The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an American scientific agency with roots that reach back to 1807, with a mission to "understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources." Over the years, NOAA has amassed a sizable library of photographs of our natural world, some of which I've selected here. To explore more NOAA photos, be sure to browse their albums on Flickr. [38 photos total]

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For several years, Bob Pitman, a marine ecologist at NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center, has been conducting research with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service with the aim of discovering whether there may be a new species of killer whale in the waters of Antarctica. Genetics, aerial photogrammetry, and satellite telemetry are being used to explore the possibility. Here, NOAA marine ecologist Lisa Ballance is shown in the southern Ross Sea, Antarctica, at a site where NOAA satellite-tagged one of the local forms of killer whales. This calf may be a new species of killer whale living in the ice in that region. (NOAA) #
Juvenile green sea turtle underneath the Midway Island Pier in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. (Greg McFall / NOAA) #
Delta submersible seen on surface in waters off Santa Cruz Island. California, Channel Islands NMS. (Robert Schwemmer, CINMS, NOAA) #
A goosefish perched on the bottom of the ocean off Indonesia. (NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010, NOAA / OER) #
Eyewall of Hurricane Katrina, south of Louisiana landfall, over the Gulf of Mexico on August 28, 2005. (Lieutenant Mike Silah, NOAA Corps, NOAA AOC) #
Deer out for a swim, sometime in 2011. (Weston Renoud / NOAA) #
A swimming pinkish orange translucent holothurian with intestinal tract visible, on July 27, 2010. Material in the gut is similar to seafloor dung piles seen widely over the world’s ocean sea floor. (NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010) #
A blue-footed booby, on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, on September 24, 2010. (Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps) #
A bathysaurus in Veatch Canyon, in the Atlantic Ocean, south of Cape Cod. These fish use their lower jaw to scoop in the sand. (NOAA OKEANOS Explorer Program , 2013 Northeast U. S. Canyons Expedition) #
This otter investigated Kevin Stierhoff prior to a dive in the kelp forest at Point Lobos State Reserve. California, in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, on September 30, 2005. (Lieutenant John Crofts, NOAA Corps) #
A marine iguana on the Galapagos Islands, on September 27, 2010. (Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps) #
The NOAA Ship PISCES launches in Mississippi in December of 2007. (NOAA) #
A dumbo octopus in a unique swimming posture. This dumbo octopus displayed a body posture that has never before been observed in cirrate octopods. (NOAA OKEANOS EXPLORER Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition) #
Cidaris sp. A common sea urchin member of the deep coral community, usually referred to as a pencil urchin. (Dr. Steve Ross, UNC-W. NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration) #
A stingray at sunrise on a sandbar on Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. (Lois Hatcher / NOAA) #
Translucent triplefin (Enneanectes sp.) on a great star coral (Montastraea cavernosa). (NOAA CCMA Biogeography Team) #
Heavily iced fire gear aboard the NOAA Ship MILLER FREEMAN. (Crew and Officers of NOAA Ship MILLER FREEMAN) #
This giant isopod is a representative of one of approximately nine species of large isopods (crustaceans related to shrimps and crabs) in the genus Bathynomus. They are thought to be abundant in cold, deep waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Bob Carney of LSU caught this specimen in one of his deep-water fish traps. (Expedition to the Deep Slope 2006, NOAA-OE / NOAA Ocean Explorer / Image courtesy of Expedition to the Deep Slope 2006, NOAA-OE) #
Mammatocumulus clouds over the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2004. (Cadet Brandon Olson, U.S. Air Force Academy / NOAA) #
A brave octopus fights off an alien intruder. This stunning octopod, Benthoctopus sp., seemed quite interested in ALVIN's port manipulator arm. Those inside the sub were surprised by the octopod's inquisitive behavior. May 31, 2006. (Bruce Strickrott, Expedition to the Deep Slope / NOAA / OER) #
Seagulls land on the mouth of a humpback whale near Massachusetts, in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. (Dr. Elliott Hazen NMFS / SWFSC / ERD) #
A sea turtle, killed by fishing net in the Bay of Bengal, India. (Sourav Mahmud / NOAA) #
Icebergs in the Southern Ocean. (Lieutenant Elizabeth Crapo, NOAA Corps) #
A waterspout off the Florida Keys photographed from an aircraft on September 10, 1969, in the Florida Keys. (Dr. Joseph Golden, NOAA / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce.) #
Mother manatee and calf swimming out of Palm Beach Inlet in Florida on January 21, 2014. (Sam Farkas / NOAA OAR Photo Contest 2014) #
A polar bear on sea ice, in the Beaufort Sea in Alaska. (Collection of Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, NOAA National Ice Center) #
Dr. Brian Stacy, NOAA veterinarian, prepares to clean an oiled Kemp's Ridley turtle. Veterinarians and scientists from NOAA, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and other partners working under the Unified Command are capturing heavily-oiled young turtles 20 to 40 miles offshore as part of ongoing animal rescue and rehabilitation efforts. (NOAA and Georgia Department of Natural Resources) #
A very large hermit crab making queen triton shell home. Hawaii, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. (NOAA) #
Dolphins, photographed on November 18, 2010. (NOAA) #
Skimming oil off the Southeast coast. (Collection of Doug Helton, NOAA / NOS / ORR) #
A deep-sea chimaera. Chimaeras are most closely related to sharks, although their evolutionary lineage branched off from sharks nearly 400 million years ago, and they have remained an isolated group ever since. Like sharks, chimaeras are cartilaginous and have no real bones. The lateral lines running across this chimaera are mechano-receptors that detect pressure waves (just like ears). The dotted-looking lines on the frontal portion of the face (near the mouth) are ampullae de lorenzini and they detect perturbations in electrical fields generated by living organisms. (NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010 / NOAA Ocean Explorer / Image courtesy of INDEX 2010: “Indonesia-USA Deep-Sea Exploration of the Sangihe Talaud Region”) #
A magnificent profusion of life as a humpback whale dives amid thousands of seabirds. The NOAA Ship OSCAR DYSON is in the distance, off Unalaska Island on September 7, 2005. (Dr. Phillip Clapham, NMFS / AKFSC / NMML) #
Lieutenant Commander Marc Pickett and Lieuteneant Mark Sarmek wrestle to free an entangled Hawaiian Monk Seal at French Frigate Shoals, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands,  during a marine debris survey and removal cruise in January of 1997. They were successful. (Ray Boland, NOAA / NMFS / PIFD / ESOD) #
A sargassumfish ( Histrio histrio), found in the Gulf of Mexico. (SEFSC Pascagoula Laboratory; Collection of Brandi Noble, NOAA / NMFS / SEFSC) #
A northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostis). A large male with characteristic proboscis dwarfs a shore bird in California’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. (Robert Schwemmer, CINMS, NOAA) #
A squat lobster, Gastroptychus cf. spinifer, residing on a black coral bush. (NOAA OKEANOS EXPLORER Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition) #
A mollusk (Order Nudibranchia) swims on the flank of Davidson Seamount, California, on May 22, 2002 at a depth of 1,498 meters. (NOAA / Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) #
A Steller sea lion voiced displeasure in this 2013 photo. (Crew and Officers of NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER) #

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