National Marine Sanctuaries photos


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North Pacific humpback whales, a mother and calf pair swim closely together just under the surface of the ocean.  The calf will remain with its mother for about a year, migrating from Hawaii to Alaska to feed on herring, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui North Pacific humpback whale, breach, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Humpback whale breaching with pectoral fins lifting spray from the ocean surface, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Hawaiian spinner dolphin, resting herd swimming along reef, Stenella longirostris, Lanai Water falling from the fluke (tail) of a humpback whale as the whale dives to forage for food in the Santa Barbara Channel, Megaptera novaeangliae, Santa Rosa Island, California Adult male humpback whale singing, suspended motionless underwater.  Only male humpbacks have been observed singing.  All humpbacks in the North Pacific sing the same whale song each year, and the song changes slightly from one year to the next, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Humpback whale mother, calf (top), male escort (rear), underwater.  A young humpback calf typically swims alongside or above its mother, and male escorts will usually travel behind the mother, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Adult male humpback whale bubble streaming underwater.  The male escort humpback whale seen here is emitting a curtain of bubbles as it swims behind a female (left) during a competitive group.  The bubble curtain may be meant as warning or visual obstruction to other male whales interested in the mother, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Adult male humpback whale bubble streaming underwater.  The male escort humpback whale seen here is emitting a curtain of bubbles as it swims behind a mother and calf.  The bubble curtain may be meant as warning or visual obstruction to other nearby male whales interested in the mother, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui North Pacific humpback whale, escort in competitive group makes fast close pass, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Bull elephant seal exits the water to retake his position on the beach.  He shows considerable scarring on his chest and proboscis from many winters fighting other males for territory and rights to a harem of females.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon California sea lion, underwater at Santa Barbara Island.  Santa Barbara Island, 38 miles off the coast of southern California, is part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park.  It is home to a large population of sea lions, Zalophus californianus Northern fur seal swims through the cold waters and kelp forest of San Miguel Island, in California's northern Channel Islands, Callorhinus ursinus A neonate gray whale calf, born just hours before, still exhbiting embryonic folds in the skin along its side.  This baby gray whale was born in the cold waters of Big Sur, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place, Eschrichtius robustus, Monterey Kelp frond showing pneumatocysts, Macrocystis pyrifera, Santa Barbara Island California sea lions, socializing/resting, Webster Point rookery, Santa Barbara Island, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, Zalophus californianus North Pacific humpback whale, peduncle throw, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui California sea lions, underwater at Santa Barbara Island.  Santa Barbara Island, 38 miles off the coast of southern California, is part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park.  It is home to a large population of sea lions, Zalophus californianus California sea lions, underwater at Santa Barbara Island.  Santa Barbara Island, 38 miles off the coast of southern California, is part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park.  It is home to a large population of sea lions, Zalophus californianus Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight in the surf for access for mating females that are in estrous.  Such fighting among elephant seals can take place on the beach or in the water.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California Adult male humpback whale singing, suspended motionless underwater.  Only male humpbacks have been observed singing.  All humpbacks in the North Pacific sing the same whale song each year, and the song changes slightly from one year to the next, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Humpback whale competitive group, underwater, swimming quickly and one trailing a stream of bubbles, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Large competitive group of humpback whales seen underwater, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Adult male humpback whale bubble streaming underwater.  The male escort humpback whale seen here is emitting a curtain of bubbles as it swims behind a mother and calf.  The bubble curtain may be meant as warning or visual obstruction to other nearby male whales interested in the mother, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui North Pacific humpback whales, part of a larger competitive group of humpbacks, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui North Pacific humpback whale, peduncle throw, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Polyp of a strawberry anemone (club-tipped anemone, more correctly a corallimorph), Corynactis californica, San Miguel Island Pacific bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, Maui Sea otters mating.  The male holds the female's head or nose with his jaws during copulation. Visible scars are often present on females from this behavior.  Sea otters have a polygynous mating system. Many males actively defend territories and will mate with females that inhabit their territory or seek out females in estrus if no territory is established. Males and females typically bond for the duration of estrus, or about 3 days, Enhydra lutris, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California Male elephant seals (bulls) rear up on their foreflippers and fight for territory and harems of females.  Bull elephant seals will haul out and fight from December through March, nearly fasting the entire time as they maintain their territory and harem.  They bite and tear at each other on the neck and shoulders, drawing blood and creating scars on the tough hides.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon Adult male humpback whale singing, suspended motionless underwater.  Only male humpbacks have been observed singing.  All humpbacks in the North Pacific sing the same whale song each year, and the song changes slightly from one year to the next, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Humpback whale competitive group, several adult male escort whales swimming closely together as part of a larger competitive group, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui North Pacific humpback whales, socializing trio of adults, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui A California sea lion plays with a piece of kelp, underwater at Santa Barbara Island.  Santa Barbara Island, 38 miles off the coast of southern California, is part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park.  It is home to a large population of sea lions, Zalophus californianus North Pacific humpback whales, a mother and young calf swim near scientific research divers, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui California sea lion, with monofiliment cut, Zalophus californianus, Monterey Gray whale, blow, Eschrichtius robustus, Big Sur, California Humpback whale competitive group, several adult male escort whales swimming closely together as part of a larger competitive group, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui A bull elephant seal forceably mates (copulates) with a much smaller female, often biting her into submission and using his weight to keep her from fleeing.  Males may up to 5000 lbs, triple the size of females.  Sandy beach rookery, winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon A sea otter, resting on its back, holding its paw out of the water for warmth.  While the sea otter has extremely dense fur on its body, the fur is less dense on its head, arms and paws so it will hold these out of the cold water to conserve body heat, Enhydra lutris, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California Adult male humpback whale singing, suspended motionless underwater.  Only male humpbacks have been observed singing.  All humpbacks in the North Pacific sing the same whale song each year, and the song changes slightly from one year to the next, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Humpback whale male escort emits a stream of bubbles during competitive group socializing.  The whale is swimming so fast that the bubbles pass back alongside the whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Male humpback whale bubble streaming underwater.  The male escort humpback whale seen here is emitting a curtain of bubbles as it swims behind a mother and calf (barely seen in the distance), Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Adult male humpback whale bubble streaming underwater.  The male escort humpback whale seen here is emitting a curtain of bubbles as it swims behind a female during competitive group activities.  The bubble curtain may be meant as warning or visual obstruction to other nearby male whales interested in the female, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Large competitive group of humpback whales, eleven adult humpback whales seen in this image, part of a 16 whale competitive group, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Hawaiian humpback whale underwater, sun beams dappling the whale in clear oceanic waters, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui North Pacific humpback whale, head standing near surface, Maui Male North Pacific humpback whale streams a trail of bubbles.  The primary male escort whale (center) creates a curtain of bubbles underwater as it swims behind a female (right), with other challenging males trailing behind in a competitive group.  The bubbles may be a form of intimidation from the primary escort towards the challenging escorts, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Humpback whale, abandoned calf alongside University of Hawaii research boat.  This young calf lived only a few days after being abandoned or separated from its mother, and was eventually attacked by tiger sharks, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Adult male north Pacific humpback whale bubble streaming underwater in the midst of a competitive group.   The male escort humpback whale seen here is emitting a curtain of bubbles as it swims closely behind a female, .  The bubble curtain may be meant as warning or visual obstruction to other nearby males interested in the female, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui   more ...

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Updated: December 13, 2017