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Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaengliae ) are the most abundant baleen whale in the nearshore waters around the Antarctic Peninsula. They, along with millions of penguins, seals, seabirds, and other whales, feed primarily on...
In the late 1990's, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (...
Killer whales ( Orcinus orca ) are master hunters, using speed, camouflage, and...
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In honor of Mother's Day, the Citizens of the Sea blog salutes ocean-going...

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Researchers from the SOCAL-10 research partnership study the behavior of orcas (commonly called killer whales) and how they react to sonar and other noisy human activities. The partnership is bringing more information about how...
A Galapagos sea lion ( Zalophus wollebaeki ) rests on a beach in Ecuador...
Every North Atlantic right whale has a pattern of callosities unique to that...

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Stretching up to 16.8 meters (55 feet) long and weighing up to 62 tons (70 tons), the North Atlantic right whale is one of...
“This humpback uses its lower jaw to strain fish off the water’s surface as sea birds snatch their own meals right out of the whale’s open mouth.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Bryce Flynn. See more...
At the ends of the Earth, life thrives despite extreme conditions. In the Arctic and Southern Oceans, organisms have evolved adaptations to cope with year-round cold and six months of darkness. But...
Phoenix swims in George’s Bank, off the coast of New England, on March 13, 2009. More about whales can be found in our Tale of a whale featured story .
In 1996, at age nine, Phoenix has her first calf (North Atlantic right whale #2605) off the southeast coast of Florida. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a Whale featured story .
The ocean sustains land animals besides humans. Here, a fox looks for a meal at low tide on the Arctic Peninsula. When the tide goes out, it leaves behind tidepools full of tasty snacks for foxes and...
Large whales are notoriously hard to study. Except when rising to breathe, they swim beneath the ocean's surface out of human sight, which makes it difficult to find and track them. They often live...
Scientists document a direct relationship between the extent of sea ice and polar bear survival. Future projected reductions in the extent of annual sea-ice due to global warming may result in the...
After a few long days of hard work on the island, we were finally able to excavate and remove , not just one, but two skeletons of an early "toothed" baleen whale from the rocks near the Carmanah...
The bowhead whale has a massive, bow-shaped skull to break through thick Arctic ice, and more blubber than any other whale.
The common bottlenose dolphin ( Tursiops truncatus ) has lungs, but doesn't breathe through its mouth. Instead, toothed whales breathe through a blowhole on top of their head. Read more about...
Watch a recorded webcast about the latest efforts in Greece to study and save the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal. Centuries of human exploitation and habitat destruction have caused...
How do right whales size up? North Atlantic Right whales ( Eubalaena glacialis ) are big, but they're not the biggest whales. That distinction goes to the Blue whale ( Balaenoptera musculus ), the...
Whale baleen, the stiff bristly mouthparts that sieve small prey from the water, was strong yet flexible, and was used to provide structure in many human products, including umbrellas, corsets, and...
Phoenix swimming with her calf in February 2007 in the Southeast calving grounds off the coasts of Georgia and Florida. Researchers track these highly endangered whales (there are only about 450 of...
On a beach in Piña, Panama the tide is rolling out. Faint outlines of skeletal remains rise above the sand. Smithsonian scientists Nicholas Pyenson and Aaron O'Dea along with a team of students...
A Northern right whale swims with her calf
Dr. Stefan Huggenberger from the University of Cologne explains sound production in sperm whales in "Moby Dick's Boom Box: Nasal Complex of Sperm Whales," a presentation at the Smithsonian's National...
The Smithsonian has more whale skulls and skeletons than any other collection in the world. This photo provides a small glimpse of the amazing variety of skulls and skeletons available for study...
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