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Year in Review: Top 5 of 2015

What were our top stories in 2015? Our "Top 5" span a variety of topics, including protected species like sea turtles and killer whales, as well as the status of U.S. fisheries. Take a look below.

Reddit AMA with NOAA Turtle Expert Barbara Schroeder

In 2015, we celebrated Sea Turtle Day with Sea Turtle Week, highlighting the many facets of NOAA Fisheries' sea turtle science and conservation work. Barbara Schroeder, an ecologist and coordinator of NOAA’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Recovery program, has studied sea turtles for over 20 years and logged onto Reddit to answer a wide array of questions from the public and helped broaden our understanding of sea turtles.
Status of Stocks 2014: Report to Congress on Status of U.S. Fisheries

The status of U.S fisheries was a hot topic in 2015, making it the fourth most popular story. As a result of the combined efforts of NOAA Fisheries, the regional fishery management councils, and all our partners, the number of stocks listed as subject to overfishing or overfished continues to decline and is at an all-time low. In 2014, the number of stocks rebuilt since 2000 increased to 37. Check out our infographic highlighting the progress we've made rebuilding stocks and ending overfishing.
UAV Reveals Killer Whales in Striking Detail

Today, scientists are using new technologies to better study protected species like killer whales. Our video podcast on how scientists are using an unmanned aerial vehicle to study killer whale health and reproduction topped the charts in 2015. This aerial technology offers a rare glimpse into the family life of these social animals, and produced some spectacular photos in the process.

Pocket Sharks Among World's Rarest Finds

A very small and rare species of shark swam its way through literature this year, and became the second most popular story of 2015. Pocket sharks made the news when NOAA and Tulane researchers identified the second possible specimen ever found. This species common name is the “pocket shark,” and while it is small enough to, yes, fit in your pocket, it’s dubbed “pocket” because of the distinctive orifice above the pectoral fin--one of many physiological features scientists hope to better understand.
Celebrating Sea Turtles

Sea turtles take the number one spot! Our overview of the six species of sea turtles found in U.S. waters was the most read story of the year. Sea turtles are air-breathing reptiles with streamlined bodies and large flippers. These turtles inhabit tropical and subtropical ocean waters throughout the world. Although sea turtles live most of their lives in the ocean, adult females must return to beaches on land to lay their eggs. They often migrate long distances between feeding grounds and nesting beaches. Learn more about our work with these wide-ranging species, including NOAA Fisheries' Species in the Spotlight Pacific leatherback turtle, and watch this video.

 Our 'Top 5' Instagram Photos of 2015

A picture is worth a thousand words, and if you check out our Instagram account, you can see we've had quite a year. Click through the slideshow below to see which photos captured your attention the most this year.

Sharpnose sculpin View slideshow Number 5 in our 'Top 5' Instagram photos goes to the sharpnose sculpin! This fish has has a smooth, scaleless body that can be grey, pink, or greenish. This little one is of the green variety. Sharpnose sculpins grow to a maximum length of only 60 mm and they were one of the species caught in a NOAA Fisheries survey of Alaskan nearshore marine fish. They were rarely seen by the team of scientists. top5_instagram04.jpg top5_instagram03.jpg top5_instagram02.jpg top5_instagram01.jpg