Marine Mammals of the World: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification

Marine Mammals of the World: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification

1st Edition - December 7, 2007

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  • Authors: Thomas Jefferson, Marc Webber, Robert Pitman
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080557847

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With coverage on all the marine mammals of the world, authors Jefferson, Webber, and Pitman have created a user-friendly guide to identify marine mammals alive in nature (at sea or on the beach), dead specimens “in hand”, and also to identify marine mammals based on features of the skull. This handy guide provides marine biologists and interested lay people with detailed descriptions of diagnostic features, illustrations of external appearance, beautiful photographs, dichotomous keys, and more. Full color illustrations and vivid photographs of every living marine mammal species are incorporated, as well as comprehendible maps showing a range of information. For readers who desire further consultation, authors have included a list of literature references at the end of each species account. For an enhanced understanding of habitation, this guide also includes recognizable geographic forms described separately with colorful paintings and photographs. All of these essential tools provided make Marine Mammals of the World the most detailed and authoritative guide available!

Key Features

* Contains superb photographs of every species of marine mammal for accurate identification
* Authors’ collective experience adds up to 80 years, and have seen nearly all of the species and distinctive geographic forms described in the guide
* Provides the most detailed and anatomically accurate illustrations currently available
* Special emphasis is placed on the identification of species in “problem groups,” such as the beaked whales, long-beaked oceanic dolphin, and southern fur seals
* Includes a detailed list of sources for more information at the back of the book.


Marine biologists, laypeople interested in a guide to marine mammals.

Table of Contents

  • Dedication

    Preface and Acknowledgments

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    The Need for This Guide

    Marine Mammal Identification and How to Use This Guide

    Notes on the Format of the Species Accounts

    Notes on the Dichotomous Keys

    Request For Feedback from Users

    Chapter 2: Basic Marine Mammal Biology

    What is a Marine Mammal?

    Types of Marine Mammals

    Evolutionary History

    Zoogeography, Distribution, and Migration

    Anatomy and Physiology

    Life History and Reproduction

    Feeding Ecology


    Behavior and Social Organization


    Exploitation and Conservation

    Chapter 3: Taxonomic Groupings Above the Species Level

    Order Cetacea— Whales, dolphins, and porpoises

    Suborder Mysticeti—Baleen whales

    Family Balaenidae—Right and bowhead whales

    Family Neobalaenidae—Pygmy right whale

    Family Balaenopteridae—Rorquals

    Family Eschrichtiidae—Gray whale

    Suborder Odontoceti—Toothed whales

    Family Physeteridae—Sperm whale

    Family Kogiidae—Pygmy and dwarf sperm whales

    Family Monodontidae—Narwhal and beluga whale

    Family Ziphiidae—Beaked whales

    Family Delphinidae—Marine dolphins

    Family Phocoenidae—Porpoises

    Family Platanistidae—South Asian river dolphin

    Family Iniidae—Boto

    Family Lipotidae—Baiji

    Family Pontoporiidae—Franciscana

    Order Sirenia—Manatees and dugongs

    Family Trichechidae—Manatees

    Family Dugongidae—Dugong

    Order Carnivora—Carnivorous mammals (including pinnipeds, marine otters, and polar bears)

    Family Mustelidae—Otters

    Family Ursidae—Bears

    Suborder Pinnipedia—Seals, sea lions, and walruses

    Family Otariidae—Eared seals

    Family Odobenidae—Walrus

    Family Phocidae—True seals

    Chapter 4: Cetaceans

    Chapter 5: Pinnipeds

    Recognizable geographic forms

    Chapter 6: Sirenian and Other Species

    Recognizable geographic forms

    Chapter 7: Extinct Species

    Chapter 8: Dichotomous Identification Keys

    Chapter 9: Summaries of Characters for Similar Species

    Glossary of Technical Terms


    Index—Common Names

    Index—Scientific Names

Product details

  • No. of pages: 592
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2007
  • Published: December 7, 2007
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080557847

About the Authors

Thomas Jefferson

Dr. Thomas Jefferson’s main interests are the development of marine mammal identification aids, and the systematics and population ecology of the more poorly known species of dolphins and porpoises. His work since receiving his PhD in 1983 has been related to conservation and management of marine mammals threatened by human activities. His current primary research focuses on the conservation biology of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) and finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) populations in Hong Kong and surrounding waters. I am also working on other projects looking at the systematics and ecology of these species throughout their ranges. In addition, I am involved in many other projects, including those on the conservation of the critically endangered vaquita (Phocoena sinus) and on the taxonomy and population ecology of common dolphins (Delphinus spp.)

Affiliations and Expertise

Clymene Enterprises,CA, USA

Marc Webber

Marc Webber is a marine mammal specialist with an undergraduate and graduate degree from San Francisco State University. He has worked as a biologist and refuge manager for non-profit organizations and the US government for his entire career in places all over the country. Among other accomplishments, Dr. Webber has worked with stranded marine mammals, conducted marine mammal and seabird studies by ship and aircraft for NMFS and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in the North and South Pacific, North Atlantic, and Arctic, studied Monk Seals in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Northern Fur Seals at San Miguel and the Pribilof Islands, Walrus in the Bering and Chukchi Seas, Harp Seals in Russia, and Dusky Dolphins in New Zealand. He has done extensive work with stranded marine mammals, co-authored many journal articles and book chapters, and conducted marine mammal and seabird ship and aircraft surveys over most oceans of the world.

Affiliations and Expertise

Golden Gate Cetacean Research, Corte Madera, CA USA

Robert Pitman

Robert L. Pitman is a marine biologist at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California,

and has published extensively on marine birds and mammals. Since 1976 he has averaged 6 months a year

at sea on research vessels operating in all the world’s oceans. His current research interests include ecology

and systematics of killer whales in Antarctica and Australia.

Affiliations and Expertise

NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, CA USA

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