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Since late April, the world has watched a devastating oil spill from a BP drilling rig spread throughout the Gulf of Mexico and become one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of...
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William...
When a critically endangered North Atlantic right whale becomes entangled in...
Seagrasses growing on the seafloor of the Chesapeake Bay rely on light to grow—...

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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...
Sometimes I think that our planet Earth, named for the Old English word for “dry land” (eorthe), should get a new name. Despite our knowledge that more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface is...
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...
One study found that 97.5% of chicks had plastic in their stomachs, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium .
Woods Hole scientists operate an ROV to sample the oil spewing from the ruptured Macondo Well. After the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico,...
An estimated 5 tons of plastic are fed to albatross chicks each year at Midway Atoll.
Oil leaks from cars and other vehicles contribute to ocean pollution.
Midway Atoll, where these photos were taken, is more than 2,000 miles from the nearest land.
Algae has overtaken this coral reef off heavily populated Kiritimati, or Christmas Island. Few fish swim in the murky waters. The causes include pollution, overfishing, and increased water...
While conducting field work in Curaçao in 2011, Smithsonian researchers encountered trash along remote beaches and deep in the water column. This video gives a brief glimpse of some of the marine...
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 couldn’t tell...
A tiny yellow goby, Lubricogobius exiguus , living inside an abandoned can on the seafloor; Suruga Bay, Japan
Any floating object in the ocean tends to attract life; fishermen know this and deploy floating buoys to concentrate fish for harvesting. Plastic marine debris is no different and, at microscopic...
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the water and onto the beaches of the remote ecosystem. Richard Carson...
Ocean debris is a global problem that is slowly destroying the biological aspect of our waters. With the help of our communities we can start making the right decisions to keep our oceans clean and...
These bits and pieces of plastic are drying in a petri dish before they are archived. They were collected in nets from the open ocean.
These tiny shells are the foraminifera Globobulimina affinis , found on the seafloor throughout the Atlantic Ocean. What makes this foram noteworthy is that it can survive where other forams can't:...
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...
In the Pacific Ocean, four ocean currents merge to form the North Pacific gyre, also known as the North Pacific Subtropical High, which spans the western US to Japan, and Hawaii to California. This...
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