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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 scales, microbes such...
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Many animals depend on their eyes to navigate, find food, locate mates, and for...
At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the...
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It blew in for two solid days: a flotilla of plastic forks, soda bottles,...

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In this view of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill from above in June 2010, you can see bright orange oil floating on the ocean's surface on the left and, on the right, a thin layer of oil reflects the colors of the rainbow. However...
Sea turtles face many obstacles throughout their lives—net entanglement,...
In recent years, blooms of jellyfish, such as these moon jellies ( Aurita...

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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...
Oil leaks from cars and other vehicles contribute to ocean pollution.
On June 3, 2010 a brown pelican, the Louisiana state bird, stands mired in oil in East Grand Terre. According to reports, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was contacted, and...
If this chick had survived, it could have lived a long time. The oldest known wild bird is a 62-year old Laysan albatross named “Wisdom,” who still rears chicks on Midway Atoll.
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, opening up a well that pumped nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the ocean. It was the largest spill in U.S. history. In this presentation...
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill brought the world's attention to the Gulf of Mexico and raised awareness of the region's chronic loss of wetlands as well as the massive dead zone caused by...
There is a huge amount of plastic trash floating in the ocean, which endangers wildlife that eats or gets tangled in it. Reducing the amount of plastic trash in the ocean doesn't seem that hard;...
Laysan albatrosses will fly hundreds of miles to catch food to feed their chicks. Or, rather, what looks like food: sometimes they catch floating plastic instead.
Many animals depend on their eyes to navigate, find food, locate mates, and for other important activities. But marine mammals often rely on sound—sometimes far more than sight—for such critical...
It is a well-known fact that for animals living in the deep sea, food can be scarce. The food that is around usually rains down from above as dead animals and organic particles from plankton living...
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...
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...
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...
The plastic includes big pieces, such as bottle caps and cigarette lighters, as well as plastic confetti, indiscernible to the human eye.
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...
On April 27, 1986, an estimated 50,000 barrels of medium-weight crude oil drained from a ruptured storage tank at a refinery in Panama, polluting the coast and the Smithsonian Tropical Research...
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 the...
This photograph from a scanning electron micrograph shows the plastisphere up close. Here you can see a microbial reef forming on a tiny piece of plastic found in the open ocean. A variety of single-...
Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico impacts the coast at Pass a Loutre, La. Photo was taken on June 2, 2010. More about the Gulf oil spill can be found in our Gulf oil...
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