Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Photos

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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
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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 15458  
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
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.
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: Monterey, California
Image ID: 01135  
Northern elephant seals, Piedras Blancas, Mirounga angustirostris, San Simeon, California
Northern elephant seals, Piedras Blancas.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35136  
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
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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 20369  
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
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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35144  
Bull elephant seal, adult male, bellowing. Its huge proboscis is characteristic of male elephant seals. Scarring from combat with other males, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Bull elephant seal, adult male, bellowing. Its huge proboscis is characteristic of male elephant seals. Scarring from combat with other males.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35149  
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
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.
Species: Sea otter, Enhydra lutris
Location: Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California
Image ID: 21606  
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
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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 15394  
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 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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35133  
Bull elephant seal, adult male, bellowing. Its huge proboscis is characteristic of male elephant seals. Scarring from combat with other males, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Bull elephant seal, adult male, bellowing. Its huge proboscis is characteristic of male elephant seals. Scarring from combat with other males.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35147  
California sea lion, with monofiliment cut, Zalophus californianus, Monterey
California sea lion, with monofiliment cut.
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Monterey, California
Image ID: 00958  
Gray whale, blow, Eschrichtius robustus, Big Sur, California
Gray whale, blow.
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: Big Sur, California
Image ID: 01173  
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 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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 20388  
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
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.
Species: Sea otter, Enhydra lutris
Location: Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California
Image ID: 21602  
Northern elephant seals, Piedras Blancas, Mirounga angustirostris, San Simeon, California
Northern elephant seals, Piedras Blancas.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35130  
Northern elephant seals, Piedras Blancas, Mirounga angustirostris, San Simeon, California
Northern elephant seals, Piedras Blancas.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35131  
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 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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35132  
Northern elephant seals, Piedras Blancas, Mirounga angustirostris, San Simeon, California
Northern elephant seals, Piedras Blancas.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35134  
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
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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35135  
Elephant seals crowd a sand beach at the Piedras Blancas rookery near San Simeon
Elephant seals crowd a sand beach at the Piedras Blancas rookery near San Simeon.
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35140  
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
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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35150  
Bull elephant seal, adult male, bellowing. Its huge proboscis is characteristic of male elephant seals. Scarring from combat with other males, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Bull elephant seal, adult male, bellowing. Its huge proboscis is characteristic of male elephant seals. Scarring from combat with other males.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 35152  
Bull elephant seal, adult male, bellowing. Its huge proboscis is characteristic of male elephant seals. Scarring from combat with other males.  Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon
Bull elephant seal, adult male, bellowing. Its huge proboscis is characteristic of male elephant seals. Scarring from combat with other males. Central California.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 15387  
This bull elephant seal, an old adult male, shows extreme 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
This bull elephant seal, an old adult male, shows extreme 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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 15388  
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 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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 15408  
Male elephant seal rears up on its foreflippers and bellows to intimidate other males and to survey its beach territory.  Winter, Central California, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon
Male elephant seal rears up on its foreflippers and bellows to intimidate other males and to survey its beach territory. Winter, Central California.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 15521  
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
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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 20370  
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, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, 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.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 20371  
California sea lion, adult male, profile of head showing long whiskers and prominent sagittal crest (cranial crest bone), hauled out on rocks to rest, early morning sunrise light, Monterey breakwater rocks, Zalophus californianus
California sea lion, adult male, profile of head showing long whiskers and prominent sagittal crest (cranial crest bone), hauled out on rocks to rest, early morning sunrise light, Monterey breakwater rocks.
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Monterey, California
Image ID: 21586  
Northern elephant seal,  mother and neonate pup, gulls eating placenta, Mirounga angustirostris, Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Northern elephant seal, mother and neonate pup, gulls eating placenta.
Species: Elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris
Location: Piedras Blancas, San Simeon, California
Image ID: 00945  
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All photographs copyright © Phillip Colla / Oceanlight.com, all rights reserved worldwide.