3, 2010 a brown pelican, the Louisiana state bird, stands mired in oil in East Grand Terre. According to reports, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was contacted, and...
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...
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