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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,...
In the Pacific Ocean, four ocean currents merge to form the North Pacific gyre...
On April 27, 1986, an estimated 50,000 barrels of medium-weight crude oil...
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As a research diver for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of my...

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For centuries, the Baltic Sea has provided European flounder ( Platichthys flesus ) and other fish for millions of people to consume. Since the early 1980s, the nations surrounding the sea have coordinated their efforts to...
In the ocean, microscopic forms of algae, known as dinoflagellates , can "...
In the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, what is the effect of oil on...

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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...
You are not alone if you don’t know what forams (short for foraminifera) are, so let’s start with the basics. Simply put, forams are single-celled organisms related to the familiar amoeba that...
In the ocean, microscopic forms of algae, known as dinoflagellates , can "bloom" into dense patches near the surface, often referred to as "red tides." Some of these harmful algal blooms (HABs) are...
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...
The Gulf oil spill is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Within days of the April 20, 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11...
2012 marked the 70th anniversary of a series of World War II battles in the Pacific Ocean and on its islands, which are collectively known as the “Pacific theatre.” While the battles are long over,...
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...
Lately we’ve been fielding questions from Smithsonian visitors wondering how they can help with the oil spill cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico. If there is any good news coming out of this situation, it...
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...
A young Kemp's ridley sea turtle ( Lepidochelys kempii ) recovers at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Turtles were cleaned and nursed back to health with...
Laysan albatross chicks are fed and raised by their parents for 180 days, until they are almost fully grown. Some older “chicks” are as large as their parents!
Boats trying to control the fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 21, 2010.
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...
For centuries, the Baltic Sea has provided European flounder ( Platichthys flesus ) and other fish for millions of people to consume. Since the early 1980s, the nations surrounding the sea have...
Ocean plastic comes in all shapes and sizes, from the flip-flops and bottles that drift off to sea to the teeny-tiny micro-plastics smaller than grains of sand. No matter the size, plastic in the...
We drove down a long dirt road on the northern side of Curaçao looking for a remote place to snorkel and sample. After a 30-minute bumpy ride, our team stepped out of the car into a breeze and the...
Oil leaks from cars and other vehicles contribute to ocean pollution.
We all know to avoid touching or eating oil (the fossil fuel variety that is). But after a coastal oil spill, avoiding oil can be difficult if you live near the sea or rely on it for protein or your...
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