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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A beach clean-up in Malaysia brings young people together to care for their coastline.

DIVE DEEPER

How You Can Help the Ocean

The threats faced by our ocean planet may seem overwhelming. In the face of pollution, climate change, overfishing, and...

Ocean Acidification with Dr. Francisco Chavez

Dr. Francisco Chavez of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute estimates that a million tons of CO 2 enter the ocean hourly. His studies in Peru explore the phenomenon of ocean acidification, which occurs...

Good-Bye Gillnet, Hello Shark Recovery!

A thresher shark was killed after becoming stuck in a gillnet. Credit: Brian Skerry Imagine that you're a shark swimming beneath the surface, minding your own business, when—smack!—you swim right into a net. Entangled,...
Plastic bottles and other marine debris cover a rocky beach in Curacao.

Fighting Plastic From Every Angle

A still from a video documenting a remote beach in Curaçao that's been blanketed in plastic garbage. Credit: Cristina Castillo / Smithsonian Institution Ocean plastic comes in all shapes and sizes, from the flip-flops...
A pile of bycatch species.

Bycatch: The Cost of Catching What You Don’t Want

When people go out fishing, they often have something specific in mind, but it's very difficult to catch only what you're looking for. Pulling a net through the water or across the sea floor...

Cabo Pulmo – Giving Optimism to Coral Reefs

Video of World Heritage Biosphere Reserve On the east coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula lies a small marine protected area that represents one of the most impressive successes in ocean conservation. by Amanda...
The coastline of American Samoa National Marine Sanctuary

The Reefs of American Samoa: A Story of Hope

American Samoa National Marine Sanctuary comprises a fringing coral reef ecosystem nestled within an eroded volcanic crater on the island of Tutuila, American Samoa. Credit: Wendy Cover Sometimes called the rainforests of the sea,...

Exploring a Unique Biodiversity Hotspot In the Gulf of Maine

Cashes Ledge is a wild, special place in the heart of the Gulf of Maine. This underwater mountain range is home to a great diversity of life, with colors typically associated with a coral...

Beyond the Sea: How Oil Spills in the Ocean Affect Birds On Land

With their brown and yellow markings, seaside sparrows ( Ammodramus maritimus ) blend in well with marshgrass. Credit: Philip Stouffer, Louisiana State University In marshlands along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, it's...

How Methane Fueled a Food Web after the Gulf Oil Spill

The Johnson-Sea-Link submersible launches to study cold-water corals off Florida in 2009. Credit: ©2011arthowardphototography.com by Hannah Waters In August 1994, Mandy Joye dove to the deep sea in a submersible for the first time...

Building a Better Dispersant

A C-130 Hercules from the Air Force Reserve Command deploys dispersant into the Gulf of Mexico May 5, 2010, as part of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill response effort. Credit: U.S. Air Force, Tech...
A raindrop falls into a surface oil slick treated with chemical dispersant.

After the Oil Spill: Research Projects in the Gulf of Mexico with GoMRI

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) was formed as a 10-year independent research program with money provided by BP to fund an independent research program looking at the impact of oil spills on...

What If There Were No Sharks?

What would happen if we let our fear of sharks lead people to kill them all? This is the question Joe Hanson asks in this video from PBS Digital Studios. Find out about how...

Have We Hit The Chicken Little Point In Ocean Conservation?

Credit: Illustration from "Chicken Little" in the New Barnes Reader vol.1, New York, 1916 The sky is falling! The sky is falling! So cries Chicken Little (or Chicken Licken, or Henny Penny, depending on...
A diver clears the bottom of a cargo ship of specimens.

Unearthing Information About Invasives From the Bottom of a Cargo Ship

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) ecologist, Ian Davidson, is under the belly of a cargo ship collecting specimens. Credit: Laurie Penland, Smithsonian I am once again leaving my familiar world behind and descending into...

Rough Reputation: Are Invasive Species All Bad?

The vicious "killer shrimp." Credit: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory Pick up any news article about invasive species and you may confuse it with a police blotter. Generally, invasive species are "almost bulletproof"...
Nancy Rabalais

Five Questions with Nancy Rabalais, Tracking Dead Zones In the Gulf

The Gulf of Mexico is known for one of the world's largest “dead zones"—areas of low- or no-oxygen water along the seafloor that suffocate most animal life. The average size of the Gulf's dead...
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,...

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