Humpback Whale Underwater Bubble Streaming Among Rowdy Groups in Hawaii

Hawaii, Humpback Whale

During the years I worked for Dan Salden and Hawaii Whale Research Foundation studying humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Hawaii, we usually looked for surface active groups (“rowdy groups“) when possible, since these groups offered the greatest potential for collecting the social affiliation information that was the focus of Dan’s decades of research on humpback whales. Bubble blasts and bubble streaming were often a part of the rowdy group’s activities, by one or several whales. We would spend time photographing as many fluke IDs as we could, to identify which whales were in the group, as well as noting those animals that would depart or join during the time we were observing them. Eventually, if conditions were right, we would enter the water to observe them below the surface. The goal at this point was to determine the roles that the individual whales had: primary escort, challenging escorts, focal female, peripheral individuals, etc. Often these roles are clear from topside views, but not always, so getting in the water is important. Gradually, over years of observation, we accumulated a lot of interesting, unique video of active groups, including the bubble streaming that would occur in these groups. I had opportunities to shoot still photographs of the bubble streaming too. Below are some of my favorite images of humpback whales from my time in Hawaii. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

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

Adult male humpback whale bubble streaming underwater near mother and calf. 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.
Image ID: 05928
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

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.
Image ID: 02828
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae

Primary escort male humpback whale bubble streaming during competitive group socializing.  This primary escort is swimming behind a female. The bubble curtain may be a form of intimidation towards other male escorts that are interested in the female, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

Primary escort male humpback whale bubble streaming during competitive group socializing. This primary escort is swimming behind a female.
Image ID: 04432
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae

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

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).
Image ID: 04434
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae

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

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.
Image ID: 04444
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae

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

Adult male humpback whale bubble streaming underwater.
Image ID: 05925
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae

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

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.
Image ID: 05968
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae

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

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.
Image ID: 06001
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae

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

Adult male north Pacific humpback whale bubble streaming underwater in the midst of a competitive group.
Image ID: 06037
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae

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.
Image ID: 02826
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae

NOTE: These photographs were taken during Hawaii Whale Research Foundation research activities conducted under NOAA/NMFS and State of Hawaii scientific research permits.

New Tiger Shark Photographs (Galeocerdo Cuvier)

Bahamas, Sharks, Underwater Photography, Wildlife

I made new tiger shark photos in the Bahamas last month. Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) are really impressive fish, capable predators and in control of their surroundings. It was a real pleasure spending hours in the water with them swimming around us. Tiger sharks are typically about 11′ – 17′ in length (3.25-4.25m) and weigh in at 800-1400 lb (375-640 kg), although the largest recorded was 24′ (7.25m) long and weighed 1900 lb (900kg). Tiger sharks tend to be solitary hunters, but we sometimes had 3 or 4 simultaneously because we were baiting them. Many thanks to Jonathan Bird for organizing the trip on the Dolphin Dream, it was a superb trip and I look forward to doing it again. If you like these, please see more of my tiger shark photographs. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Two tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier

Two tiger sharks
Image ID: 31875
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Tiger shark and underwater photographer, Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger shark and underwater photographer
Image ID: 31877
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Tiger shark and horse-eye jacks, Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger shark and horse-eye jacks
Image ID: 31880
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Tiger shark and underwater cameraman Jonathan Bird filming for television documentary, Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger shark and underwater cameraman Jonathan Bird filming for television documentary.
Image ID: 31882
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Tiger shark and underwater photographer, Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger shark and underwater photographer
Image ID: 31900
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Tiger shark close up view, including nostrils and ampullae of Lorenzini, Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger shark close up view, including nostrils and ampullae of Lorenzini
Image ID: 31901
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Tiger shark close up view, including nostrils and ampullae of Lorenzini, Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger shark close up view, including nostrils and ampullae of Lorenzini
Image ID: 31949
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger shark
Image ID: 31881
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Tiger shark swimming over coral reef, Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger shark swimming over coral reef
Image ID: 31889
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Tiger shark close up view, including nictating membrane covering the eye, nostrils and ampullae of Lorenzini, Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger shark close up view, including nictating membrane covering the eye, nostrils and ampullae of Lorenzini
Image ID: 31925
Species: Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier
Location: Bahamas

Keywords: tiger shark, picture, photo, Galeocerdo cuvier, underwater, stock photo, image, photograph.

Photographs of Namena Marine Reserve, Fiji Islands

Fiji, Seascapes, Underwater Photography

The Namena Marine Reserve is one of the most spectacular marine areas in the Fiji Islands. Since it is located between the two main islands Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, Namena Marine Reserve is bathed with strong ocean currents that pass through that gap. It was established in 1997 and consists of about 70 square kilometers surrounding the small island of Namenalala. We visited and dived the remarkable reefs of Namena while on the excellent liveaboard boat Nai’a. A small user fee is required, proceeds of which are used by the Kubula Community in cooperation with the Coral Reef Alliance to manage and protect the area and its marine inhabitants. If you like these images, be sure to see more photos from Namena Marine Reserve. Cheers and thanks for looking!

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31319
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

Spectacular pristine tropical reef with vibrant colorful soft corals. Dendronephthya soft corals, crinoids, sea fan gorgonians and schooling Anthias fishes, pulsing with life in a strong current over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea, Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island

Spectacular pristine tropical reef with vibrant colorful soft corals. Dendronephthya soft corals, crinoids, sea fan gorgonians and schooling Anthias fishes, pulsing with life in a strong current over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31320
Species: Crinoid Feather Star, Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Gorgonian, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea
Location: Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

Beautiful South Pacific coral reef, with Plexauridae sea fans, schooling anthias fish and colorful dendronephthya soft corals, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Gorgonacea, Plexauridae, Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island

Beautiful South Pacific coral reef, with Plexauridae sea fans, schooling anthias fish and colorful dendronephthya soft corals, Fiji
Image ID: 31321
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Gorgonian, Anthias, Sea Fan, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Gorgonacea, Plexauridae
Location: Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

Sinularia flexibilis finger leather soft coral, Fiji, Sinularis flexibilis, Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island

Sinularia flexibilis finger leather soft coral, Fiji
Image ID: 31326
Species: Sinularia Soft Coral, Sinularis flexibilis
Location: Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

Crinoid clinging to gorgonian sea fan, Fiji, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea, Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island

Crinoid clinging to gorgonian sea fan, Fiji
Image ID: 31404
Species: Crinoid Feather Star, Gorgonian, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea
Location: Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

Acropora coral (foreground) on South Pacific Coral Reef, Fiji, Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island

Acropora coral (foreground) on South Pacific Coral Reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31406
Location: Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

Various stony and soft corals on pristine tropical reef. Table coral competes for space on the coral reef by growing above and spreading over other coral species keeping them from receiving sunlight, Pseudanthias, Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

Various stony and soft corals on pristine tropical reef. Table coral competes for space on the coral reef by growing above and spreading over other coral species keeping them from receiving sunlight.
Image ID: 31408
Species: Anthias, Pseudanthias
Location: Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

Sinularia flexibilis finger leather soft coral, Fiji, Sinularis flexibilis, Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island

Sinularia flexibilis finger leather soft coral, Fiji
Image ID: 31420
Species: Sinularia Soft Coral, Sinularis flexibilis
Location: Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

Sarcophyton leather coral on diverse coral reef, Fiji, Pseudanthias, Sarcophyton, Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island

Sarcophyton leather coral on diverse coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31592
Species: Sarcophyton Soft Coral, Anthias, Pseudanthias, Sarcophyton
Location: Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

The Spectacular Coral Reef Walls of Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji

Fiji, Seascapes, Underwater Photography, Vatu i Ra Passage

One of most spectacular underwater sights I saw while in Fiji was the incredible wall at Mount Mutiny, a huge coral bommie in the Bligh Waters near the middle of the Fiji Islands. Mount Mutiny is surrounded by deep water and typically bathed in strong ocean currents rich with plankton, so the vast walls are covered with colorful invertebrate life, most notably large expanses of Chironephthya and Dendronephthya soft corals. Here are some of my favorite images from Mount Mutiny which I visited while on the liveaboard dive boat Nai’a, photographed at depths ranging from about 80′ to as shallow as 15′. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Red whip coral, Ellisella ceratophyta, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Gorgonacea, Ellisella ceratophyta, Vatu I Ra Passage

Red whip coral, Ellisella ceratophyta, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31332
Species: Gorgonian, Whip Coral, Gorgonacea, Ellisella ceratophyta
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Crinoid clinging to gorgonian sea fan, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea, Vatu I Ra Passage

Crinoid clinging to gorgonian sea fan, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31368
Species: Crinoid Feather Star, Gorgonian, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Branching whip coral (Ellisella sp.) captures passing planktonic food in ocean currents, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Ellisella, Vatu I Ra Passage

Branching whip coral (Ellisella sp.) captures passing planktonic food in ocean currents, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31369
Species: Branching Whip Coral, Ellisella
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Tubastrea micrantha, Vatu I Ra Passage

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31370
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Black Sun Coral, Dendronephthya, Tubastrea micrantha
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Brain corals on tropical coral reef, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji. Left brain coral is Symphllia, right bain coral is Platygyra lamellina, Symphyllia, Platygyra lamellina, Vatu I Ra Passage

Brain corals on tropical coral reef, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji. Left brain coral is Symphllia, right bain coral is Platygyra lamellina.
Image ID: 31371
Species: Brain Coral, Symphyllia, Platygyra lamellina
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Vatu I Ra Passage

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31496
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Dendronephthya
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Vatu I Ra Passage

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji
Image ID: 31499
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Dendronephthya
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Colorful Chironephthya soft coral coloniea in Fiji, hanging off wall, resembling sea fans or gorgonians. Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji, Gorgonacea, Chironephthya, Vatu I Ra Passage

Colorful Chironephthya soft coral coloniea in Fiji, hanging off wall, resembling sea fans or gorgonians. Mount Mutiny, Bligh Waters, Fiji.
Image ID: 31694
Species: Gorgonian, Chironephthya Soft Coral, Gorgonacea, Chironephthya
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

California Sea Lions at Los Islotes, Espiritu Santo Biosphere Reserve, Baja California, Mexico

Mexico, Sea Lion, Sea of Cortez, Underwater Photography

California sea lions underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico, Zalophus californianus

California sea lions underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Image ID: 31205
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

In October, Tracy and I joined our friends Mike and Sherry, Skip, Shirley, Barb and Walt for 9 wonderful days diving in the Sea of Cortez around La Paz. It was the first time Tracy and I had been diving together for any length of time in 18 years. It was so much fun to be back in the water together and the Sea of Cortez in Fall is about as relaxed, easy, warm and fun as can be. Los Islotes, a small island just north of Espiritu Santo, is famous for its rookery of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). I love diving there, more than perhaps any other place in the Sea of Cortez, and in particular like being there early or late in the day when there are no day boats around. (I could have spent the entire trip at Islotes, but fortunately for the others we did venture north to some relatively unexplored, colorful and fishy reefs that Mike has found over the years and keeps under wraps.) Islotes was as fishy as I have ever seen it, with enormous dense polarized schools of sardines along with pargo and other larger reef fish which the Sea of Cortez used to have in abundance but which are now harder to find. Los Islotes does have some legal protections against fishing, and these protections help to keep the waters around Islotes reasonably full of big fish and other marine life. But Islotes is also under threat of illegal fishing, and it is only through vigilance by those who care about a healthy Sea of Cortez that the laws that are on the books will mean something. Seawatch has made some progress on this front, but its difficult to keep eyes on Islotes 24-hours a day.

Here are some of my favorite images from our October dives around Islotes. I don’t keep a log any more but I would guess I spent about 30 hours underwater just photographing the sea lions, really getting to know several adult groups and having a great time watching how one bull in particular would manage his harem of females over the course of 4-5 days, not to mention the 30+ pups that would play with us at the edge of his territory. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

California sea lion underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico, Zalophus californianus

California sea lion underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Image ID: 31206
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Sea lion underwater in beautiful sunset light, Zalophus californianus, Sea of Cortez

Sea lion underwater in beautiful sunset light
Image ID: 31208
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Young California sea lion pups underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico, Zalophus californianus

Young California sea lion pups underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Image ID: 31209
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Sea lion blowing underwater bubbles as it stands on its flippers, Zalophus californianus, Sea of Cortez

Sea lion blowing underwater bubbles as it stands on its flippers
Image ID: 31210
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Blue-bronze sea chub schooling, Sea of Cortez, Kyphosus analogus

Blue-bronze sea chub schooling, Sea of Cortez
Image ID: 31213
Species: Blue-bronze Chub, Kyphosus analogus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

California sea lion and school of sardines underwater, Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Zalophus californianus

California sea lion and school of sardines underwater, Sea of Cortez, Baja California
Image ID: 31220
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Young sea lion hides in an underwater crevice, Zalophus californianus, Sea of Cortez

Young sea lion hides in an underwater crevice
Image ID: 31226
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Sardines and Scad, Los Islotes, Sea of Cortez, Mexico

Sardines and Scad, Los Islotes, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Image ID: 31246
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Sea lion harem of females, underwater, Zalophus californianus, Sea of Cortez

Sea lion harem of females, underwater
Image ID: 31247
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Large adult male sea lion underwater, Zalophus californianus, Sea of Cortez

Large adult male sea lion underwater
Image ID: 31248
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Dendronephthya Soft Corals

Fiji, Seascapes, Underwater Photography

In my experience Dendronephthya soft corals are the most spectacular and photogenic of the myriad invertebrate denizens of tropical coral reefs. “Soft coral” is a broad term, often used to describe gorgonians, leather corals, cup corals, sea whips, octocorals, etc etc that are found in all oceans of the world. The genus Dendronephthya sp., including about 250 species, is the one I want to highlight here. I was recently diving and photographing in Fiji for a few weeks and focused my efforts on its colorful reefscapes, in which Dendronephthya plays a starring role.

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Dendronephthya is found on Indo-Pacific tropical reefs, often carpeting coral reefs with amazing color: red, orange, yellow, pink and white are typical.  Dendronephthya soft corals do not contain zooxanthellae (unicellular symbiotic algae found in many coral species) and so must capture and consume copious amounts of plankton passing by in order to survive.  Since planktons are delivered by ocean currents, Dendronephthya and other soft corals are often found in profusion in areas where ocean currents are strong. Dendronephthya soft corals have a thick main stalk with bushy groups of polyps at the end of branches. Supporting the polyps are a network of sclerite spicules which give some rigidity to the stalk and branches.  Below are a few images illustrating what I love about Dendronephthya soft corals: their fantastic colors, their capacity to attract large schools of reef fish, and the endless variety of shapes and details with which they are found.  Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Spectacular pristine tropical reef, including dendronephthya soft corals, sarcophyton leather corals and schooling Anthias fishes, pulsing with life in a strong current over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Sarcophyton, Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island

Spectacular pristine tropical reef, including dendronephthya soft corals, sarcophyton leather corals and schooling Anthias fishes, pulsing with life in a strong current over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31309
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Sarcophyton Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Sarcophyton
Location: Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31319
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Namena Marine Reserve, Namena Island, Fiji

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31340
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Fiji

A Large Dendronephthya Soft Coral extends into ocean currents to grasp passing planktonic food, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

A Large Dendronephthya Soft Coral extends into ocean currents to grasp passing planktonic food, Fiji
Image ID: 31356
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Dendronephthya
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Dendronephthya soft coral detail including polyps and calcium carbonate spicules, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Makogai Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago

Dendronephthya soft coral detail including polyps and calcium carbonate spicules, Fiji
Image ID: 31453
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Dendronephthya
Location: Makogai Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago, Fiji

Dendronephthya soft coral detail including polyps and calcium carbonate spicules, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Makogai Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago

Dendronephthya soft coral detail including polyps and calcium carbonate spicules, Fiji
Image ID: 31455
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Dendronephthya
Location: Makogai Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago, Fiji

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Spectacularly colorful dendronephthya soft corals on South Pacific reef, reaching out into strong ocean currents to capture passing planktonic food, Fiji
Image ID: 31499
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Dendronephthya
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Seven of my Favorite Images #challengeonnaturephotography

Alaska, Antarctica, Bald Eagle, California, Fiji, Hawaii, Mexico, Ocean Sunfish, Penguin, Surf, Underwater Photography

In December a Facebook “challenge” was making the rounds named #challengeonnaturephotography. One of my favorite underwater photographers, Allison Vitsky Sallmon, nominated me to give it a try, and these are the seven images I plucked from my files to share. Each bears a special place in my personal history of travel, diving and photography, even if they don’t cut any new ground photographically. If you want to connect you can find me on Facebook and Instagram. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Ocean sunfish recruiting fish near drift kelp to clean parasites, open ocean, Baja California, Mola mola

Ocean sunfish recruiting fish near drift kelp to clean parasites, open ocean, Baja California.
Image ID: 03267
Species: Ocean sunfish, Mola mola

Sunrise breaking wave, dawn surf, The Wedge, Newport Beach, California

Sunrise breaking wave, dawn surf.
Image ID: 27978
Location: The Wedge, Newport Beach, California, USA

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Gau Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31378
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Gau Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago, Fiji

Bald eagle spreads its wings to land amid a large group of bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska

Bald eagle spreads its wings to land amid a large group of bald eagles.
Image ID: 22669
Species: Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis
Location: Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska, USA

A curious Adelie penguin, standing at the edge of an iceberg, looks over the photographer, Pygoscelis adeliae, Paulet Island

A curious Adelie penguin, standing at the edge of an iceberg, looks over the photographer.
Image ID: 25015
Species: Adelie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae
Location: Paulet Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place, Eschrichtius robustus, San Clemente

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place.
Image ID: 29029
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: San Clemente, California, USA

Humpback whale (male) singing, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

Humpback whale (male) singing.
Image ID: 02813
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

Chironephthya, Fiji’s “Other” Soft Coral

Fiji, Seascapes, Underwater Photography

Fiji’s Coral Reefs are known as the “Soft Coral Capital of the World” for good reason. Spectacular displays of colorful soft coral, usually Dendronepthya, are found on Fiji’s coral reefs in abundance. I had done a fair bit of research before the trip and thought I knew what types of soft coral I would see, and how I wanted to photograph them. However, one type of soft coral that escaped my attention before I got to Fiji was Chironephthya. While Dendronephthya tends to inflate and “stand up” off the reef, with fat cylindrical branches, Chironephthya on the other hand more often “hangs down” and, at first glance, looks similar to some of the gorgonians and sea fans I have seen in temperate water albeit with more intense color.

Colorful Chironephthya soft coral coloniea in Fiji, hanging off wall, resembling sea fans or gorgonians, Chironephthya, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Colorful Chironephthya soft coral coloniea in Fiji, hanging off wall, resembling sea fans or gorgonians.
Image ID: 31487
Species: Chironephthya Soft Coral, Chironephthya
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

From “species-identification.org”: Colonies heavely branched, resembling gorgonians. Polyps scattered on stalk and main branches as well as at the end of terminal branchlets. Calyces prominent. Stem and main branches almost hollow. Brightly coloured pink, purple, red, yellow, orange. Sclerites are spindles. Zooxanthellae absent.

My best looks at Chironephthya were at the dive spot Mount Mutiny, a lone coral bommie in the current-laden Bligh Waters, with vast sheer walls perfect for soft corals to thrive. I made several dives at Mount Mutiny, each time passing along the spectacular Rainbow Wall section, a huge wall replete with dense swaths of Chironephthya color, particularly underneath overhangs. I hope to return in the next few years and photograph it with some macro gear. All of my Fiji coral reef images are available for publication and as high quality metal, canvas or photographic prints. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Colorful Chironephthya soft coral coloniea in Fiji, hanging off wall, resembling sea fans or gorgonians, Chironephthya, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Colorful Chironephthya soft coral coloniea in Fiji, hanging off wall, resembling sea fans or gorgonians.
Image ID: 31682
Species: Chironephthya Soft Coral, Chironephthya
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Diving the Vatu-I-Ra Passage in Fiji’s Bligh Waters

Fiji, Seascapes, Underwater Photography, Vatu i Ra Passage

See also: Photos of Fiji’s Beautiful Coral Reefs

The ocean waters between Fiji’s Viti Levu and Vanua Levu islands are called the Bligh Waters after Captain William Bligh and his flight from mutineers. The Bligh Waters are famous among divers as they are home to some of the most spectacular coral reef diving in the world. In particular, the Vatu-i-Ra Passage area of the Bligh Waters is wonderful, perhaps my favorite in Fiji and certainly the most colorful diving I have seen anywhere in the tropics. Some friends and I spent 6 days exploring the bommies, reefs, canyons, and walls of the Vatu-i-Ra region (as well as 8 more days elsewhere in the Bligh Waters), both from a land resort (Wananavu, highly recommended) and from the excellent liveaboard dive vessel Nai’a (one of the finest diving experiences I’ve ever had). The Vatu-i-Ra Passage, or Vatu-i-Ra Seascape, is named after the small island Vatu-i-Ra, a bird sanctuary with two beautiful white sand beaches. The coral reefs near this island, and in particular the narrow passages between the reefs and opening into atolls, pulse with life and energy when currents build and water begins flowing quickly. It is then that the soft corals for which Fiji is famous are fully extended, reaching for planktonic food, surrounded by the clouds of anthias and reef fishes, and at their most beautiful. Here are some underwater photos of the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape to give you a sense of what its like. All of my Fiji coral reef images are available for publication and as high quality metal, canvas or photographic prints. Cheers and thanks for looking!

Colorful Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fish on coral reef, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Tubastrea micrantha, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Colorful Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fish on coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31316
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Black Sun Coral, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Tubastrea micrantha
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Colorful Dendronephthya soft coral and schooling Anthias fish on coral reef, Fiji, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Colorful Dendronephthya soft coral and schooling Anthias fish on coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31349
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Bright red Plexauridae sea fan gorgonian and yellow sarcophyton leather coral on pristine coral reef, Fiji, Sarcophyton, Gorgonacea, Plexauridae, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Bright red Plexauridae sea fan gorgonian and yellow sarcophyton leather coral on pristine coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31325
Species: Sarcophyton Soft Coral, Gorgonian, Sea Fan, Sarcophyton, Gorgonacea, Plexauridae
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Symphyllia brain coral on tropical coral reef, Fiji, Symphyllia, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Symphyllia brain coral on tropical coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31327
Species: Brain Coral, Symphyllia
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31358
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Sarcophyton leather coral on diverse coral reef, Fiji, Sarcophyton, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Sarcophyton leather coral on diverse coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31456
Species: Sarcophyton Soft Coral, Sarcophyton
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Acropora coral (foreground) on South Pacific Coral Reef, Fiji, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Acropora coral (foreground) on South Pacific Coral Reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31483
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Acropora table coral on pristine tropical reef. Table coral competes for space on the coral reef by growing above and spreading over other coral species keeping them from receiving sunlight, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island, Fiji

Acropora table coral on pristine tropical reef. Table coral competes for space on the coral reef by growing above and spreading over other coral species keeping them from receiving sunlight.
Image ID: 31490
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Staghorn coral Acropora palifera on pristine Fijian coral reef, Acropora palifera, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Staghorn coral Acropora palifera on pristine Fijian coral reef
Image ID: 31514
Species: Staghorn Coral, Acropora palifera
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Green fan coral, extending into ocean currents where tiny polyps gather passing plankton, Fiji, Tubastrea micrantha, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Green fan coral, extending into ocean currents where tiny polyps gather passing plankton, Fiji
Image ID: 31687
Species: Black Sun Coral, Tubastrea micrantha
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Natural History Photography – Best Photos of 2015

Best Photographs of the Year

My Best Natural History Photographs of 2015

2015 offered opportunities for me to photograph the Sierra Nevada, the Sea of Cortez, California’s Channel Islands, the coral reefs of the Fiji Islands, a Louisiana plantation, astrophotography landscapes in the Southwest, and as always America’s Finest City, San Diego. I was finally able to get back in the water and focus on underwater photography, which is where I got my start as a photographer but which has been nearly absent in my work for the past 10 years.

This is the ninth year in a row I have done an annual retrospective. My creative goal for any one year is, as it always has been, to shoot 3-4 world-class images and 10-15 portfolio-quality images. Below are my favorites from 2015. If you like these feel free to check out previous years’ favorites as well: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007. Also, be sure to check out Jim Goldstein’s blog, where he collects the “best of the year” collections of many talented photographers. Cheers and Thanks for looking!

Desert Light

Erosion in the salt patterns of Badwater Playa, Death Valley National Park

Erosion in the salt patterns of Badwater Playa, Death Valley National Park
Image ID: 30475
Location: Badwater, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Mesquite Dunes at sunrise, dawn, clouds and morning sky, sand dunes, Death Valley National Park, California

Mesquite Dunes at sunrise, dawn, clouds and morning sky, sand dunes.
Image ID: 30479
Location: Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Sand verbena wildflowers on sand dunes, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Abronia villosa, Borrego Springs, California

Sand verbena wildflowers on sand dunes, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Image ID: 30516
Species: Sand verbena, Abronia villosa
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs, California, USA

San Diego From Above

Panoramic Aerial Photo of San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge

Panoramic Aerial Photo of San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge
Image ID: 30789
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Aerial Panoramic Photo of Point Loma and Cabrillo Monument, San Diego, California

Aerial Panoramic Photo of Point Loma and Cabrillo Monument
Image ID: 30847
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Del Mar beach and homes at sunset

Del Mar beach and homes at sunset
Image ID: 30491
Location: Del Mar, California, USA

Aerial Panoramic Photo of Point La Jolla and La Jolla Cove, Boomer Beach, Scripps Park

Aerial Panoramic Photo of Point La Jolla and La Jolla Cove, Boomer Beach, Scripps Park
Image ID: 30786
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Astrophotography Landscapes

Milky Way during Full Lunar Eclipse over Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park, April 4 2015

Milky Way during Full Lunar Eclipse over Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park, April 4 2015
Image ID: 30718
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

Perseid Meteor Shower over Joshua Tree National Park, Aug 13, 2014

Perseid Meteor Shower over Joshua Tree National Park, Aug 13, 2014
Image ID: 31145
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

Jet Airliner Silhouetted Against Supermoon Eclipse, at Moonrise over San Diego, September 27 2015

Jet Airliner Silhouetted Against Supermoon Eclipse, at Moonrise over San Diego, September 27 2015
Image ID: 31869

Milky Way over Mount Laguna FAA Radar Site, including ARSR-4 radome (radar dome)

Milky Way over Mount Laguna FAA Radar Site, including ARSR-4 radome (radar dome).
Image ID: 31047

Sierra Nevada – The Range of Light

Panorama of Bear Creek Spire over Long Lake at Sunrise, Little Lakes Valley, John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, Little Lakes Valley, Inyo National Forest

Panorama of Bear Creek Spire over Long Lake at Sunrise, Little Lakes Valley, John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest
Image ID: 31173
Location: Little Lakes Valley, Inyo National Forest, California, USA

Milky Way over Tenaya Lake, Polly Dome (left), Tenaya Peak (center), Yosemite National Park

Milky Way over Tenaya Lake, Polly Dome (left), Tenaya Peak (center), Yosemite National Park
Image ID: 31185
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

North Peak (12242', center), Mount Conness (left, 12589') and Conness Lake with its green glacial meltwater, Hoover Wilderness, Conness Lakes Basin

North Peak (12242′, center), Mount Conness (left, 12589′) and Conness Lake with its green glacial meltwater, Hoover Wilderness
Image ID: 31060
Location: Conness Lakes Basin, Hoover Wilderness, California, USA

View from Summit of Mount Hoffmann, Ten Lakes Basin at lower left, looking northeast toward remote northern reaches of Yosemite National Park

View from Summit of Mount Hoffmann, Ten Lakes Basin at lower left, looking northeast toward remote northern reaches of Yosemite National Park
Image ID: 31193
Location: Mount Hoffmann, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Ocean Light

California sea lions underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico, Zalophus californianus

California sea lions underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Image ID: 31205
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Young California sea lion pups underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico, Zalophus californianus

Young California sea lion pups underwater, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Image ID: 31209
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico

Sea fan gorgonian and schooling Anthias on pristine and beautiful coral reef, Fiji, Pseudanthias, Gorgonacea, Wakaya Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago

Sea fan gorgonian and schooling Anthias on pristine and beautiful coral reef, Fiji
Image ID: 31311
Species: Gorgonian, Anthias, Pseudanthias, Gorgonacea
Location: Wakaya Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago, Fiji

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Gau Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31318
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Gau Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago, Fiji

Acropora table coral on pristine tropical reef. Table coral competes for space on the coral reef by growing above and spreading over other coral species keeping them from receiving sunlight, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island, Fiji

Acropora table coral on pristine tropical reef. Table coral competes for space on the coral reef by growing above and spreading over other coral species keeping them from receiving sunlight.
Image ID: 31331
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave.
Image ID: 30262
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

Gray whale raising fluke before diving, on southern migration to calving lagoons in Baja, Eschrichtius robustus, San Diego, California

Gray whale raising fluke before diving, on southern migration to calving lagoons in Baja.
Image ID: 30463
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Spectacular pristine tropical reef with vibrant colorful soft corals. Dendronephthya soft corals, crinoids, sea fan gorgonians and schooling Anthias fishes, pulsing with life in a strong current over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea, Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu  Island

Spectacular pristine tropical reef with vibrant colorful soft corals. Dendronephthya soft corals, crinoids, sea fan gorgonians and schooling Anthias fishes, pulsing with life in a strong current over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31367
Species: Crinoid Feather Star, Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Gorgonian, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Crinoidea, Gorgonacea
Location: Vatu I Ra Passage, Bligh Waters, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Killer whale attacking sea lion.  Biggs transient orca and California sea lion, Orcinus orca, Zalophus californianus, Palos Verdes

Killer whale attacking sea lion. Biggs transient orca and California sea lion.
Image ID: 30429
Species: Killer whale, California sea lion, Orcinus orca, Zalophus californianus
Location: Palos Verdes, California, USA

The Kelp Forest offshore of La Jolla, California. A kelp forest. Giant kelp grows rapidly, up to 2' per day, from the rocky reef on the ocean bottom to which it is anchored, toward the ocean surface where it spreads to form a thick canopy. Myriad species of fishes, mammals and invertebrates form a rich community in the kelp forest. Lush forests of kelp are found throughout California's Southern Channel Islands, Macrocystis pyrifera

The Kelp Forest offshore of La Jolla, California. A kelp forest. Giant kelp grows rapidly, up to 2′ per day, from the rocky reef on the ocean bottom to which it is anchored, toward the ocean surface where it spreads to form a thick canopy. Myriad species of fishes, mammals and invertebrates form a rich community in the kelp forest. Lush forests of kelp are found throughout California’s Southern Channel Islands
Image ID: 30998
Species: Giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera
Location: La Jolla, California, USA