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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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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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...

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...
By Emily Frost You’ve probably heard of genetics—you can now swab your mouth and use DNA to find information about your ancestry going back hundreds to thousands of years or see if you have a...
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...
Bonaire, a small Caribbean island just north of Venezuela, is routinely ranked as a top diving destination in the world. But there's something getting in the way of beautiful dives: plastic trash...
The impacts of derelict fishing gear on the Northwest Hawaiian Islands coral reef ecosystem are numerous. A primary effect of reef entanglement is structural damage to the coral substrate that...
Oil burns during a controlled fire on May 6, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Coast Guard oversaw oil burns after the sinking, and subsequent massive oil leak, from the Deepwater Horizon oil...
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...
A placard warns residents that water—and anything else—that goes own this storm drain makes its way into the Potomac River and, eventually the ocean.
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...
Part 5 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. "Tracking the Currents...
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...
By now, you have probably heard of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch . The name conjures the image of a floating island made of familiar plastic trash such as soda bottles and plastic bags, disposable...
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill , ocean acidification, and the decline of fish stocks are just three of the topics that renowned ocean scientist, Dr. Jeremy Jackson discusses in this talk, recorded...
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...
American Samoa National Marine Sanctuary comprises a fringing coral reef ecosystem nestled within an eroded volcanic crater on the island of Tutuila, American Samoa. The 163-acre sanctuary—the...
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...
In marshlands along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, it's easy to hear the sharp, buzzing calls of seaside sparrows ( Ammodramus maritimus )—even if they can be hard to spot. These five-inch, brown...
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...
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...
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