The ocean covers about 70% of the Earth’s surface and in all that water there are tons of species. Did you know that up to 38,000 different types of microorganisms can be found in a single liter of ocean water! Tropical coral reefs are one of the most diverse habitats, with tons of different species calling it home. Reefs can also be found further north; off of Canada’s coast there are the Atlantic deep-water coral habitat and the Pacific rocky reef habitat. Last month we looked at some amazing deep-water coral off the coast of Atlantic Canada. Now we’re heading west to explore the Pacific reefs.
In Western Waters
In the waters off of British Columbia’s coast you’ll find one of the most diverse habitats in the entire country. These rocky reefs have 1,185 known species, including fish, like quillback and yelloweye rockfish, as well as marine animals like cloud sponges, glass sponges and tubeworms. Over 80 species of cold-water corals have been identified or are believed to exist in these coastal B.C. waters. These reefs cover areas that have a wide range of depth, some as shallow as 3-35m. As their name suggests, these reefs have rocky ridges, cliffs and boulders. Scientists have been surveying the rocky reefs for the past 44 years to learn about the animals that live here and what threats they face. Scientists working with the Vancouver Aquarium are helping to protect the rocky reefs and species like the rockfish from such threats as overfishing and ocean acidification.
Here are some of the incredible species of coral that live in Canada’s rocky reefs.
Earth Rangers is a non-profit organization that works to inspire and educate children about the environment. At EarthRangers.com kids can play games, discover amazing facts, meet animal ambassadors and fundraise to protect biodiversity.