The Alaska Fisheries Science Center website is now part of the NOAA Fisheries website.
Some information may not be up to date. Join us at our new location,
Please contact with any questions.

link to AFSC home page
Mobile users can use the Site Map to access the principal pages

link to AFSC home page link to NMFS home page link to NOAA home page
Humback Whale

Would like to know how to write about marine mammals?

Sometimes writing about marine mammals is as difficult as studying them.  It is easy to spell names wrong, to italicize where you should not, and capitalize when you should not.  Here are a few writing rules for writing about marine mammals:

(1)  You should always italicize or underline the genus and species name.  Example:  Balaenoptera musculus or Balaenoptera musculus.

(2)  The genus name is capitalized and the species name is lowercase.  Example: Dugong dugon.

(3)  You should not capitalize, italicize or underline common names.  Example:  blue whale.

(4)  There is one exception to rule number #3.  You should capitalize common names of marine mammals that include proper names.  Examples:   Baird's beaked whale, Pacific white-sided dolphin, and West Indian manatee. 

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This portion of the MML website is intended for a student audience and their educators.
Information within the education website should not be cited in scientific journals or publications.

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