A Pacific harbor seal eyes the photographer while swimming in the shallows. This group of harbor seals, which has formed a breeding colony at a small but popular beach near San Diego, is at the center of considerable controversy. While harbor seals are protected from harassment by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and other legislation, local interests would like to see the seals leave so that people can resume using the beach.
Species: Pacific harbor seal, Phoca vitulina richardsi
Location: La Jolla, California
Image ID: 15546
Brown gorgonian and California golden gorgonian on underwater rocky reef below kelp forest, Catalina Island. Gorgonians are filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Each individual polyp is a distinct animal, together they secrete calcium that forms the structure of the colony. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by.
Species: Brown gorgonian, California golden gorgonian, Muricea californica, Muricea fruticosa
Location: Catalina Island, California
Image ID: 37292