When astronauts first launched toward the moon and looked back at our planet for the first time, they made an unexpected discovery: Earth Is Blue.
Earth is Blue is a social media awareness campaign to highlight NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary System and its fourteen special marine protected areas across the country. The campaign began on October 23, 2014, the 42nd anniversary of the system, and shares one photo each day and one video each week highlighting the wonder and beauty of these special places and the work NOAA does to protect them.
Join us as we explore America's national marine sanctuaries and share your own images of our national marine sanctuaries using the hashtag .
Aug. 30, 2016: Located off the coast of Georgia, Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary protects what's known as a "live-bottom reef." The sanctuary's scattered rocky outcroppings and ledges provide homes for a variety of invertebrates. These sea stars, fan corals, sponges, barnacles, crabs, lobsters, snails, shrimp and other organisms form a dense carpet of living creatures -- the sanctuary's "live bottom." (Photo: Steve Lonhart/NOAA)
In February and March of 2016, NOAA and partners conducted an expedition to explore deep waters in and around Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Using the high-definition camera's on NOAA's Deep Discoverer remotely operated vehicle, scientists captured imagery of deep-sea biology and geology at depths ranging from 2,130 feet to 2.7 miles (650 - 4,300 meters) that had never been seen before.
On August 26, 2016, President Obama expanded the monument by 442,781 square miles, bringing the total protected area to 582,578 square miles and making it the world's largest marine protected area. Portions of the video originally filmed outside of Monument boundaries are now protected.
This expedition is part of a three-year effort to gain basic knowledge about the largely unknown marine protected areas in the Pacific. The combined information gained during this effort will help managers to better understand, and therefore protect, these special places.
Video courtesy of NOAA; produced by the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration.
How do national marine sanctuaries protect maritime heritage resources like historic shipwrecks? Find out in this week's Earth Is Blue video. Thanks to NOAA Ocean Today for sharing it with us!
"Science is our measuring stick to figure out if our legends are true," explains Hanohano Na'ehu of Hui o Kuapā - Keawanui Fishpond in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. And by collaborating with scientists, Hanohano is confirming the stories that native Hawaiians have used for generations to guide how they care for nature and interact with the environment. Watch our video to hear Hanohano's Stories from the Blue!
Have you gotten into your sanctuary this summer? In June, in honor of our national Get Into Your Sanctuary celebration, nine Blue Star certified dive charter operators led underwater clean-ups throughout Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Together, the shops collected hundreds of pounds of marine debris! Many thanks to Rainbow Reef Dive Center for sharing their video of their cleanup efforts with us -- and for their dedication to keeping the Florida Keys healthy! (Videography & editing: Logan Campbell)
The wreck of the historic USS Monitor rests 240 feet beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean in Monitor National Marine Sanctuary -- so visiting it isn't exactly easy. Fortunately, there are many places that offer the opportunity to discover the wonders of this great ship without getting your feet wet! Check out the USS Monitor Center, located at The Mariners' Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia, in our video.
Nudibranchs may look something out of a science fiction movie, but they're actually closely related to snails! Find out more about these colorful creatures in our video.
Safe haven for marine animals, or perfect place to catch a wave? Both! National marine sanctuaries like Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary protect hundreds of marine species -- and they're also perfect spots for responsible recreation. For Joe Green, ukulele craftsman and owner of Surf n Sea in O'ahu, the sanctuary protects important surf spots. Check out our video to learn more!
National marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments are the heart of many human communities, from native communities that have depended on the ocean for centuries and continue to do so, to vacationers who dive into sanctuary waters and surf their waves, to scientists and researchers who explore the ocean's depths. Join us each month as we tell stories from the blue celebrating the people at the center of national marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments: sanctuaries.noaa.gov/stories. This month, we tell the story of Nathaniel Linville, owner of The Angling Company in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary!
Many national marine sanctuaries are far offshore, but onshore exhibits around the country make it possible to get to know these special places without getting wet! Check out our video to learn about the partnership between Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Oakland Museum of California. Will you be visiting one of these exhibits soon? #EarthIsBlue.
Big news: Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary has proposed an expansion of its boundaries! Learn more about the proposed expansion in our video and find out how to comment on the proposal at flowergarden.noaa.gov/management/expansiondeis.htm
When you think of the might and power of the U.S. Navy, the first thing that comes to mind is not likely to be a tugboat. More likely, you picture a formidable aircraft carrier or a well-armed battleship, operated by hundreds and often thousands of sailors. A tug is an afterthought, if it's a thought at all. So why is the USS Conestoga -- a Navy fleet tug -- so important? Find out by watching this video.
What is coral bleaching and what can you do to help? Find out in our video! #EarthIsBlue Seaview Survey Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa
The National Marine Sanctuary System is home to a magnificent array of birds. Learn about them in our video! #EarthIsBlue
Thirty years ago, Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary was designated to protect the fringing coral reef ecosystem off the island of Tutuila in American Samoa. In 2012, the sanctuary expanded to protect five additional areas in American Samoa and became National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa! Learn more about this extraordinary marine sanctuary in our video and at americansamoa.noaa.gov.
Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to think about how you can protect ocean inhabitants! Trash travels -- about 50 tons of marine debris makes its way to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands each year, and those islands are remote and mostly uninhabited by humans. But by reducing the amount of waste you produce and participating in marine debris cleanups near you, you can help keep these special places clean and protect the animals that call them home! Learn more at marinedebris.noaa.gov.
From bottlenose dolphins in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to spinner dolphins in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, many species of dolphin frequent your national marine sanctuaries.
What's a turtle cleaning station? Check it out in our video and learn more here.
Ninety-five years ago the 56 brave crew members of the USS Conestoga gave their lives in service for their country when this U.S. Navy tug sank in what is now Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Check out our video to learn about the mission to identify the lost wreck of the Conestoga and the importance of this historic ship's final resting place -- and stay tuned for a longer video coming this Memorial Day celebrating this valiant crew. Naval History & Heritage Command
What lives in the deep seas of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument? Over the past few weeks, researchers aboard the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer have been finding out! They've been using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to dive thousands of meters beneath the surface of the ocean. Check out our video to see what they found, and click here to learn more about the expedition. (Footage courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Hohonu Moana.)
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron protects one of America's best-preserved and nationally significant collections of shipwrecks. But you don't have to be a diver to visit many of the wrecks within the sanctuary! Many of them are shallow enough to explore with just a snorkel.
Dive in to Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary! The rocky habitats of Cordell Bank emerge from the soft sediments of the continental shelf seafloor off the coast of California. This national marine sanctuary provides a home to colorful and abundant invertebrates, algae and fishes, while its productive waters attract migratory seabirds and marine mammals from all around the Pacific Ocean. What can you spot in our video?
How's your invasive species knowledge? In addition to the well-known lionfish, several other invasive species have moved in to national marine sanctuaries in recent years. Orange cup corals heavily colonize artificial surfaces in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and have also migrated onto natural reef surfaces in Flower Garden Banks. Zebra and quagga mussels are a problem in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, where they damage the ecosystem and degrade historic shipwrecks. Learn more about invasive species -- and how climate change may be affecting invasions -- in our video.
From Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary to Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary octopuses are found in many of our national marine sanctuaries. Check out our video to learn about these intelligent ocean creatures. Thank you to NOAA's Office of Exploration and Research for some amazing footage!
Happy World Whale Day! Each winter, thousands of humpback whales migrate to Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to mate, calve, and raise their young. The sanctuary is a spectacular place to watch these whales! It's important, though, to always give humpback whales and other marine animals plenty of space: whale calves are especially vulnerable to boat strikes as they often rest just beneath the surface. You can report injured or endangered whales to NOAA by calling the 24-hour hotline at 1-888-256-9840. (Photo: Ed Lyman/NOAA Permit 15240)
The Fisherman in the Classroom program invites commercial fishermen from Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary into the classroom to help students understand how they are connected to the ocean. Watch our video to learn more!
After a relatively short career as a freighter -- in which it carried what was then the largest load ever on the Great Lakes -- the James Davidson ran aground on October 4, 1883 in what is now Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Last summer, a team of volunteers from Alpena Community College and Grand Valley State University used an ROV to investigate the wreck of the Davidson. Check out what they found! Special thanks to Tim Parsell for sharing this video with us.
Do you have video or photos that you've taken in a national marine sanctuary? Learn how you can submit it for a chance to see it on our social media here. (Video: Tim Parsell/ACC/GVSU; Music: Kevin MacLeod [incompetech.com])
The F6F Hellcat was a crucial aircraft in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Sadly, more than 300 of these aircraft found a final resting place in the Hawaiian archipelago. Today, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and its partners -- like XL Catlin Seaview Survey -- are able to survey and document these historic wrecks, many of which now act as artificial reefs. Learn more about a recent survey in our video. Naval History & Heritage Command
What's the difference between seals and sea lions? Find out in our video!
In 1871, a fleet of 33 whaling ships sailing off the north coast of Alaska were warned by the local Inupiat people that it was going to be a bad weather year. They didn't listen. When the wind shifted and the ice came in, all 33 ships were trapped. While all the crew members miraculously survived, the ships went down, where they were lost until this September when researchers from our Maritime Heritage Program went to find them. Check out our video to see what they found.
Happy new year from Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument's green sea turtles!
Did you know that moray eels -- like this one filmed in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary -- have two sets of jaws? These eels seize their prey with the first set, then use the second jaw to pull their catch back toward the esophagus.
Zooplankton like krill may be small, but they are mighty! Because so many marine animals depend on these tiny animals for food, their size and abundance can tell researchers a lot about how healthy an ecosystem is. When there's lots of krill, there also tends to be plenty of seabirds and marine mammals around. Researchers from Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary work with ACCESS Partnership to survey the zooplankton in the sanctuary -- check out our video to learn more!
In early October, thousands of pelagic red crabs washed ashore in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. These crabs usually live offshore of Baja California, but warm waters, likely linked to El Niño, have transported them north. The last time these crabs washed ashore in the sanctuary was 1982-83, also an El Niño year. Watch our video to learn more!
Researchers from Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument recently teamed up to conduct a survey of the coral reefs throughout the Main Hawaiian Islands, which are currently being affected by a mass bleaching event. Coral bleaching occurs when corals are stressed -- in this case, by warm ocean water -- and expel the symbiotic algae that they need to survive. Together with researchers from the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program, the NOAA Hawaiian Islands Sentinel Site Cooperative, NOAA Fisheries Service Coral Reef Ecosystem Program, and the State of Hawai'i, sanctuary researchers collected data that will help them evaluate where bleaching is occurring and which species are most affected. Check out our video to learn more! #CoralsWeek
This September, scientists surveyed the deep reefs of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. What they found was amazing: a high abundance of species found only in the Hawaiian Islands and specimens and photographs of potential new species of fish, algae, and invertebrates!
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary helps regional schools participate in the MATE ROV Competition. Check out our video to learn how building submersibles helps students get a leg up on the competition for complex jobs in marine industries from science and exploration to search and recovery -- plus, it's pretty fun!
On October 1, 1957, USNS Mission San Miguel departed Apra Harbor, Guam, bound for Seattle, Washington. A week later on October 8th, the ship ran aground on Maro Reef in what is now Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument while running at full speed and carrying only ballast. The U.S. Navy safely evacuated the 42-member crew. This August, a team of NOAA scientists and research partners aboard National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ship Hiʻialakai discovered Mission San Miguel during a multidisciplinary expedition to the monument. At 523 feet in length, Mission San Miguel is the largest ship reported lost in the monument. Naval History & Heritage Command
Sanctuary volunteer Steve Kroll has been diving on wrecks like the Joseph S. Fay inThunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary since he was young. Now, the Joseph S. Fay is one of 32 wrecks in the sanctuary to have a seasonal mooring buoy that allows boaters to easily locate the wreck -- plus, now those boaters don't have to drop anchor and risk damaging the wrecks. With the buoy, paddlers, divers, and snorkelers alike can check out the ship, which wrecked in 1905 during a strong gale in Lake Huron! Learn moreabout the Joseph S. Fay and other Thunder Bay wrecks.
Happy Halloween! You'll never guess what the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research found near Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary...
Green sea turtles like this one filmed by Trystan Snodgrass in La Jolla are highly migratory. They range throughout the Pacific Ocean and are found in many national marine sanctuaries, including Channel Islands! Do you have footage or photos that you've taken in a national marine sanctuary? Share it with us for a chance to appear as part of by emailing email@example.com! But remember to always give marine animals plenty of space: a great photo is NEVER worth harassing wildlife. If an animal is rapidly changing direction, swimming erratically, or trying to get away, cautiously move away from it and let it be.
As National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says, "No matter what you see out your living room window or off of your back porch, you are first and foremost a citizen of the planet – and a citizen of an ocean planet." With that in mind, a year ago today we launched to bring you incredible images and videos of America’s underwater treasures. Watch our video to learn why we’ve been sharing these images and how you can help us keep this blue planet vibrant!
A common misconception about white sharks is that they're mindless killing machines. Not so! Researchers in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary are finding that these predators have very specific feeding strategies and are cautious about what they'll approach. Check out our video to learn more! #Sharktober
Sometimes people ask whether national marine sanctuaries are closed to the public. That couldn't be further from the truth! We welcome visitors, and there's so much to do in your sanctuaries. Check out our video for some ideas!
Join Shannon Lyday and Jon Martinez on a tour of Honolua Bay in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary! We've been working with XL Catlin Seaview Survey to take 360 images of coral reefs across the sanctuary system so that we can track the health of these amazing habitats.
Sea otters aren't just adorable animals with more fur per square inch than any other mammal. They're also an important keystone species, meaning their presence is central to the health of their environment. Researchers have recently been investigating how sea otter reintroduction has affected the ecosystem in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary -- check out our video to learn more! #SeaOtterAwarenessWeek
In recent years, Indo-Pacific lionfish have invaded reefs throughout the southeastern United States, the Caribbean Sea, and much of the Gulf of Mexico, including in Gray's Reef, Florida Keys, and Flower Garden Banks national marine sanctuaries. With enormous appetites and no natural predators, these fish are threatening the integrity and health of these precious habitats. But why, exactly, have lionfish been so successful in their new habitats? Hollings Scholar Kelsey Miller worked this summer with Dr. James Morris to find out.
Rare footage: Grouper eating a lionfish! Lionfish typically have no known natural predators in the Atlantic Ocean. Watch as scientists try to determine what they eat, to see how lionfish eating habits may impact the ecosystem. Next week, tune in to watch the third installment of the lionfish series.
Have you ever seen an alien invasion? If you look closely underwater, you will. The venomous lionfish are taking over Atlantic coral reefs, out-competing native organisms for food and space. Watch to learn more about research being performed about these invasive fish. Stay tuned next week to learn about what the lionfish are eating in the reefs. Click here to learn more about lionfish.
ICYMI: This weekend, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research launched the next leg of their Okeanos Explorer expedition -- this time in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Check out our video to learn why the last leg, in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, was so important, and to see some awesome deep sea footage!
Did you know that the Hawaiian name for the Hawaiian monk seal is "llio holo I ka uaua," meaning "dog that runs in rough water"? This one basking in the sun in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary doesn't seem to be particularly interested in running today...
Take a trip with us to the wreck of the D.M. Wilson in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary! The Wilson was headed for Milwaukee with a load of coal in 1894 when it sprang a leak and began sinking. The steamers Hudson and Samuel Mitchell took it in tow but it foundered in 40 feet of water two miles north of Thunder Bay Island; the crew was rescued by a fourth ship. The Wilson was broken up by a gale 10 days later and much of the machinery was later salvaged. Still, most of the Wilson's hull remains intact today, including a large windlass that rests on the bow.
What's one key way that researchers can monitor what's living in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary? Acoustic monitoring! With acoustic receivers, we can get the exact position of tagged animals like leopard sharks, sicklefin lemon sharks, juvenile white sharks, and sevengill sharks, which use the sanctuary as habitat and help maintain the ecosystem.
Northern elephant seals spend most of their time at sea, but during breeding and molting seasons they come ashore in places like Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. During breeding season, males -- which can weigh more than 4,000 pounds and have a large, elephantine proboscis -- fiercely compete for females. These seals can be great fun to watch, but make sure to give them plenty of space! Although they may look docile lounging on the beach, they can be extremely quick and aggressive.
"Science can make us smarter," says Hanohano Na'ehu, of Hui o Kuapā - Keawanui Fishpond, "but we believe native intelligence can make science smarter also." That kind of collaboration is one of the many things that make Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary such a special place.
Celebrate your Friday with some green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas)! Known as honu in Hawaiian, these sea turtles are found in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Primarily vegetarians, honu chow down on limu (algae) and seagrasses!
How do researchers study marine mammal and seabird food sources? With a tucker trawl! Using this system of nets that open and close at different depths in the water column, researchers can sample zooplankton and other small marine organisms. A few weeks ago, researchers for ACCESS Partnership did just that in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. ACCESS data have been used to help redirect large ships away from important feeding areas and better understand impacts from El Niño and climate change by tracking important seabird and marine mammal forage species.
With their recent expansion, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary now cover more than 4500 square miles of ocean off the coast of California -- more than double the area that was initially protected! Check out our video to learn why that's so important.
Are you getting excited for Get Into Your Sanctuary days this weekend? We are! Check out all the awesome things you can do when you
Woah! As of this year, the Hawaiian islands Disentanglement Network has freed 22 whales from 9500 feet of fishing gear in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Watch to see how it's done, and click here to learn more (and to see a baby whale being disentangled!). #30DaysOfOcean
Each year, an estimated 52 tons of derelict fishing gear and other debris washes up in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, threatening the pristine ecosystem and animals like Hawaiian monk seals and sea turtles. And each year, NOAA works to remove that debris. Check out our video to see how these intrepid divers and researchers freed a sea turtle from a fishing net, and learn more about their mission at the Marine Debris Program Blog. #30DaysOfOcean
From coral reefs to kelp forests, our ocean is truly amazing. Dive in with us as we kick off 30 Days of Ocean!
How do you test an ROV? In the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary's training and #dive tank! With 600,000 gallons of water, it's handy for training everyone from marine archaeologists to ROV pilots.
Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity. National marine sanctuaries support a wide variety, or diversity, of life, from vibrant coral reefs to towering kelp forests. Watch this video to see more of the collection of marine life found in our sanctuaries.
Ever wonder what lies beneath the treacherous waters of the Great Lakes? Fire, ice, collisions, and storms have claimed over 200 vessels in and around Thunder Bay. Watch as NOAA divers prepare to film shipwrecks in the newly expanded Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
National marine sanctuaries play an important role in protecting some of America's most valuable marine ecosystems. They provide safe haven for many endangered species, such as orcas, Hawaiian monk seals, white abalone, and several types of salmon and sea turtles. Watch to learn about the actions sanctuaries are taking to save these endangered animals.
Find out what eight species NOAA considers most at risk of extinction in the near future.
Ever wonder what NOAA researchers do when they head out to sea? Check out our video from the just-completed research trip to Davidson Seamount in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary aboard the NOAA ship Bell M Shimada!
Ocean recreation, in-action! Check out our highlights reel of the experiences awaiting visitors to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and listen to some local surfing legends share their views on what makes the breaks off Santa Cruz county ideal surf spots.
Steller sea lions are one of the 29 species of marine mammals residing in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Also called the northern sea lion, stellers are the largest species of sea lions, with males weighing up to 2,400lbs! Steller sea lions are named for the George Wilhelm Steller, the German surgeon and naturalist who first described them.
This is Summer, a passionate and determined 7 year old girl with a big heart and a lot of love for the environment. She has always had a special connection to the environment, and enjoys both learning about it and being a part of it. Summer feels very strongly about protecting wildlife and nature, and hopes to inspire others with the positive choices she makes.
Frozen in time, many of the world's best preserved shipwrecks lie in the Great Lakes' cold, fresh water. Steve Kroll, a wreck diver and retired teacher, has been diving the wrecks located in and around the treacherous waters of Thunder Bay, since the 1970s. When NOAA proposed establishing Thunder Bay as a national marine sanctuary in the late 1990's, people like Steve met the idea with strong opposition. As the idea became a reality, however, time would begin to reshape Steve's view of the sanctuary, the shipwrecks it aims to protect, and the communities it brings together. This is Steve's journey of discovery. A personal story about the thrill of the hunt, and one man's evolution from stalwart sanctuary opponent...
What can you find in this forest? Underwater kelp forests, like the ones in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary are home to many animals, such as sea otters. Sea otters have adapted to life almost entirely in the water and spend their time by floating belly-up or feeding around the kelp beds.
What does it take to keep an ecosystem healthy? Reproduction helps. Thousands of adult Nassau Groupers meet every year at the same site around Little Cayman for spawning. National Marine Sanctuaries are working to identify and protect spawning aggregation sites as part of the stewardship to these exceptional places. Visit www.reef.org/groupermoonproject for more information.