Sharks, whales, turtles, and much more! Revisit our top features of the year below.
Top 5 Feature Stories
1. 12 Shark Facts That May Surprise You
Do sharks have bones or good eyesight? During Shark Week 2020, we explored shark facts that you may not know. This story on one of the ocean's top predators is our most popular three years in a row!
2. 10 Wonderful Whale Facts
Whale Week is one of our favorite times of year at NOAA Fisheries. To celebrate, we shared some interesting tidbits about these majestic creatures—including the largest animal that ever lived on Earth.
3. What Can You Do to Save Sea Turtles?
Learning what actions you can take to help save sea turtles was a top story for many of our readers in 2020. If you missed it, check out how you can help protect sea turtle habitat and brush up on sea turtle-friendly fishing and boating tips.
4. Commerce Secretary Announces Allocation of $300 Million in CARES Act Funding
Interstate marine fisheries commissions, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands disbursed funds to address coronavirus-related losses.
5. NOAA Scientists Virtually Discover New Comb Jelly Species Near Puerto Rico
Last but certainly not least, a NOAA Fisheries research team discovered Duobrachium sparksae, a new species of ctenophore, or comb jelly, made the cut. The discovery was made during an underwater expedition led by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. The new species and a new virtual method of describing and documenting the discovery are both explained in Plankton and Benthos Research.
Top 5 Videos
From whales to a new species of comb jelly, we've got a lot of cool marine life to see. Discover or rewatch our top five videos of 2020.
1. Searching for Type D: A New Species of Killer Whale?
2. Combing the Deep: NOAA's Discovery of a New Ctenophore
3. Reporting Entangled Whales in Hawaii
4. False Killer Whales in the Hawaiian Islands
5. Orphan Orca: Saving Springer
Top 5 Photos
A sleek sawfish lurking just below the surface, a pair of spiny lumpsuckers, and a collection of fur seal expressions made the cut for our five most popular pictures.
1. Sawfish Day
We celebrated International Sawfish Day on October 17 by sharing information and our conservation for sawfish. Sawfish are elasmobranchs (skeleton made of cartilage) like sharks and rays, but they are batoids (rays), not sharks. Their gills are on the underside of their body! There are five species of sawfishes around the world but only one is still found within the United States. All sawfishes are endangered.
2. Dolly Parton Challenge
We had some fun with the Dolly Parton Challenge on Instagram this year. Protecting marine life—from fish to seals, from coast to coast, from dawn to dusk … NOAA Fisheries does it all.
3. Comb Jelly Discovery
The photos and illustration of the new species of comb jelly topped the list of our most popular photos, and this photo has been online for less than a month!
4. Fridays are for Fur Seals
These fur seal photos helped put a smile on our faces! Looking ahead to summer 2021, scientists plan to further test drones to help conduct their research more efficiently. Learn how we're studying Northern fur seals in remote Alaska
5. Spiny Lumpsuckers
A pair of spiny lumpsuckers snagged the fifth spot of our top five photos of the year. For two decades, scientists have been studying salmon in the Gulf of Alaska. Surveys are important for forecasting river returns and monitoring bycatch in other commercial fisheries. During the July survey, our scientists caught a total of 3,532 fish consisting of 17 different species, including these spiny lumpsuckers, which were sent to the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute aquarium.
Top 5 Social Media Posts
Whale calves for the win! Take a peek at our five most popular social media posts here.