Life in the Blue

What do humpback whales, northern elephant seals, spiny lobsters and nudibranchs have in common?

They all live in national marine sanctuaries.

These special places protect the thousands of species — from tiny phytoplankton to enormous blue whales — that call the ocean and Great Lakes home. National marine sanctuaries provide much-needed refuge for endangered species like the southern resident orca and the Hawaiian monk seal. They also provide protection for fragile ecosystems like coral reefs that in turn provide a home for fish, marine mammals and invertebrates.

National marine sanctuaries are uniquely positioned to help these marine species. Whether it’s through disentangling whales and other large marine animals that have been caught in fishing nets and marine debris, or researching the effects of ocean acidification on shellfish and other organisms, sanctuary staff and partners devote their time and energy to making sure life in the blue can continue to flourish.