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Featured Image: Octopus Cluster, Davidson Seamount. Credit: Ocean Exploration Trust/National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The deep sea is a harsh place to live. Lacking the sunlight-fueled productivity that drives shallow-water food webs, the deep sea is extremely limited by available food, leading to slow growth rates, low reproduction, and a reduced ability to recover from disturbances.…

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Seamounts are massive underwater volcanoes that occur across the planet. They attract and support large numbers of animals including fish, sharks, sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals at the surface and shelter an incredible array of deep-sea life, including cold-water corals and sponges that build crucial structures, or ‘homes’, for large amounts of marine life on the bottom. These habitats are the ‘old-growth forests’ of the ocean – they are long-lived, slow growing, and extremely slow to recover following disturbance from activities like bottom trawling or seabed mining. Of the 10,000 plus seamounts known to exist, only around 10% are protected from some type of destruction. Marine Conservation Institute has a campaign to protect the 60 seamounts off the coast of California and is working with partners to protect many more around the world.

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Featured Image: An orange basket star covers a yellow Picasso sponge at Davidson Seamount, approximately 75 miles off the California coast. Courtesy of NOAA. Seamounts Are Oases of Life Seamounts are found all across the world’s oceans, acting as small oases of life dotting the otherwise sparse deep seafloor. These massive underwater volcanoes provide ecologically…

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Featured Image: An Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) displays its colorful beak and feet. Courtesy of Ray Hennessy. By Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute The Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) is a striking bird, at times referred to as the clown of the sea due to its unusual facial appearance. These seabird’s boldly-colored beaks serve…

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Feature Pic: A yellowtail rockfish swims past a pink landscape dominated by strawberry anemones and hydrocorals on Cordell Bank. Photo: MARE and NOAA In July 2018, Marine Conservation Institute staff scientist Samuel Georgian stepped on board the NOAA research vessel Bell M. Shimada, beginning a two-week expedition to explore deep-water coral and sponge habitats off…

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Tropical coral reefs are some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on our planet. Often called the ‘rainforests’ of our oceans, coral reefs host incredible levels of biodiversity and provide important ecosystem services that many organisms – including humans – rely on. Globally, coral reefs cover less than 0.1% of our seafloor, but provide…

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