national ocean service

Are you excited for World Turtle Day? From tiny, cute baby turtles to massive 1,500 pound leatherbacks, these fascinating animals can be found in almost every ecosystem around the world. Carrying their shells, they’re at home wherever they roam. Human intervention has threatened some turtle species, so please make sure you don’t disturb or distract them, especially nesting sea turtles. Photo of green sea turtles at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge by Daniel W. Clark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Corals like this one in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary are gorgeous, diverse marine species found throughout our world’s ocean. But did you know that corals actually provide humans several critical services? 

In addition to sustaining biodiversity and providing us food, medicine, and recreational opportunities, coral reefs can serve as a critical, natural defense for coastal communities. Healthy coral reefs like those in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary can diffuse much of the energy of hard-hitting ocean waves before waves ever reach the shore, helping to protect coastlines from damage, especially in the event of a large storm. 

(Photo: Tom Moore/NOAA) 

Oceans are vital to wildlife and our planet. Containing 99 percent of the living space on earth, oceans are vast habitats for an impressive array of life. To celebrate World Ocean Day, we’re sharing this remarkable picture of bioluminescent plankton near Haystack Rock at Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge. From moments like this to surfing, sailing, fishing and diving, oceans are essential to our lives, economy and natural understanding. Photo courtesy of Jeff Berkes.

Coastal flooding along the East Coast

This  infographic was published by the New York Times in its September 3, 2016 edition, describing coastal flooding resulting from sea level rise. I posted the related article earlier. The font is small and may not be legible, so go to the infographic in the Times for a better look. Here’s the direct link to the infographic.

Photographs by Eliot Dudik for The New York Times. Note: Mean sea level rise is relative to 1950, or 1996 for Virginia Key, Miami.

Sources: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Ocean Service; William Sweet et al., “Sea Level Rise and Nuisance Flood Frequency Changes Around the United States”

It’s been a remarkable year for lava activity at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The astounding power of nature can be easy seen at lava lakes, surface flows and the Kamokuna ocean entry, where lava is streaming out into the Pacific, creating huge clouds of gas and steam. The lava entering the ocean is beginning to rebuild a large delta, forming new land. While there’s something mesmerizing about the movement of molten rock, visitors should always pay attention to their surroundings and stay out of closed areas as they explore Kīlauea – the world’s most active volcano. Photo by Janice Wei, National Park Service.

June is National Oceans Month! Covering over 70 percent of the planet, oceans are vital to our climate, food supply and way of life. Wherever you live, everyone is connected to the ocean. Interior is a principal steward of America’s oceans, Great Lakes and coastal resources. With 88 ocean and coastal parks and 183 marine and coastal national wildlife refuges, there are countless ways to experience our country’s waters, marvel at its unique wildlife and explore its maritime heritage. Photo of a whale breaching at Kenai Fjords National Park by Kaitlin Thoreson, National Park Service.

America’s national parks include some of the most cherished natural landscapes and cultural sites in the world. Today is World Heritage Day and we’re recognizing a unique park with a global profile. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is one of the few places on Earth where visitors can safely get an upclose look at an active volcano. Witness powerful natural forces at work as Kīlauea and Mauna Loa (two of the world’s most active volcanoes) continue to add land to the island of Hawaiʻi. Photo by Janice Wei, National Park Service.

Running inland from protective fjords, Three Saints Bay in Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska looks like a calm lake on a still day. The refuge is home to a spectacular variety of landscapes and wildlife. With mountains, rivers, tundra, forests, wetlands and coastline, it’s like seeing all of Alaska on a single island. Photo by Robin Corcoran, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

At the National Park of American Samoa, you can see amazing tropical animals, learn about the culture of Pacific Islanders and enjoy snorkeling in gorgeous blue water. Or you can just find the perfect place to lay on the beach and do nothing. No judgment. Photo by National Park Service.

From the bottom of the deepest glacial fjord to the summit of its highest peak, Glacier Bay National Park encompasses some of our continent’s most amazing scenery and wildness. If we need a place to intrigue and inspire us, this is it. Alaska’s Glacier Bay is a living laboratory, a designated wilderness, a biosphere reserve and a world heritage site. It’s a marine park, where great adventure awaits by boating into inlets, coves and close to its dynamic, namesake glacier. It’s also a land park, with its snow-capped mountains, spectacular glaciers and vast forests. Photo by National Park Service.

Ice clings to the granite shoreline as the sun rises above Acadia National Park in Maine. As dawn turns to day, visitors can explore the park’s forests, wetlands, beaches, lakes and mountains. There’s so much to see and do, but be sure to leave enough energy to find the perfect place to watch the sunset. Photo by National Park Service.

Within sight of downtown Miami, Biscayne National Park in Florida protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. There’s also evidence of 10,000 years of human history, from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. Outdoors enthusiasts can boat, fish, snorkel, camp, watch wildlife or simply enjoy a gorgeous sunrise over the ocean. Photo courtesy of Andrew R. Slaton.

Dive into adventure at Biscayne National Park in Florida. Stretching out from a shoreline fringed with mangrove forest, the majority of the park covers the aquamarine waters of Biscayne Bay and extends into the Atlantic Ocean. Boating and fishing are popular activities, but some of the best views of Biscayne are found under the water, exploring the third largest coral reef in the world. Photo by Shaun Wolfe, National Park Service.

Please take a moment to enjoy this gorgeous spring scene from Point Reyes National Seashore in California. Imagine the smell of the salt air and blooming flowers, the call of the birds and the warmth of the setting sun on your skin. Let everything else melt away. As photographer Nick Steinberg says, “Every time I’m there, I feel like the only one on earth.” Photo courtesy of Nick Steinberg.


It’s World Turtle Day! From a tiny baby bog turtle to a massive leatherback, turtles come in many shapes and sizes. Found gliding through the open ocean or slowly trudging over desert plains, they are fascinating creatures. Because of environmental threats, several species are endangered and need our help. Video of a baby turtle running for the surf by Dry Tortugas National Park.


Today, President Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to a total protected area of 582,578 square miles – making it the largest marine protected area on Earth. Part of the most remote island archipelago on Earth, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument supports a reef ecosystem with more than 7,000 marine species and is home to many species of coral, fish, birds and marine mammals. This includes the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, the endangered leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles. Top and bottom photos courtesy of James Watt, middle photo by Lindsey Kramer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It’s National Wildlife Refuge Week! Whether you’re looking for flippers, feathers, fur, fins or fangs, you can find amazing animals at wildlife refuges. Refuges across the country provide habitat for more than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species and more than 1,000 species of fish. There’s at least one national wildlife refuge in every state and territory and within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas. Photo of seals at Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts by Amanda Boyd, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.