2017 Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest Results

Below are the winners and entries for the "Sanctuary Life" category. Thank you to all those who participated! Click each photograph to see the full version.

Sanctuary Life

From tiny krill to enormous gray whales, thousands of species call the National Marine Sanctuary System home! This category depicts the amazing marine life that you can find in your national marine sanctuaries.

sea nettle
1st Place: A bloom of sea nettles drifts through Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Curtis Wee
sea otter mother and pup
2nd Place: A sea otter grooms her pup in the Great Tidepool of the aquarium at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Eric Palmer
green sea turtle
3rd Place: A green sea turtle, or honu in Hawaiian, hangs out at Maluaka Beach in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Mike Rineer

All Submitted Photos

anemones on seafloor
Bright and beautiful, anemones form a clustered garden at Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Michelle Manson
bat star on stone
An orange bat star (Asternia miniata) clings to a rock near Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Tony Knight
blue whale from above
A blue whale is spotted east of Santa Cruz Island during a marine mammal survey in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: John Burke
california sea lion in kelp forest
A playful sea lion approaches a group of divers in the kelp forests of Channel Island National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Curtis Wee
common dolphin
A common dolphin breaks the surface near Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: John Burke
two common dolphins
Two common dolphins race to ride the bow wake of a boat near Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: John Burke
common dolphin
A common dolphin pops to the surface while riding the wake of a boat in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: John Burke
golden gorgonian
A golden gorgonian grows from the rocks near Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Tony Knight
gray whale
A gray whale peers above the waves in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: John Burke
black and white photo of a harbor seal in kelp forest
A curious harbor seal studies a diver near Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Michelle Manson
fox
An island fox on Santa Cruz Island is part of a rebounding population in Channel Islands National Park. Photo: Aura Leaf Kaila Edmondson
kelp bass in kelp
A kelp bass swims through golden strands of kelp growing near Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Tony Knight
male sheephead in kelp forest
A pink and blue male sheephead swims through dark rocks and golden kelp in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Tony Knight
salp strand
A salp strand, which is a chain of tiny gelatinous tunicates, floats near San Miguel Island in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Michelle Manson
two female sheepheads
Two female sheephead touch faces in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Tony Knight
tube anemone
A tube anemone sprouts from the rocks around Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Tony Knight
orange christmas tree worm
A brightly-colored Christmas tree worm sits on star coral in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Steve Miller
cocoa damselfish
A cocoa damselfish is striking against its colorful surroundings in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Steve Miller
purple frogfish
A lavender-hued frogfish sits on colorful sponges in Stetson Bank at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Steve Miller
graysby
A graysby (Cephalopholis cruentatus) shows off its speckled pattern at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Steve Miller
graysby
A graysby (Cephalopholis cruentatus) shows off its speckled pattern at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Steve Miller
manta ray
A manta ray creates a smooth, dark sillhouette as it passes through sunny waters. Photo: Steve Miller
seaweed blenny
A seaweed blenny pokes its purple head out in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Steve Miller
spotted moray eel
A spotted moray eel gives its best smile in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Steve Miller
squirrelfish
A squirrelfish swims in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Steve Miller
american alligator
An American alligator rests in the morning sun in the Everglades, near Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Lindsey Washiashi
two atlantic spadefish
A pair of Atlantic spadefish gently make their way through the water around Molasses Reef in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Daryl Duda
diver inspects bleached pillar coral
A diver from Keys Marine Laboratory photographs a pillar coral during a warm-water bleaching event in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Karen Neely
blue-striped grunts
A school of blue-striped grunts are found at Snapper Ledge in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Romain Chaput
elkhorn and pillar corals
A diver examines endangered elkhorn and pillar corals at Sombrero Key, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Karen Neely
female pillar corals spawning
Female pillar corals spawn during their once-a-year mating event in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Karen Neely
black and white photo of a french angelfish
A French angelfish investigates a diver within Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Karen Neely
gray angelfish
This elegant gray angelfish was admired at French Reef in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Daryl Duda
grouper swimming through a school of baitfish
A grouper lurks within a school of baitfish on Sombrero Reef, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Karen Neely
portuguese man-o-war
A Portugese man-o-war floats in Biscayne Bay, near Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Gary Herlth
portuguese man-o-war
A Portugese man-o-war floats in Biscayne Bay, near Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Gary Herlth
queen angelfish on coral reef
A vivid queen angelfish brightens Molasses Reef in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Rick Hein
scrawled filefish above coral reef
Four beautiful scrawled filefish perform what looks like a ballet at Molasses Reef off Key Largo in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Daryl Duda
snappers and grunts
Snapper and grunts guard the passageway to the Benwood wreck off Key Largo in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Credt: Daryl Duda
southern stingray
A southern stingray soars by a diver from the Florida Aquarium during a research dive in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Dr. Karen Neely
trunkfish
A trunkfish swims around a moat wall surrounding Fort Jefferson on Garden Key, near Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Laurie Lee
white grunts and staghorn coral
White grunts assemble around staghorn coral at the Coral Restoration Foundation's nursery in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Daryl Duda
whitespotted filefish in different color phases
Off of Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, two whitespotted filefish meet. They are the same species but in different color phases. Photo: Daryl Duda
common murre swimming
A common murre searches for food to feed its chick in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Patrick Sysiong
three common murres flying
Common murre adults bring fish back for their chicks on Farallon Island in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Patrick Sysiong
many common murres flying
Flocks of common murres fly back and forth from the Farallon Islands to take care of their hungry chicks in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Patrick Sysiong
gray whale at the ocean surface
A gray whale breaks the surface for a quick breath near Farallon Island in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Patrick Sysiong
opalescent nudibranch
An opalescent nudibranch crawls across Duxbury Reef in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Geoff Ehlers
a small sea star held on a human fingertip
A tiny white sea star was found on the beaches of Point Reyes in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Jessica Bender
black and red sea urchins
A black sea urchin and a pencil-slate sea urchin sit side by side in the Molokini Shoal Marine Life Conservation District of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Julia Andrews White
orange and blue fish on black background
A Potter's angelfish (Centropyge potteri) is bright in the night waters of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Christopher D'Arminio
bright pink frogfish
A bright pink frogfish enjoys the warm, shallow waters of Keawakapu Beach in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Mike Rineer
hawaiian spinner dolphins underwater
A group of spinner dolphins emerges from the deep in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Alexandra Avila
longjaw squirrelfish facing toward the camera
A longjaw squirrelfish swims above pale green corals in the Makena Beach area of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Mike Rineer
longspine porcupinefish
A longspine porcupinefish swims calmly above a reef at Ulua Beach in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Mike Rineer
small eel hiding in the spines of a red pencil urchin
A dwarf moray eel slips through the thick radiols of a red pencil urchin at Ulua Beach in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Mike Rineer
butterfly resting on flowers
A spicebush swallowtail butterfly sips from a plant at the proposed Mallows Bay national marine sanctuary. Photo: Angela Bunker
butterfly resting on flowers
A spicebush swallowtail butterfly sips from a plant at the proposed Mallows Bay national marine sanctuary. Photo: Angela Bunker
dragonfly on reef
A dragonfly alights on a reed at the proposed Mallows Bay national marine sanctuary. Photo: Angela Bunker
aggregating anemones
Amid a large clone of aggregating anemones, one remains open while the tide falls in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Stephanie Stock
sea anemone
A close-up of an anemone in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Jody Parker
black-footed albatross flying close to the water
Wingtips just inches above the surface, a black-footed albatross glides effortlessly over the glassy waters of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Douglas Croft
blue whale
A blue whale surfaces for a breath in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Nicole Moreland
blue whale surface feeding
A blue whale surface-feeding on krill in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Nicole Moreland
brandt's cormorant underwater
A Brandt's cormorant dives beneath the waves in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Curtis Wee
brandt's cormorant underwater
A Brandt's cormorant plunges beneath the waves in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Curtis Wee
breaching humpback whale
A humpback whale breaches at Moss Landing in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Nicole Moreland
breaching humpback whale
A humpback whale breaches gracefully in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Nicole Moreland
humpback whale calf breaching near its mother
A humpback whale calf playfully breaches near its mother in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Nicole Moreland
harbor seal and pup
A harbor seal and her little pup lie on the beach in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Fernando Ibanez
california sea lion in kelp forest
Through the thick strands of a Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary kelp forest, a sea lion appears in front of divers. Photo: Curtis Wee
california sea lion porpoising
An agile sea lion rockets from the water in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Douglas Croft
sea lion on dock
A sea lion rests at Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Wendi Amber Zuccaro
california sea lion leaping from the water
A California sea lion launches from the water near Bird Rock Vista Point in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Peter Richardson
california sea lions resting on boat rock
A trio of California sea lions cuddle on a boat dock in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Jessica Bender
dock shrimp
A dock shrimp gazes into the camera with its bright blue eyes in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Curtis Wee
elegant term emerging from a dive
An elegant tern emerges from a dive in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Douglas Croft
fin whale
A fin whale surface-feeding on krill in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Nicole Moreland
birds flying over beach and waves
A flock of willets suddenly takes flight as the waves rush in at Sunset State Beach in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Stephanie Stock
giant green anemones
A cluster of giant green anemone (Anthropleura xanthogrammica) glow in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Fernando Ibanez
seal hauled out
A seal rests on a rock at Pebble Beach in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Jody Parker
great blue heron standing in water
A great blue heron is reflected in a pond near Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Fernando Ibanez
green anemone underwater
A green sea anemone shows off its bright coloration in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Melissa Anne Thomas
harbor seal
A harbor seal with curly whiskers rests at Point Lobos State Reserve in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Peter Richardson
harbor seal
A harbor seal balances on its side in the Monterey Harbor of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Will Fitzgerald
harbor seal floating in kelp
A harbor seal, wrapped in a blanket of kelp, floats and naps on the surface of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Eric Palmer
hermit crab
The shocking blue eyes of a hermit crab contrast against its algae-covered shell in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Curtis Wee
herring gull eating pelagic red crab
A herring gull eats a pelagic red crab at Lovers Point Park at sunset in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Amy Sibiga
hopkins' rose nudibranch
A Hopkins' rose nudibranch glides over rocks covered in coralline algae in a tide pool in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Stephanie Stock
humpback whale tail
Tails up with this humpback whale near Moss Landing in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary! Photo: Fernando Ibanez
humpback whale spout
A humpback whale spout breaks the early morning ocean surface in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Douglas Croft
humpback whales surfacing
Two humpback whales surface close together in the fog at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Tera Killip
humpback whale tails above the ocean surface
Six humpback whales dive in front of Moss Landing in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Nicole Moreland
humpback whale tail slapping
A humpback whale tail slaps the water in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Will Fitzgerald
male elephant seals fighting
Juvenile male northern elephant seals wrestle in the surf in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Will Fitzgerald
sea nettles and kelp
A major bloom of brown sea nettles drifts through Monterey Harbor in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
juvenile elephant seal
A young elephant seal rests at Piedras Blancas in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Melinda Mohamed
octopus hiding in rocky reef
A giant Pacific octopus hides in a rocky reef of Breakwater Cove at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Taylor Eddy
wolf eel
A wolf eel sticks out from the rocks at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Michelle Manson
common dolphins
A group of long-beaked common dolphins porpoise in a boat's wake in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Nicole Moreland
humpback whales lunge feeding
A group of humpback whales lunge feed on a school of anchovies in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Douglas Croft
humpback whales lunge feeding
A pair of humpback whales lunge feed in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Nicole Moreland
opalescent nudibranch
An opalescent nudibranch crawls at Breakwater in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Melissa Anne Thomas
opalescent nudibranch
An opalescent nudibranch crawls across the seafloor at Breakwater in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Melissa Anne Thomas
orcas
A pair of orca whales make a surprise appearance near Cannery Row in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Peter Richardson
pacific sea nettles
Pacific sea nettles drift in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Michelle Manson
pacific white sided dolphin porpoising
A Pacific white-sided dolphin porpoises in a boat's wake in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Nicole Moreland
pacific white-sided dolphin does a backflip
A female Pacific white-sided dolphin does a series of back-flips in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Douglas Croft
pelagic red crabs in kelp
Pelagic red crabs, usually found in Baja California, were brought to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in warm currents driven by El NiƱo events. Photo: Eric Palmer
risso's dolphin calf and mother
A newborn Risso's dolphin calf gets playful as it swims next to its mother in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Douglas Croft
green sea anemone on rock
A green sea anemone is attached to a rock at Breakwater in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Melissa Anne Thomas
sea anemone
A sea anemone sits above sea stars in Breakwater, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Melissa Anne Thomas
sea anemone with barnacle
A shiny barnacle is nestled in a sea anemone in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Jody Parker
sea lions
Sea lions congregate on a pier in Moss Landing in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Cat Harper
sea lions swimming
Sea lions swim near the Coast Guard pier in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Melissa Anne Thomas
sea lions on rocks
Sea lions relax on rocks in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Melissa Anne Thomas
sea otter
A curious sea otter floats in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Aura Leaf Kaila Edmondson
sea otter
A sea otter rests at Moss Landing in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Cat Harper
sea otter on shore
A sea otter hauled out on a beach in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Tera Killip
sea otter eating
A sea otter enjoys a snack near Lover's Point in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Peter Richardson
sea otter
A sea otter surprises the photographer at Monterey Wharf in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Michelle Manson
sea otter mother and pup
A sea otter mother holds her fluffy pup in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Curtis Wee
sea otter wrapped in plastic
While sea otters will usually wrap themselves in kelp to keep from drifting while they nap, this one had wrapped himself in a sheet of plastic that he had found in the harbor at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Plastic marine debris can threaten marine life like sea otters. Photo: Douglas Croft
sea star in seagrass
A six-armed star (Leptasterias) navigates the minus tide with its tube feet reaching in a field of surfgrass (Phyllospadix) at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Stephanie Stock
snowy plover
A snowy plover stands on Gazos Creek Beach. The band indicates that it was born and banded at Oceana Dunes in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Jack Sutton
strawberry anemones
Tiny strawberry anemones reach out for food atop a bed of orange sponge at Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Stephanie Stock
sunburst anemone in tidepool
A large sunburst anemone is reflected in the surface of its tide pool in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Stephanie Stock
western gulls fighting over food
Two stubborn western gulls play tug-of-war over lunch before taking the struggle airborne and into the water at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Stephanie Stock
seal in the waves
Amidst crashing waves, a seal peeps above the surf in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Nancy Jacobson
basking shark
A basking shark, mouth wide open, feeds on zooplankton in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Carolyn O'Connor
humpback whale breaching
A humpback whale breaches off the coast of Provincetown in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Will Fitzgerald
humpback whales feeding
Humpback whales feed on the southern edge of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Will Fitzgerald
humpback whales feeding
A pair of humpback whales "kick feed": they raise their flukes out of the water and slap them down to create bubbles to corral fish, then come up with open mouths. Photo: Carolyn O'Connor
humpback whale spyhopping
A humpback whale spyhops in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Allison Kader

Please note that we may use any of the photos we received for this contest on our website, on social media, and in other NOAA and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation publications. We will provide credit to photographers whenever we use any of the photos.