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Monterey Bay: The Living Sanctuary

Sea Otters are early morning risers. Before the sun comes up, they start their daily feeding which requires that they consume about a quarter of their body weight in food each day. (photo: Kip Evans)

Male Elephant seals can reach 15 feet in length and weigh up to 5,000 pounds.(photo: Kip Evans)

Large, dominant male Elephant seals establish harem areas where they will mate with several females during a season. (photo: Kip Evans)

Elephant seals are incredible swimmers. Male Elephant seals travel more than 4,000 miles between summer feeding areas and winter breeding grounds. (photo: Kip Evans)

These California sea lions are adult males that can weigh up to 750 pounds. Sea lions use the rocky inter tidal for rest and refuge. (photo: Kip Evans)

In many places along the California coast, visitors can observe sea lions congregating in large groups called rafts. (photo: Kip Evans)

Common dolphins are just one of the many species of dolphins that live within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. (photo: Kip Evans)

34 different species of marine mammals live in, or visit the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Of those, many are large whales such as Humpbacks. (photo: Kip Evans)

Gray whales swim through the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary during their round trip migration to Baja Mexico. (photo: Kip Evans)

Blue whales, the largest creatures ever to roam this Earth, visit the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary during the summer months. They come for the abundance of krill found along the edges of the Monterey Bay Canyon. (photo: Kip Evans)

Leopard sharks are a rare and unusual sight int he kelp forests of Monterey Bay. These harmless sharks eat a variety of bottom dwelling invertebrates. (photo: Kip Evans)

Jack Mackerel are one example of the many types of silver sided fish found in the Sanctuary. (photo: Kip Evans)

Black rockfish are large, powerful swimmers. They, like some other rockfish, suspend themselves among kelp fronds to ambush and consume smaller fish. (photo: Kip Evans)

This Cabezon, which lives in the rocky substrate of most of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary kelp forests, spends most of its time on the bottom feeding and guarding its bright colored eggs. (photo: Kip Evans)

This Killdeer and other shorebirds take advantage of the rich invertebrate life found between the grains of sand along the shores of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. (photo: Kip Evans)

Many predators take advantage of the rocky inter tidal areas at low tide. These black oyster catchers are feeding on California mussels attached to the reef. (photo: Kip Evans)


Wetland areas such as Elkhorn slough have as many as 50-60 different species of birds visiting each year. The Snowy egret is one of the most common species. (photo: Kip Evans)

Kelp is the fastest growing marine algae in the world. It grows an incredible 24 inches a day. (photo: Kip Evans)

Blood worms and other invertebrates are some of the most important food sources for thousands of shore birds that visit the Sanctuary in the fall and winter months. (photo: Kip Evans)


Many types of invertebrates live within the inter tidal zone. This Leather Star is one of the smoothest textured starfish in the world - it also smells like garlic! (photo: Kip Evans)

This nudibranch is just one example of the many different species of nudibranches that live in the inter tidal zone. Because most are less than an inch in length, you must search hard to fine these interesting creatures. (photo: Kip Evans)

Many starfish species inhabit kelp forests. This giant-spined star is one of the larger, more colorful sea stars found in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. (photo: Kip Evans)

The opalescent nudibranch has exposed gills (called certa) on its back - hence the name nudibranch. (photo: Kip Evans)

This purple striped jelly fish is just one example of the many types of jellies that mysteriously appear and vanish throughout the year in the Sanctuary. (photo: Kip Evans)

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