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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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For centuries, the Baltic Sea has provided European flounder ( Platichthys flesus ) and other fish for millions of people to consume. Since the early 1980s, the nations surrounding the sea have coordinated their efforts to...
In the ocean, microscopic forms of algae, known as dinoflagellates , can "...
In the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, what is the effect of oil on...

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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...
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...
From a distance, Henry the Fish looks like a typical quirky and colorful sculpture you'd find in a small beach town. But when you look up close, Henry begins to change. His bright yellow and red...
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...
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.
2012 marked the 70th anniversary of a series of World War II battles in the Pacific Ocean and on its islands, which are collectively known as the “Pacific theatre.” While the battles are long over,...
More than 40 years after the 1969 oil spill in Massachusetts’ Wild Harbor salt marsh, environmental chemist Dr. Chris Reddy from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution finds that the oil is still...
The Deepwater Horizon disaster has imperiled the ecosystem along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Most oil spills have occurred at the ocean surface. This one, originating at the ocean floor and rising up...
Workers contracted by BP load oily waste onto a trailer on Elmer's Island, just west of Grand Isle, La., May 21, 2010. More about the Gulf oil spill can be found in our Gulf oil spill featured story .
Striped dolphins ( Stenella coeruleoalba ) observed in emulsified oil on April 29, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, a few days after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It's going to take years to understand...
When a critically endangered North Atlantic right whale becomes entangled in fishing gear, members of a response team from the Atlantic Large Whale Disentanglement Network spring into action. In the...
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...
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...
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 !
Marine mammals around the world face many challenges due to interactions with people, from overfishing and entanglement to vessel strikes and disturbance from human sounds. Dr. Brandon Southall...
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 (...
Bonny Schumaker, cofounder of the nonprofit On Wings of Care, flies over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill area every few weeks to survey for wildlife -- and on April 6, 2012, when this picture was taken...
Sabrina Taylor, a wildlife biologist at Louisiana State University and lead scientist for the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, releases a seaside sparrow ( Ammodramus maritimus ) in the Louisiana...
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...
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