Seamounts: vulnerable marine ecosystems in need of protection

Our oceans are dotted with thousands of underwater mountains scattered beneath the waves that harbor an incredible diversity of marine life. Known as seamounts, these extraordinary places are highly productive oases in the sea, and are home to extremely fragile, long-lived, rare and sometimes endangered marine life. Some seamounts function like rest stops for migratory species, such as endangered whales, sea turtles, seabirds and sharks, on vast open-ocean journeys.

But people, and our far-reaching environmental impacts, are a significant threat to the marine life that inhabits seamounts all over the world. Because of this, seamounts are among a number of ocean features known as vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs).

Check out this opinion article written by Marine Conservation Institute’s Board Member Dr. Les Watling to learn more about the management of vulnerable marine ecosystem indicator species that live on seamounts.

Read the article here

Figure 2. A diverse cold-water community found on the Davidson Seamount off the coast of central California. Credit: NOAA/MBARI.