Obama Expands Marine Sanctuary to World's Largest
The month of June honors both National Ocean Month and World Ocean Day (June 8). What better time, then, to check out photos of undersea life and be reminded that things "down there" are just as important as things up here on land. Here, a manatee goes about its day. The manatee, also known as a "seacow," is an air-breathing herbivore listed as a federally endangered species. Manatees are slow moving and can't swim quickly away from boats. This often results in collisions that can kill or injure them.Whales Counted With Space Satellites
Life's a beach. Mom and her baby elephant seal roll around in the sand in Ano Nuevo Island, Calif.Elephant Seal Calls Tell Rivals Who's Boss
Robert Schwemmer, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries
A humpback whale breaches in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, off the coast of California.Distinct Humpback Whale Populations Found in North Pacific
A blue rockfish fans for the camera in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, in California.200-Year-Old Fish Caught Off Alaska
A Southern sea otter, aka,
Enhydra lutris nereis
, wonders what all the fuss is about, at South Harbor, Moss Landing, Calif. The World Ocean Day Photo Contest entrant was Submitted by Dr. Steve Lonhart.PHOTOS: Otter vs. Gator: Otter Wins
A white-lobed sponge brightens up the scenery. It's one of several images of rarely seen deep-sea animals that were captured on camera in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary during a NOAA expedition. Researchers used a NOAA remotely operated vehicle in waters 328 to 656 feet deep off the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. The research was funded by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program.Strange, Carnivorous Sponge Found In Deep Sea
This image brimming with colorful marine life is from the Pearl and Hermes Atoll. It's a huge oval coral reef within several internal reefs and is the second largest among the six atolls in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.PHOTOS: Sharks, Marine Mammals Hang in Paradise
Having no backbone isn't always a bad thing! Just ask any octopus. These boneless invertebrates know how to squeeze into (and out of) many a tight spot. They have three hearts, nine brains and blue blood. (Two hearts send blood to the gills, while the third pumper sends it to the rest of the body.)VIDEO: Octopi Have a Brain in Every Tentacle
Rapture Reef sits within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The monument encompasses more than 140,000 square miles of ocean and coral reef habitat.PHOTOS: Life in Australia's Great Barrier Reef
This seal is eager to wriggle its way back to freedom, as divers release it from fishing nets. Marine debris -- such as these nets -- makes a serious impact on its surroundings. From being an eyesore on a beach to injuring marine life or stopping a 400-ton vessel at sea, it causes problems that are difficult to ignore.Seal Pup Found in Forest
President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument from almost 87,000 square miles to nearly 782,000 square miles.
“Growing up in Hawaii, I learned early to appreciate the beauty and power of the ocean,” Obama said at a White House event, reported The New York Times. “And like Presidents Clinton and Bush before me, I’m going to use my authority as president to protect some of our most precious marine landscapes, just like we do for mountains and rivers and forests.”
The remote U.S. sanctuary in the central Pacific Ocean will become the world's largest such protected area.
The order, which would come into force later this year after a comment period, would make fishing, energy exploration and other activities off limits in the area, which includes uninhabited islands in a remote region.
The new area is adjacent to islands and atolls controlled by the United States and would include waters up to 200 nautical miles offshore from these territories.
The White House will seek input over the next few months from environmentalists, the fishing industry and government officials before the plan is finalized, reported The New York Times.
Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting an oceans conference at the State Department this week, examining threats to the world's seas from climate change, pollution and illegal fishing.
Photo: Jellyfish at Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Credit: Greg McFall/NOAA