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Gulf of the Farallones: Habitats

Computer imagery shows the topography of the seafloor of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the steep drop-off of the continental slope past the Farallon Islands. (photo: USGS Woods Hole)

Just beyond the Golden Gate of San Francisco lies an ocean wilderness awaiting discovery. (photo: Gulf of the Farallones NMS)

Drake's Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore provides a meeting place for land and sea. Elephant seals have just recently started to recolonize this area. (photo: National Park Service)

Sunrise at Stinson Beach in Marin County is a sight to behold in the early glow of morning. Twenty minutes from San Francisco, this is a popular weekend destination. (photo: Patty Gaffney)

Sanctuary waves lap on the shores of many sandy beaches up and down the California coast. Public access is readily available in many locations. (photo: Gulf of the Farallones NMS)

The Sanctuary meets the land with force in the rocky intertidal zone. High energy waves are often present along shoreline areas of the Gulf of the Farallones. (photo Dan Howard)

An aerial view of Tomales Point and the entrance to Tomales Bay also offers a perspective of the San Andreas fault and two converging plates photo: Gulf of the Farallones NMS)

Sunset over the waters of the Sanctuary during a tranquil evening at sea. (photo: Sylvia Earle)

The rocky intertidal comprises a narrow ribbon of habitat along the coast of the Gulf of the Farallones. Many species of invertebrates and algae thrive in this unique habitat which is exposed and submerged twice a day. (photo: Joe Heath)

In the open waters of the Sanctuary, kelp rafts form an important floating habitat for congregations of fish, sea lions, and birds. (photo: Karina Racz)

Schools of rockfish congregate in forests of nearshore kelp. (photo: Tony Chess)

Bolinas Lagoon, buffered by Stinson Beach and the Sea Drift spit, is an important haul out site for harbor seals in the Sanctuary. (photo: Gulf of the Farallones NMS)

The picturesque wetlands of Tomales Bay stretch inshore and provide important habitat for birds on the Pacific flyway. (photo: Dan Howard)

Nutrient-rich mudflats reflect the evening glow at Tomales Bay. (photo Dan Howard)

The Estero de San Antonio and the Estero Americano are unique brackish rivers that are within the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. (photo: Dan Howard)

An aerial perspective shows the South Farallon Islands, surrounded by the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. (photo: Jan Roletto)

Arch Rock and the rugged landscape of Southeast Farallon. (photo: Amber Mace)

A lone fragment of the South Farallones juts from the sea in a dramatic close to another day in the Sanctuary. Likely the same view that inspired a Franciscan friar to name the desolate rocks "Farallon," meaning "jagged rock." (photo: Karina Racz)

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Revised September 12, 2023 by Sanctuaries Web Team | Contact Us | Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service
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