Locator Map | Glossary | MCBI WebsiteLARGE TEXT   NORMAL TEXT


Ecological Uniqueness


All parts of the ocean are not equal; some are teeming with life while others are sparse and seemingly inhospitable. There are places in the ocean where life abounds and endemic species are found that live no where else in the world. On the peaks of underwater volcanoes, areas known as seamounts, life has evolved in isolation with large numbers of unique species. At hydrothermal vents and deep caverns, places that have never seen the light of day, you can find entire ecosystems teeming with life, that are fueled by energy from the Earth, not the Sun. Coral reefs, found not only in shallow tropical waters but also in the cold deep sea, teem with a diversity of life that rivals that found in tropical rainforests. Forests of giant algae as tall as redwood trees support their own unique interactive communities of invertebrates, fish, and mammals. Just as there are unique ecological systems on land, the ocean is home to a plethora of strange and wondrous habitats teeming with diversity.



Channel Islands
Charleston Bump
Glacier Bay
Juan de Fuca Ridge
Outer Banks



Centre For Marine Biodiversity
Marinebio.org - Biodiversity
Ocean Literacy



Hydrothermal Vents - Videos from the Juan de Fuca Ridge and vicinity




Deep Sea Coral

Coral Reef. Photo: NOAA

Seafloor community in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: CINMS

Black Smoker and Riftia. Photo: NOAA