Mammals

From whales and dolphins to seals and sea otters. Marine mammals are defined by their reliance on the ocean for food, along with mammalian characteristics such as hair and mammary glands. 

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Hawaiian Monk Seal

DIVE DEEPER

Backbone of Biodiversity at Risk

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature ( IUCN ) maintains the Red List of Threatened Species , an inventory...
A narwhal breaches the surface, its tusk pointed to the sky

Why a Tusk? The real-life unicorns of the sea and the tusks that make them famous

A narwhal breaching the water's surface, his tusk points to the sky. Male narwhals will sometimes cross their tusks, a behavior called "tusking". Credit: Glenn Williams In the frigid Arctic Ocean , a mysterious...

Why do Whales Sing?

The ocean is a vast, open space, so to communicate underwater, it's best that your message travels far. Sound travels four times faster in water than in air, so many animals use this to...
A beaked whale at the ocean's surface

Seeing with Sound: Acoustic monitoring of beaked whales can help determine oil spill impacts

A Gervais' beaked whale comes up to the surface to take a quick breath. Credit: NOAA By L.K. Ward and Danielle Hall When compared to dolphins and large baleen whales, beaked whales lose a...

Polar Bears: One Species at a Time

The Encyclopedia of Life brings us another installment of the podcast, One Species at a Time . In this podcast, host Ari Daniel Shapiro relates two close calls with polar bears. Listen as Heather...

Cuvier's Beaked Whale

Just like dolphins, beaked whales send pulses of high-frequency sound through the water that work like a SONAR ping to find prey in the dark waters of the deep. Each species broadcasts a unique...
Hawaiian Monk Seal

Backbone of Biodiversity at Risk

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature ( IUCN ) maintains the Red List of Threatened Species , an inventory of the global conservation status of plants and animals. In a 2010 study...
An adult and juvenile killer whale frolic in the water.

Menopausal Moms: A Mammal Mystery

Killer whales ( Orcinus orca ) have something in common with humans: early menopause. Credit: Robert L. Pitman, NOAA Fisheries, USA In honor of Mother's Day, the Citizens of the Sea blog salutes ocean-going...

Efforts to Protect the Critically Endangered Monk Seal

Monk seals -- the only completely tropical species of seal in the world -- are in trouble. Centuries of human exploitation and habitat destruction have caused the remaining populations of Mediterranean monk seals (...
Giant Pacific Manta Ray, Roca Partida Sea Mount, Revillagigedos Islands, Mexico

Tagging and Tracking Animals Underwater

“Manta rays sometimes approach divers; an up-close encounter with such a huge, peaceful animal is unforgettable!” -- Nature's Best photographer, Deborah Smrekar. Equipment Used to Capture the Shot: Nikon D70; 12-24mm; 1/100 sec at...

Seal and Sea Lion Pictures

Many people love seals and sea lions, and it's easy to see why: they’re playful, adorable, and quite photogenic. But what is the difference between seals and their cousins the sea lions? Both have...

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