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Field Guide to Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast

Field Guide to Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast: Baja, California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia

Sarah G. Allen
Joe Mortenson
Illustrated by Sophie Webb
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Pages: 584
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  • Book Info
    Field Guide to Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast
    Book Description:

    From gray whales giving birth in the lagoons of Baja California to sea otters nestled in kelp beds off California to killer whales living around Vancouver Island—this spectacular stretch of the Pacific Coast boasts one of the most abundant populations of sea mammals on earth. This handy interpretive field guide describes the 45 whales, dolphins, seals, and otters that are resident in, migrate through, or forage from Baja in Mexico to British Columbia in Canada. The guide’s rich species accounts provide details on identification, natural history, distribution, and conservation. They also tell where and how these fascinating animals can best be viewed. Introductory chapters give general information on the ecology, evolution, and taxonomy of marine mammals; on the Pacific Coast’s unique environment; and on the relationship between marine mammals and humans from native cultures to today. Featuring many color illustrations, photographs, drawings, and maps, this up-to-date guide illuminates a fascinating group of animals and reveals much about their mysterious lives in the ocean.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94731-3
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    (pp. 1-8)
    (pp. 9-54)

    Along the western coast of the North American continent flows an ocean current that contains some of the richest waters in the world when it comes to the study and observation of marine mammals (fig. 1). Worldwide, some 130 different species of marine mammals exist, and more than a third of these are residents or migrants to this rich region. From Killer Whales that dwell around Vancouver Island, Canada, and Gray Whales that give birth in the lagoons of Baja California to Sea Otters that nestle in nearshore kelp beds and elephant seals that plumb the depths of the Pacific...

    (pp. 55-94)
    (pp. 95-386)

    “Cetacean” is derived both from the Greekketos, for “sea monster” or “huge fish,” and the Latincetus, for “large sea animal.” The order includes hairless, fishlike mammals that live entirely in water (fig. 40). They shed their fur and evolved an impermeable skin and thick blubber. They also shed their land-based hind limbs to assume a fishlike shape with flukes as tails. The tail is the primary means of propulsion through the water.

    Although they are not carnivores per se, all cetaceans eat other animals, ingesting prey varying from crustaceans to other marine mammals. A primary difference between kinds...

    (pp. 387-478)

    Living marine mammals under Carnivora fall within five families. Pinnipeds are grouped in three separate families under the suborder Pinnipedia, otters in the Mustelidae family, and polar bears in the Ursidae family. Polar bears are classed as marine mammals because they have evolved special features to live in the ocean, but they range far north of the California Current (CC).

    Pinnipeds, seals and sea lions, have “winged feet,” from the Latin for “feather” (pinna) and “foot” (ped) (fig. 90). They lead a dual existence: like whales for their life in the sea, and like wolves for their life on land....

    (pp. 479-488)
    (pp. 489-518)
    (pp. 519-524)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 525-566)
    (pp. 567-570)