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It blew in for two solid days: a flotilla of plastic forks, soda bottles, rubber gloves, and other refuse. I tried to pick everything up off the beach, but when I turned around, you...
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Since late April, the world has watched a devastating oil spill from a BP...
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William...

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Watch how a group of 9 staff members and 487 volunteers from Washed Ashore , a non-profit in Bandon, Oregon, made "Flash" the marlin―an enormous sculpture that weighs in at 850 pounds. The work of art is made only from pieces of...
For centuries, the Baltic Sea has provided European flounder ( Platichthys...
In the ocean, microscopic forms of algae, known as dinoflagellates , can "...

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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...
Laysan albatrosses ( Phoebastria immutabilis ) are incredible birds. They have a wingspan of more than 6 feet, soaring vast distances without flapping their wings. They can go years without even...
When oil gushed out of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in spring and summer 2010, it was all anyone could talk about. Several years on, it’s much further from our minds—but that...
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 .
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...
This photograph from a scanning electron micrograph shows the plastisphere up close. Here you can see a microbial reef forming on a tiny piece of plastic found in the open ocean. A variety of single-...
Part 1 of a 6-part series describing WHOI's efforts to understand the scope and impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "Oil Spill Pioneers" describes WHOI's four decades of...
Marine ecologist Dr. Jeremy Jackson and a team of researchers conducted an in-depth study of the effects of a 1986 oil spill on the coast of Panama. In this video , Dr. Jackson discusses the study,...
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 .
The plastic includes big pieces, such as bottle caps and cigarette lighters, as well as plastic confetti, indiscernible to the human eye.
On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the oil-drilling rig Deepwater Horizon caused the largest marine oil spill in US history, gushing nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil over the course of three...
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...
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...
There are many plastic nets floating in the world's ocean. Some of them were lost at sea by fishers; others were discarded overboard when they ripped or became tangled. Regardless, once they are...
Researchers from the SOCAL-10 research partnership study the behavior of orcas (commonly called killer whales) and how they react to sonar and other noisy human activities. The partnership is...
Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) workers contracted by BP clean up oil on the beach in Port Fourchon, La. May 23, 2010. Hundreds of HSE contract workers cleaned up oil from the Deepwater Horizon...
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...
At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the effect of excess nutrients on mangrove swamps. Feller runs the Animal-Plant Interaction Lab at the Smithsonian...
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.
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