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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 Humpback whale breaching, near Molokai, Hawaii. Megaptera novaeangliae.  It is suspected the breaching often has a communicative purpose which depends on the behavioral context of the moment, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Humpback whale breaching with pectoral fins lifting spray from the ocean surface, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Scripps Pier solstice, sunset aligned perfectly with the pier, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California SIO Pier.  The Scripps Institution of Oceanography research pier is 1090 feet long and was built of reinforced concrete in 1988, replacing the original wooden pier built in 1915. The Scripps Pier is home to a variety of sensing equipment above and below water that collects various oceanographic data. The Scripps research diving facility is located at the foot of the pier. Fresh seawater is pumped from the pier to the many tanks and facilities of SIO, including the Birch Aquarium. The Scripps Pier is named in honor of Ellen Browning Scripps, the most significant donor and benefactor of the Institution, La Jolla, 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 Scripps Pier solstice, surfer's view from among the waves, sunset aligned perfectly with the pier. Research pier at Scripps Institution of Oceanography SIO, sunset, La Jolla, California Two satellite tags, below dorsal fin of great white shark.  The tags record the sharks movements, relaying data to researchers via satellite, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe) Humpback whale breaching, pectoral fin and rostrom visible, Megaptera novaeangliae, San Diego, California North Pacific humpback whale, peduncle throw, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research Pier at night, lit with stars in the sky, old La Jolla town in the distance Humpback whale breaching, pectoral fin and rostrom visible, Megaptera novaeangliae, San Diego, California Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research Pier at sunset, with Christmas Lights and Christmas Tree, La Jolla, California Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research Pier at sunset, with Christmas Lights and Christmas Tree, La Jolla, California Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research Pier at sunset, with Christmas Lights and Christmas Tree, La Jolla, California Conjuction of Saturn and Jupiter over Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research Pier at sunset, with Christmas Lights and Christmas Tree, La Jolla, California Aerial Photo of San Diego Scripps Coastal SMCA. Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research Pier, La Jolla, 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 Aerial Photo of San Diego Scripps Coastal SMCA. Blacks Beach and Scripps Pier, La Jolla, California North Pacific humpback whale, peduncle throw, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui A great white shark bearing a white plastic researcher's identification ID tag near its dorsal fin swims through the clear waters of Isla Guadalupe, far offshore of the Pacific Coast of Baja California.  Guadalupe Island is host to a concentration of large great white sharks, which visit the island to feed on pinnipeds and tuna, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe) 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 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 Scripps Pier, Surfer's view from among the waves. Research pier at Scripps Institution of Oceanography SIO, sunset, La Jolla, California A great white shark is countershaded, with a dark gray dorsal color and light gray to white underside, making it more difficult for the shark's prey to see it as approaches from above or below in the water column.  The particular undulations of the countershading line along its side, where gray meets white, is unique to each shark and helps researchers to identify individual sharks in capture-recapture studies. Guadalupe Island is host to a relatively large population of great white sharks who, through a history of video and photographs showing their  countershading lines, are the subject of an ongoing study of shark behaviour, migration and population size, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe) North Pacific humpback whales, a mother and young calf swim near scientific research divers, 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 Humpback whale breaching, pectoral fin and rostrom visible, Megaptera novaeangliae, San Diego, California 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 Humpback whale head lunge and blow in active group, Maui Aerial Photo of San Diego Scripps Coastal SMCA. Scripps Institution of Oceanography Research Pier, La Jolla, 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   more ...

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Updated: January 16, 2021