Conservation

More than ever, the fate of the ocean is in our hands. Learn about different threats to the ocean and its organisms, successful conservation stories, and what you can do to help.

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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...
A graph of arctic ice coverage from 2011, showing data through September 7, 2011.

Arctic Sea Ice: A New Low?

This graph of the Arctic sea ice coverage shows how close the year 2011 is to reaching a record-low. The graph contains data through September 7, 2011. The National Snow and Ice Data Center...
A student uses a marker to decorate a reusable lunch bag with ocean creatures

Teaching Your Students About Marine Debris: a Classroom Activity

A student decorates a reusable bag as part of "Design Your Own Bag," a marine debris activity hosted by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Credit: Smithsonian Institution Have you ever gone to...
The currents of the North Pacific gyre collect trash—mostly bits of microscopic plastic—into what are known as "garbage patches."

Ocean Trash Plaguing Our Sea

Garbage patches in the ocean aren't piled-up islands of trash and debris, as is the common perception. But that doesn't mean the tiny, swirling plastic bits are nothing to worry about. The currents of...
Phoenix rises out of the waters east of Cape Cod, MA, in April 2003.

Scientists Use Bioacoustics to Protect Marine Mammals

Marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, and seals have an amazing ability to hold their breaths—sometimes for up to two hours—while they dive deep to search for food and evade predators. In the cold,...
Polar bears are threatened by a lack of sea ice.

Climate Change at the Poles

Polar bears are threatened by the loss of sea ice in the Arctic. Credit: K. Elliott, NOAA, Hidden Ocean 2005 At the ends of the Earth, life thrives despite extreme conditions. In the Arctic...
A large ship flushes water from its ballast tanks while at sea

5 Invasive Species You Should Know

A ship flushes and refills its ballast task in mid-ocean to prevent marine organisms from moving from one port to another. Credit: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Regardless of what continent you live on, the...

Webcast: 'We Sea Change,' a Climate Change Education Video

What is climate change, and how is it affecting coastal Carolina? That is the question that a group of teens from Isaac Bear Early College High School set out to answer for their Third...

Light Painting Tutorial

What does a bioluminescent creature that lives more than two miles below the surface of the ocean and a glow stick have in common? More than you think. Bioluminescence is the process by which...
A light painted image of a hand-painted ceramic fish with light emitting from its mouth

Using Light Painting to Teach Bioluminescence

Watch this short video tutorial to learn how to do light painting. Painting with light is a photographic technique that can be used in the classroom to help students understand bioluminescence. What does a...

Sea Grapes: A Google Earth Tour

“Sea grapes” may sound like something Poseidon would snack on, and not a killer algae. Yet Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea poses a serious threat to marine life. Spread by the bilge water of boats...
Orange and red deep-sea corals.

Deep-Sea Corals: NOAA Education Plans & Activities

Explore deep-sea corals in "Corals in Cold Water?" an Ocean Portal feature co-developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Habitat Conservation's Habitat Protection Division , the Coral Reef Conservation Program and...
A newly hatched leatherback turtle moves in the sand.

Habitat for Leatherback Turtles

Endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles now have nearly 42,000 square miles of Pacific Ocean to call their own. Thanks to a decision in January 2012 by the National Marine Fisheries Service, these magnificent reptiles...
Sound artist Halsey Burgund performs his composition Ocean Voices.

Five Questions for Halsey Burgund, Creator of Ocean Voices

Real or imagined, everyone has a story about the ocean. In 2010 sound artist Halsey Burgund teamed up with marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols to record as many of these tales as they could...

World Oceans Day 2012 - Live Webcast

On World Oceans Day - June 8th, 2012 - the Living Oceans Foundation hosted a live web-based conversation between Sylvia Earle at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and a team of scientists...
Three dancers dependent on one another, as in the food web.

Dancing for the Oceans

Video of OCEAN: Out Of The Blue If you were choreographing a dance about the ocean, how would you do it? Would you dart around like a lobster in a hurry? Dive like a...
A variety of organisms make their home on this tropical coral reef in Indonesia.

Live from the Field: Bali, Indonesia

Exciting the next generation of scientists through research, education, and collaboration in the world's hotspot of biodiversity. A variety of organisms make their home on this tropical coral reef in Indonesia. Credit: © Chris...
Swimmers brave the waters in the shadow of a coal-fired power plant.  Coal plants like this one emit CO2 into our atmosphere which is warming the planet and altering the chemistry of the ocean.

Climate Change

Today, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in our atmosphere are the highest they've been in 15 million years. It's the cumulative impact of an ever-expanding population―7 billion people and rising―and an ever-increasing thirst for energy,...
David Barouh displays fresh fish for sale at Seattle’s Pike Place Market

Sustainable Seafood

As a consumer, you can choose what kinds of seafood to buy. Some species are in good supply and make excellent choices. Others have declined dramatically due to overfishing or environmental factors. Choosing those...

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