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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...
When a critically endangered North Atlantic right whale becomes entangled in...

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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...
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...
A Yellow spotted trevally struggles to free itself from a fisherman's discarded net. Discarded nets continue to fish long after they have been lost, devastating the local fish populations and choking...
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...
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...
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...
An estimated 5 tons of plastic are fed to albatross chicks each year at Midway Atoll.
Instead of adding castaway fishing nets to already crowded landfills, Hawaii’s multi-partner marine debris group has developed a method of converting marine debris into usable electricity. The Nets-...
A group of students pick up trash along the coast of Guyana during the Ocean Conservancy's 2012 Coastal Cleanup, which it organizes in countries around the world every year. In 2013, nearly 650,000...
Mark Dodd, a wildlife biologist from Georgia's Department of Natural Resources, surveying oiled sargassum seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Learn more about...
Boats trying to control the fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 21, 2010.
This video, produced by Waterlust, shows how the Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE) uses drifters to collect important data about the ocean...
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...
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...
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...
Part 4 of a 6-part series describing Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's efforts to understand the scope and impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "Searching for the...
Artist Chris Jordan, who took these photos, is making a documentary about Laysan albatrosses on Midway Atoll and their plastic problem. Watch the trailer .
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...
A scientist, Chris Reddy from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, collects oil-laden "sand patties" on a Louisiana beach two years after the oil spill. Watch a video of Chris Reddy talking about...
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