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Jim Harvey
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
P.O. Box 450, Moss Landing, CA 95039


The MBNMS has one of the most diverse and abundant assemblages of marine mammals in the world, including six species of pinnipeds, one species of fissiped, and 29 species of cetaceans (Table 1).

This diversity and abundance is largely a function of:

  1. the great productivity due to upwelling in the sanctuary, which supports plentiful and varied prey,
  2. central location between tropical and Arctic environments,
  3. 3) presence of the Monterey submarine canyon and deep water near the coast,
  4. 4) diversity of environments (e.g. rocky coastline, estuaries, underwater vertical relief, complex pelagic zone (e.g. California current, jets, eddies upwelling zones, fronts), and
  5. 5) regulations minimizing harvests and/or harassment (U.S. Marine Mammal Commission 1995). In addition to species descriptions below, refer to tables and figures for summaries of population status (Table 1 & Table 2), regional distribution (Figure 1 & Figure 2), seasonal (Figure 3) and prey types (Table 3).



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