TOPP is another cool website

TOPP is another great website I recently discovered that I wanted to share. TOPP actually stands for Tagging of Pacific Predators. On the home page you can see where tagged animals have traveled including a white shark, a tuna, a male elephant seal and a leatherback turtle to name a few. There is so much… [read more]

Historical note on the northern elephant seal

One important fact that I didn’t have room to mention in my column on elephant seals is that they too were victims of exploitation, I’m talking major exploitation. According to the book Elephant Seals by Carole and Phil Adams, “by the end of the 1880s elephant seals were thought to be extinct, due to the… [read more]

Elephant seals: ocean aliens have landed!

Picture an elephant crossed with a seal and add in a little “District 9” alien. The result: the male northern elephant seal or Mirounga angustirostris. The elephant part of the description helps convey the sheer mass of the male elephant seal, plus the shape of its nose. According to the book Elephant Seals by Carole… [read more]

Bones: water living changes bones

Here I thought that reading the section on bones in the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals would bore me to tears. And well let’s just be honest, some of it was definitely sleep inducing. Until I came to the part about “two very different trends in bone architecture and histology.” OK, stay with me now, I… [read more]

4 fabulous blubber facts

1. Blubber in marine mammals contains blood vessels and is adapted to serve as an adjustable warming and cooling mechanism. 2. The distribution of blubber in certain areas provides some marine mammals a more streamlined and hydrodynamic body shape. 3. Blubber serves as a source of water for marine mammals, which is crucial during fasting… [read more]

Albino Marine Mammals: the ghosts of the sea

According to the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, albinos have been spotted in 28 species of marine mammals. This number breaks down to 21 cetaceans and seven pinnipeds with albinos among their ranks. Albinos are most well known for their white or very pale coloring and pink eyes or at least that’s what I thought. But according… [read more]