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Laysan Albatross – The Heavy Hawaiian Seabird

Jul 20, 2018.
Laysan Albatross

Large, heavy seabirds, the Laysan Albatross can fly great distances with short wing strokes and a long period of graceful soaring. They glide on the winds and can rise for miles with the slightest change in the wing position. Ashore, they will plod along before running into the wind to take off. Nearly three feet…

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The Marine Mammal Protection Act Helps Protect Species

Jul 18, 2018.
Dolphins (NOAA)

Signed into law in October of 1972 by then-President Richard Nixon, The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was partially in response to concerns in the scientific community and the public that certain species of marine mammals were at risk for depletion or extinction as a result of human activity. The intent of the law was…

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Spiny Dogfish – Habitat and Management

Jul 13, 2018.

While it’s called the Spiny Dogfish, it’s actually a shark. With grey or brown coloring on top and white below, they often are seen with white spots on their sides. Small and thin, males can grow to 3.3 feet while females can grow to 4 feet. They are aggressive and relentless pursuers. Along the front…

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What is the difference between Seals and Sea Lions?

Jul 11, 2018.
California Sea Lion

Seals and sea lions are found in many of America’s national marine sanctuaries. At first glance, they may look fairly similar. They are actually different animal families under the order “pinniped,” which means “fin-footed” in Latin. Taking a closer look, there are marked differences between sea lions and seals. Here’s how to tell them apart:…

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Gray Seal – Threat and Conservation

Jul 7, 2018.

Gray seals (Halichoerus grypus, latin for “hooked-nose sea pig) are part of the family Phocidae or “true seal”. This means they don’t have external ear flaps and have short front flippers that are great for swimming but limit their mobility on land. This species of seal is found in coastal waters in the northern Atlantic…

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The Ocean Guardians at Greta Oppe Elementary

Jun 4, 2018.

By Katy Bland, Guest Author On Galveston Island, Texas, the home of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary headquarters, students at Greta Oppe Elementary Campus of Coastal Studies (Oppe) are ‘Ocean Guardians.’ “We have to do everything in our power to keep the ocean clean,” emphasizes Rhiannon, a student on The Green Team at Oppe….

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Hands on the Shore, Eyes on the Bay

May 22, 2018.
(Photo courtesy of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation)

By Katy Bland, Guest Author On Saturday, April 28, roughly 100 community members, local, state, and federal officials, and leadership from multiple non-profit organizations came together on a foggy morning for the 5th Annual Mallows Bay Trash Cleanup as part of the Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative. The trash cleanup is one of many recent…

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Krill – Behavior, Diet, and Life Cycle

May 18, 2018.
Krill Animal Organism

Krill are zooplankton, small invertebrates that live in gigantic ocean swarms near the ocean’s surface. They resemble tiny shrimp and are a critical component of the marine life ecosystem as a food source for other species, including whales, seals, squids, penguins, and numerous other birds and fish. There are more than 85 known species of…

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Investing in the Next Generation of Ocean Stewards through Education Alliance Partnerships

Apr 26, 2018.

By Chloe Bean, Grants Manager On June 30, 2018, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will complete its 17th year of Ocean Exploration Education Alliance Partnerships. The Foundation sponsors this program in cooperation with NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). Through these partnerships, educators across the…

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Recapping the 2018 Sanctuary Ocean Count

Apr 26, 2018.
Photo courtesy of NOAA and taken under NOAA permit #14097-22

This past winter, NOAA’s Sanctuary Ocean Count (Ocean Count) took place within Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS), with a total of 1,648 volunteers participating over three events. Ocean Counts are held on the last Saturday of January, February, and March during peak whale watching season, and offers a great opportunity for the…

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