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Photo of the Week

Featuring images from the Marine Photobank, these Photo of the Week stories highlight ocean issues as well as the ability of visual media to promote ocean conservation. Would you like see one of your images as a Photo of the Week? Please become a contributing member of the Marine Photobank and let your photos work on behalf of the ocean.

Perilous Plastics
Plastic from North Pacific Gyre: Photo of the Week
James Leichter/Marine Photobank
A swirl of currents collects marine debris and has formed a great "garbage patch" in the North Pacific Ocean. These jellyfish-like hydrozoans swimming in a cloud of plastic pieces are among the many marine animals that this debris affects. Each year, thousands of seabirds, turtles and other marine animals die from ingesting garbage such as this because they mistake it for food. Seabirds even feed it to their young, which then die from starvation as the debris fills their stomachs.

The Once and Future Arctic?
Mountains at the northern entrance to Magdalena Fjorden: Photo of the Week
Thomas Hallermann/Marine Photobank
Near-pristine areas such as these icy waters of a nature reserve in Svalbard, Norway, have drawn tourists because its shores are mainly ice-free during the summer and parts of the spring and autumn. However, much more of the Arctic may become so, drawing visitors and ships if waters continue to warm and sea ice extent shrinks. This past November, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that Arctic sea ice extent briefly reached the lowest on record for this time of year. In 2009, two German cargo ships traveled freely without the aide of its accompanying icebreaker through the Northern Sea Route along the Arctic coast of Russia, and a Russian company says it will ship oil via this route beginning in 2010.