The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is an expanding threat to ocean life—a threat that could ultimately extend well beyond the Gulf. From the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion to the July 15 placement of a temporary cap on the leaking well, the Department of the Interior estimates 35,000 to 60,000 barrels (1,470,000 to 2,520,000 gallons) of crude oil spilled into the Gulf daily. At the low end, that's enough to fill the Aquarium's Giant Ocean Tank around 600 times. Contamination has already spread to the Florida coast and is likely to move north along the Eastern Seaboard via the Loop Current by fall of this year.

Effects on Wildlife and Habitats

Every kind of marine animal in the Gulf of Mexico, from cetaceans (dolphins and whales), sea turtles and seabirds to single-celled plankton, could be affected by the oil contamination in the Gulf. Read more...

 

Animal Rescue Efforts

Sea turtles are being scooped out of the oil by rescuers on boats, then brought to a rescue field station for treatment. Oiled birds are transported to rehabilitation centers where they are bathed to remove oil from their feathers. Read more...

 

Effects on People

The coastal region of the Gulf of Mexico is one of the most celebrated and cherished natural spaces in the world. The people who live along the coast rely on healthy fisheries and clean beaches to sustain their way of life. Read more...

 

Effects on Environmental Policy

Hopefully this environmental disaster will serve as a wake-up call to the dangers of our continued dependence on fossil fuels, the risks of resource extraction in environmentally sensitive areas and the importance of a healthy ocean for wildlife, ecosystems and people. Read more...