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Pacific (Marine)  
Northwest Atlantic (Marine)  
Map of the Atlantic Marine ecozone  

Location | Climate | Geography | Flora and fauna | Humans

Farther out to sea than the Northwest Atlantic Marine ecozone, this ecozone only touches land at the southern coast of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and the eastern coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Winds coming from the land to the west and the warm Gulf Stream from the south both make the Atlantic Marine ecozone more temperate than it would otherwise be. Dense fog banks form where the cold northern Labrador Current meets the Gulf Stream off of Newfoundland. Late winter and early spring brings icebergs to the Grand Banks and the Newfoundland coast, and the northern part of the ecozone is known as "Iceberg Alley" by sailors. The Bay of Fundy features the largest tides in the world, the difference between high and low tide topping 15 metres

Most of the ecozone is thousands of metres deep, although the famous Grand Banks off of Newfoundland average only 150 metres over large areas.

Flora and Fauna
Tiny aquatic organisms called phytoplankton live in the ocean, providing the basis for the food web. Giant kelp and seaweed are common, especially in intertidal zones. The frequent salt marshes that are found at the water’s edge contain such species as saltmarsh cord grass, marsh meadow grass, spike grass, wild barley, sea lavender and sea plantain, all of which are resistant to the salty water.


Marine mammals, such as harbour seal, grey seal, harbour porpoise, atlantic harbour porpoise, longsnout dolphin, orca, atlantic beaked whale, northern bottlenose whale, blue whale, fin whale, pilot whale, beluga, minke whale, blue whale, atlantic right whale, sperm whale, and humpback whale are found living in or migrating through the area.

Many of the bird species live on the water all year, only coming onto land to breed, such as the northern fulmar, greater shearwater, dovekie, common murre, and thickbilled murre. Leach’s storm petrel, arctic tern, eider. Various kittiwakes, puffins, cormorants and gulls are common birds found here.

Common fish species in the area include atlantic tomcod, mummichog, redfish, herring, silver hake, Greenland halibut (turbot), and the dangerousl
y overfished northern cod. Several fish, such as the sea lamprey, atlantic sturgeon, alewife, atlantic salmon and American eel live most of their lives in the ocean but enter freshwater to spawn.

The crustaceans found here include stone crab, Neolithodes grimaldii, American lobster, rock crab, Lucifer faxoni, Sclerocrangon boreas, acadian hermit-crab, striped pink shrimp, Lebbeus groenlandicus, and Axius serratus.

Other Invertebrates
The large shallow areas of the ecozone provide habitat for a surprising number of barnacles, sea stars, sponges, clams, jellyfish, and other invertebrates.

The Grand Banks lie here off the Newfoundland coast. When European explorers first came here four centuries ago they claimed that the fish were so dense that they would slow ships. Since then, fishing has been so intense that fish stocks have plummeted and Canada actually banned cod fishing in 1992 to prevent the commercial extinction of cod. Today fishing has turned to other species and the offshore oil and gas fields hold hope for the region's battered economy.


Pacific (Marine)Northwest Atlantic (Marine)

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