Pollution

Humans take a huge toll on the environment in a variety of forms. Small plastic pieces make their way to the ocean where they are consumed by fish. Oils spills occur and nutrient runoff can have a huge impact on coastal ecosystems.

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Seagrasses growing on the seafloor of the Chesapeake Bay rely on light to grow—but, thanks to pollution, that sunlight has become more scarce. Nutrient runoff from fertilizers causes microscopic algae (phytoplankton) to grow rapidly...
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We drove down a long dirt road on the northern side of Curaçao looking for a...
Marine mammals around the world face many challenges due to interactions with...
Blog entry MORE STORIES Blog entry MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
Slip into the water along a sheltered coast in nearly any part of the world and...

LATEST CATCH

In this view of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill from above in June 2010, you can see bright orange oil floating on the ocean's surface on the left and, on the right, a thin layer of oil reflects the colors of the rainbow. However...
Sea turtles face many obstacles throughout their lives—net entanglement,...
In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita...

DIVE DEEPER

The Gulf oil spill is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Within days of the April 20, 2010 explosion and...
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...
One study found that 97.5% of chicks had plastic in their stomachs, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium .
Sometimes, a tragic event can become a powerful teaching opportunity. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has the potential to capture students’ attention and stimulate discussion...
Jellyfish produce mucus, especially when stressed, which can interact with oil and break it down. This moon jellyfish is sloughing off mucus that has mixed with droplets of oil. Researchers from the...
Oceana ’s Pacific Science Director Jeff Short, an environmental chemist who formerly worked for NOAA on the Exxon Valdez spill, collects samples of mousse oil in the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater...
These cells are from a pygmy sperm whale in a laboratory culture dish. The red dyed cell are forming into fat cells after exposure to endocrine disruptors. GoMRI researchers are looking to see if oil...
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...
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...
By Emily Frost When oil spills in the ocean, slicks are the center of media attention because they do so much immediate harm to wildlife. Oil floating at the surface can harm fish, kill birds,...
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 (...
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...
Oil Spill Pioneers : A look back at the pioneers and oil spill research that stretches back more than four decades at WHOI. CREDIT: Justin E. Stumberg/U.S. Navy How Much Oil? : Scientists from WHOI...
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, opening up a well that pumped nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the ocean. It was the largest spill in U.S. history. In this presentation...
Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico impacts the coast at Pass a Loutre, La. Photo was taken on June 2, 2010. More about the Gulf oil spill can be found in our Gulf oil...
This roughly 300 foot long gill net was found abandoned on a shallow reef in the surf zone on Oahu, Hawaii. The net had trapped parrotfish, wrasses, goatfish, surgeonfish, coral crabs, spiny lobsters...
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...
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...
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...
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