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Marine Mammal and Turtle Division News

Press releases and news articles from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s Marine Mammal and Turtle Division.

Ocean Heatwaves Dramatically Shift Habitats
August 05, 2020
Marine heat waves across the world’s oceans can displace habitat for sea turtles, whales, and other marine life by 10s to thousands of kilometers. They dramatically shift these animals’ preferred temperatures in a fraction of the time that climate change is expected to do the same, new research shows.


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Genetics Reveal Pacific Subspecies of Fin Whale
October 22, 2019
New genetic research has identified fin whales in the northern Pacific Ocean as a separate subspecies, reflecting a revolution in marine mammal taxonomy as scientists unravel the genetics of enormous animals otherwise too large to fit into laboratories.


Scientists Find Mystery Killer Whales off Cape Horn, Chile
March 07, 2019
In January 2019, an international team of scientists working off the tip of southern Chile got their first live look at what might be a new species of killer whale. Called Type D, the whales were previously known only from a beach stranding more than 60 years ago, fishermen’s stories, and tourist photographs.


Celebrating Sea Turtle Week 2018
June 11, 2018
In honor of World Sea Turtle Day on June 16th, NOAA Fisheries Service is celebrating Sea Turtle Week, June 11-15, featuring research and interviews with scientists from Southwest Fisheries Science Center's Marine Mammal and Turtle Division (MMTD). MMTD's turtle programsconduct research and conservation efforts mainly focused on the leatherback and the eastern Pacific green turtle. MMTD scientists also work in partnership with governments, universities, private institutions and local communities to build collaborative research programs and implement a coordinated recovery effort for all sea turtle species.


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Ice Age Confined Sperm Whales to Pacific Ocean 100,000 Years Ago, Genetics Show
May 15, 2018
An ice age that ended just over 100,000 years ago apparently confined the world’s sperm whales to a single population in the Pacific Ocean, creating a genetic bottleneck that explains the unusually low genetic diversity of sperm whales around the world.


A Quarter Century of Counting: Southwest Fisheries Science Center Celebrates 25 Years of Research on Gray Whales
February 09, 2018
Scientists from the Marine Mammal and Turtle Division at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their research program on gray whale calf production. Each spring since 1994, shore-based counts of gray whale mother-calf pairs have been conducted off central California. At this research site, a team of observers from the Science Center counts and photographs mother-calf pairs as they pass within 500 meters of the coast during their migration north, from wintering areas off Mexico to summer feeding areas in the Arctic.


Rising Temperatures Turning Major Sea Turtle Population Female
January 08, 2018
Scientists have used a new research approach to show that warming temperatures are turning one of the world’s largest sea turtle colonies almost entirely female, running the risk that the colony cannot sustain itself in the coming decades, newly published research concludes.


International Search Reveals Genetic Evidence for New Species of Beaked Whale
July 22, 2016
An international team of scientists who searched out specimens from museums and remote Arctic islands has identified genetic evidence of a rare new species of beaked whale that ranges from northern Japan across the Pacific Ocean to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.







Last updated by Southwest Fisheries Science Center on March 09, 2022