Scientists Document Over 700 Marine Animals In Aerial Survey of Marine Preserve

Striped Dolphins are seen swimming in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. Photo courtesy of the New England Aquarium

BOSTON – Scientists conducting a recent aerial survey over the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument were able to photograph or document over 700 ocean animals.

The study, conducted by the New England Aquarium, photographed numerous marine mammals such as fin whales, pilot whales, and bottlenose, striped, and Risso’s dolphins, while also documenting Chilean Devil rays, manta rays, sunfish, and a hammerhead shark.

“The Aquarium has been documenting the marine mammal biodiversity in the Monument for seven years, and every aerial survey flight is breathtaking,” said Orla O’Brien, an associate scientist in the Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life.

“Our photos only scratch the surface of the ocean life that calls this area home.”

Designated as the first marine national monument in 2016 by President Obama, the Monument spans a 5,000 square-mile area encompassing three underwater canyons and four seamounts.

The New England Aquarium played a pivotal role in achieving the designation for the monument, and scientists hail the photos taken as evidence of its importance in maintaining and protecting a diverse ecosystem that feeds and shelters numerous endangered species.

A global movement of scientists and activists called “30×30” calls for thirty percent of the earth’s land, water, and ocean to be protected by 2030 to stem biodiversity loss and build resilience to climate change.

Its national chapter, “America the Beautiful”, aims to help achieve that goal in American sites such as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts.

President Biden recently announced plans for a new national monument outside of Grand Canyon National Park which would protect over 1,500 square miles of land in Arizona’s desert ecosystem.

By, Matthew Tomlinson, NewsCenter

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