Gulf of Mexico

The vaquita, the smallest and most endangered cetacean in the world, is endemic to the northern part of the Gulf of California. This photo was taken under permit (Oficio No. DR/488/08) from the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT).

Critically endangered vaquita could survive if gillnet-poaching ban enforced

The vaquita is the world’s smallest marine mammal, measuring between four to five feet in length. A comprehensive survey conducted in 1997 counted 570 vaquitas, but today, 25 years on, a mere ten surviving vaquitas have been counted in the Sea of Cortez, the only place that the vaquita can be found.

Whaling shipwreck found in Gulf of Mexico

NOAA Ocean Exploration documented the brig Industry shipwreck in the Gulf of Mexico at a depth of 2,000m below the Gulf surface. The brig sank in the summer of 1836 after a storm snapped its masts and opened the hull to the sea.

The remains of the 64-foot long, two-masted wooden brig open a window into a little known chapter of American history when descendants of African slaves and Native Americans served as essential crew in one of the nation’s oldest industries.

Discovered in 2011

The ship’s remains were first documented in 2011, when a geological data company scanning an oil lease area spotted the carcass of a ship at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Following standard procedures, the company reported its finding to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which logged the wreck as No. 15563 and left it alone.


Study sheds light on plankton in Gulf of Mexico

Plankton is admittedly not the most exciting life form in our oceans. Nonetheless, a team of researchers have been taking a closer look at plankton life in the Gulf of Mexico.

Their study has resulted in the publication of a paper in the Science Advances journal.

The researchers focussed on the subtropical waters off Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico, using high-speed underwater imaging technology and advanced machine learning approaches.

Rice’s whales already considered endangered by the US with a population estimated at fewer than 100

Rice's whale confirmed as a new species

Rice's whale (Balaenoptera ricei), previously believed to be a population of Bryde’s whales, is an intermediate-sized species of baleen whale.

“I was surprised that there could be an unrecognized species of whale out there, especially in our backyard,”

—Lynsey Wilcox, geneticist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

File photo of Bryde's whale (shot taken in Thailand)

Possible new whale species

About 50 baleen whales live in an underwater canyon off the Florida Panhandle, making them the only resident baleen whales in the Gulf of Mexico, have long been classified as Bryde's whales. Several other baleen species visit the Gulf, but this group is the only one known to live there year-round and new tests have now shown that these whales are unlike any other of their species. Their genetic makeup makes them different enough to be considered a distinct subspecies of Bryde's — or a new species altogether.