You don’t go looking for lions on the Arctic tundra or for grizzly bears in the tropical rainforest – that is if you hope to find them. The topside world presents a wide variety of biomes inhabited by plants and animals adapted to survive in each special place. Our underwater world is no different. However, for people working to recover the Salish Sea, it’s been harder to protect threatened marine creatures and their critical underwater habitats simply because it’s so difficult to find them.
Beneath the surface of the Salish Sea lie a dazzling variety of habitats. We all know about kelp forests and eelgrass meadows and the riot of life they support, but did you know that we have huge “sand waves” that shelter vast schools of sand lance and provide foraging environment for birds like Tufted Puffins and Rhinoceros Auklets? Or that all of the various bottom features scientists have identified – glacial moraines, earthquake-generated rock piles, vertical ice-cut rock walls and mud-filled bays and sounds – each support their own collection of animals?
SeaDoc’s exciting new Tombolo Seafloor Mapping Laboratory is addressing real-time conservation needs by pinpointing Salish Sea habitats. When your goal is to protect important marine creatures like our threatened rockfish species, you can’t get there without a map.