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diver enjoying Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Marine Sanctuaries: Safe Harbors for Ocean Treasures

From the chilly waves on Washington's Olympic Coast to the warm shallows ringing the Florida Keys, our National Marine Sanctuaries help safeguard ocean resources and wildlife. Like national parks of the sea, these marine reserves are a key tool in protecting everything from historical shipwrecks to imperiled ecosystems.

ocean listening device

Ocean Eavesdropping: Scientist Use their Ears to Protect Marine Mammals

Marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, and seals have an amazing ability to hold their breaths while they dive deep to search for food and avoid predators. Because these deep divers spend much time out of sight, scientists in the field of "bioacoustics" are using their ears to study and protect marine mammals, like the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

shellfish bed closure sign

Fighting Slime: Scientists Work to Predict and Prevent Algae Blooms

In the ocean, microscopic forms of algae can "bloom" into dense patches near the surface, often referred to as "red tides." Some algal blooms are dangerous, producing toxins that can kill marine organisms, taint shellfish, or foul the air. Scientists from the Gulf of Maine to the Puget Sound are developing systems to track and predict harmful algal blooms.

ship emptying its basllast tanks

Flushing Out High-Seas Hitchhikers

When a ship leaves port without cargo, it fills large tanks with water to keep its balance. At the next port, the ship pumps out the water before loading cargo, transferring millions of tiny marine animals to a new location. Sometimes these hitchhikers disrupt the new ecosystem or crowd out local species. But scientists are finding innovative ways to reduce the number of non-native animals carried by ships.

a diver cleans up marine debris

What You Can Do

The threats faced by our ocean planet may seem overwhelming. In the face of pollution, climate change, overfishing, and other daunting problems, what you can do on your own may seem like a drop in the bucket. But if we begin working together now, we can make a huge difference. Here are some ways to get started.


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