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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Oil Drilling Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

DIVE DEEPER

Gulf Oil Spill

The Gulf oil spill is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Within days of the April 20, 2010 explosion and...
Satellite view of Earth.

Earth Day, Spawned from the Sea

If the Earth is viewed from this side, uncommonly shown, it looks much more like a blue ocean planet than a green land-filled one. Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project Sometimes I think that our planet...
Tiny jellies in a petri dish.

Fishing for Plastic: Science in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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,...

Bugs and Slugs: The Hidden Secret to Healthy Seagrasses

Neptune grass ( Posidonia oceanica ) is a slow-growing and long-lived seagrass native to the Mediterranean. Credit: Gaynor Rosier/Marine Photobank Slip into the water along a sheltered coast in nearly any part of the...

How Jellyfish Break Down Oil After a Spill

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. Credit: Brad Gemmell By Emily...

The Making of a Marlin

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...

How Laws Around the World Help Improve Ocean Health

Solving environmental problems often starts with small groups of people working to make things better. But to sustain and scale up environmental successes often requires government support. The Ocean Portal has joined with Earthjustice...

Three Ways You Can Use Genomics to Study Oil Spill Impacts

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative researchers collect samples from a Pensacola Beach with oil layers in the sand. They use genomics to track how the communities of microbes change as they digest different components...

Do You Have The Answer? Sharing Big Data in the Gulf of Mexico

Sharing is something that is encouraged from the beginning of our lives, whether it be toys with our friends and siblings or “show and tell” at school. But as we grow up, sharing can...
A sculpture of a giant octopus made of ocean debris

Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea

Octavia embodies the curiosity and intelligence characteristic of the octopus. She inquisitively tinkers and plays with her surrounding environment. Credit: Washed Ashore While we don't know exactly how much trash is afloat in the...
The colorful parrotfish sculpture is made entirely of ocean plastic trash.

Turning Ocean Trash to Treasure

Decided you want to make a difference? World Ocean Day is a great day to begin! You can start with a few simple changes .
Cleaning up abandoned fishing nets

Upcycled Ocean Plastic

The Possibilities Are Endless For Reuse of Plastic Ocean Trash Here, workers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) remove discarded fishing nets from Midway Atoll in the Pacific. Though Norton Point doesn’t...

Seagrasses and Light in the Chesapeake Bay

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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From Larvae to Adults – Finding Impacts of an Oil Spill on Mahi Mahi

A school of mahi mahi (or dolphinfish). Credit: © Tony Ludovico By Emily Frost For a month during the summer of 2016, Lela Schlenker spent several hours in the dead of night watching mahi...
A bloom of moon jellies.

A Bloom of Moon Jellies

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...

Sea Turtles Return to the Sea

Sea turtles face many obstacles throughout their lives—net entanglement, light pollution, mistaking plastic for food—among the many that are caused by humans. Get a glimpse of what goes on behind-the-scenes of a sea turtle...

Investigating Nutrient Pollution's Impact on Mangroves

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 Environmental Research Center...

Turning Nets Into Carpet

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 adrift,...

Impacts of Marine Debris

Human-created debris finds its way to some of the most remote corners of the globe – even at the bottom of the ocean. Many ocean creatures injest and get entangled in the plastics, rubbers...

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