Marine Mammals Of Point Loma
Photographs From Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito, CA.
by Garth Graves
Marine Mammals You Could See
Photographs From American Cetacean Society and Monterey Bay Aquarium
Gray Whales (Dec-Apr)
Marine Mammals You Might See
Small rogue pod in local So Ca
Summer feed in Arctic
Winter in Hawaii, Mexico and the Mariannas
Fin, Sei, Blue, Minke, Brydes, Right, and Sperm Whales
Marine Mammals You Won’t See
What’s the difference …
…between a Cetacean and a Pinniped?
– Cetacean (Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises)
- Sea creature
- Blow holes
- Fins are not used for walking
- No external ears; ear canals thought to be non-functional
– Pinniped (Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses)
- Can breathe on land
- Breathe through mouth and nose
- Fins are modified more as “arms” or “legs”
- Can hear through ears
…between Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises?
– All whales, dolphins and porpoises are really whales
– Most whales and all dolphins and porpoises are in the toothed whale order
– Some whales have baleen instead of teeth
– Whales are generally longer than about 9 feet, dolphins and porpoises are generally less than 9 feet
– Baleen whales are generally the largest of the Cetaceans
…between Dolphins and Porpoises?
– NOAA says the differences between dolphins and porpoises essentially comes down to their faces, fins, and figures
– Dolphins are lean, porpoises are portly
– Dolphins are more prevalent than porpoises
– Dolphins are more talkative than porpoises
– Dolphins make whistling sounds through their blowholes to communicate with one another underwater. Scientists are pretty sure that porpoises do not do this, and some think this may be due to structural differences in the porpoise’s blowhole.
– Dolphins have cone-shaped teeth while porpoises have flat or spade-shaped teeth.
– Dolphins usually have a pronounced “beak,” while porpoises have a rounded head.
– Dolphins generally have a very curved or hooked dorsal fin, while porpoises have a triangular dorsal fin.
– Porpoises are generally smaller than dolphins.
– Most porpoises are shy, live close to shore and are less likely to ride alongside the bows of ships than dolphins.
…between a Seal and a Sea Lion?
- Bullet shaped
- “Bumpy” way of moving on land
- Furry, generally stubby front feet
- Claw on each small toe
- Vocalize via soft grunts
- Better adapted to live in water than on land
- Smaller and more aerodynamic
- Hind flippers angle backward and don’t rotate; not modified for walking
– Sea Lions
- Ear flaps
- Skin-covered, elongated fore flippers
- Can rotate hind flippers forward and underneath big body
- More social than seals
- Better at terrestrial locomotion as fins are modified for walking
Whale Shapes and Sizes
Whale Shapes and Sizes and Status
Behaviors Seen From Shore
– Seals and Sea Lions feeding in the surf
– Dolphins and Porpoises (inside or beyond the kelp) leaping, spinning
– Gray Whales (beyond the kelp) spouting on their annual migration (south: Dec-Jan; North: Feb-Apr)
Mother and Calf large and small blows nearly simultaneous
Juveniles just hanging around
Of What you Can See From Shore, You Can’t See Much of Them…
Gray Whale’s Breathing Pattern…Two or Three Blows, then Sounds
Spouting and Sounding
200mm Shore View
Photos by Ronald J. Britton – fellow Geocacher
Gray Whale Annual Migration
Rate of Travel
- at 4 MPH X 24 hours = 96 miles/day
- 6,000 mile migration = 62 days
- Divided by 7 days/week = 9 weeks
- Divided by 4 weeks/month = 2+ months
- Calving females time departure for due date
- The Chechen Sea may ice over mid-October
- Mid-November she has traveled 2,880 miles
- Mid-December she has traveled 5,760 miles to lagoons of coast of Mexico
10,000 Mile Migration
- California Gray Whale population under 2,000 twice in last 150 years
- Whaling restricted in U.S. in 1937, in the world in 1947
- Marine Mammal Protection Act expands to other species
- Population estimated to be 20,000+
- Sea World has a viable marine mammal rescue program for Southern California
- Up to 475 rescues annually
- Possible reasons for beaching:
DO NOT APPROACH
CALL A RANGER
Vintage Photos from CNM Archives
Last revised 15-Dec-15