Seal Features and Highlights
California Sea Lions as Ecosystem Indicators
California sea lions are outstanding ecosystem indicators because they consume a variety of forage species. Changes in their diet over time can be linked to changing ocean conditions that affect the availability of their prey. We've been studying their diet for 40 years by analyzing their scat (aka poop!).
Learn more about the connection between sea lion diet and climate change
Seals, Sea Lions, and Climate Change: Shifting Prey and Habitat Impacts
Several seal and sea lions species are sensitive to the impacts of climate change due to their dependence on specific environmental conditions during different times of the year. For example, ice seals need sea ice to rest, breed, nurse and rear pups, molt, and avoid predators—less sea ice leaves them vulnerable to predators and other threats.
Learn more about the threat of climate change for several seal and sea lion species
Seal or Sea Lion?
Seals and sea lions are both pinnipeds, which means fin or flipper-footed in Latin. Although seals and sea lions have similarities, they also have several distinct characteristics and adaptations that distinguish them from one another.
Learn how to tell seals and sea lions apart
Seal & Sea Lion Week 2023: Celebrating Science and Safety
We are highlighting the science, conservation, and management of seals and sea lions.
Learn more about what makes them keystone species in marine ecosystems
6 Ways We Study Seals and Sea Lions
When it comes to studying seals and seal lions, these methods get a “seal of approval” from our scientists.
How we study seals and sea lions
Conserving Hawaiian Monk Seals Through Protections and Vaccinations
NOAA scientists are vaccinating endangered Hawaiian monk seals against a strain of morbillivirus. They’ve completed 700 successful vaccinations—that’s nearly half the population. It’s the world’s first attempt to protect this wild marine mammal from a deadly outbreak.
Conserving and protecting Hawaiian monk seals
An Entangled Web: Research Collaboration Unravels Causes and Consequences of Sea Lion Entanglements
Tracking individual sea lions helps reveal toll on species.
Research collaboration unravels causes and consequences of sea lion entanglements
Hawaiian Monk Seal Updates
Get the latest monk seal updates—including new pups, relocations, and seal rescues—from NOAA Fisheries in the Pacific Islands.
An Isolated Population of Antarctic Fur Seals Could Save the Species, but They’re Disappearing
Losing fur seals from the South Shetland Islands means losing crucial genetic diversity the species may need to adapt to rapid climate change.
Isolated population of Antarctic fur seals
Condition of Seals Declined During Rapid Warming in Alaska
A new study finds quantitative evidence of climate-related impacts on these typically adaptable, resilient predators.
14 Seal Secrets
Check out some facts about these semi-aquatic marine mammals.
More Fun Facts about Surprising Seals
Want to know more about those cute bewhiskered seals? Look no further!
Studying Northern Fur Seals in Remote Alaska
Scientists plan to further test drones to help conduct their research more efficiently.
Studying northern fur seals in remote Alaska
Share the Shore with Seals
Please, No Selfies with the Seals: 6 Ways to View Wildlife Responsibly
Although it can be tempting to try to get close to marine animals, it’s always best to view them from a safe and respectful distance for their safety—and yours. Learning how to interact with and observe ocean animals can help you make the right decisions when you encounter them by water, land, or air.
6 Ways to View Wildlife Responsibly
Sharing Seal Space by the Seashore: Introduction to the Greater Atlantic Marine Mammal Stranding Network
Explore the story map, which shows seal strandings in the Greater Atlantic Region and highlights the organizations that provide emergency response and rehabilitation for stranded seals.
Sharing seal space by the sea shore story map
Unusual Mortality Events
NOAA scientists also learn about pinnipeds when they are injured, sick, or dead. To understand the health of marine mammal populations, scientists study Unusual Mortality Events. Learn more about the two recent, ongoing pinniped unusual mortality events below.
2022-2023 Pinniped Unusual Mortality Event along the Maine Coast
Since June 2022, elevated numbers of harbor seal and gray seal mortalities have occurred across the southern and central coast of Maine. This event has been declared an unusual mortality event.
2022-2023 Pinniped Unusual Mortality Event
2018–2022 Ice Seal Unusual Mortality Event in Alaska
Since June 1, 2018, elevated ice seal strandings have occurred in the Bering and Chukchi seas in Alaska. This event has been declared an Unusual Mortality Event.