Back to the ecozone list  
Arctic Basin (Marine)  
Atlantic (Marine)  
Map of the Pacific Marine ecozone  

Location | Climate | Geography | Flora and fauna | Humans | Images

The Pacific Marine ecozone begins at the British Columbia coast.

Protected by the Alaskan peninsula from cold Arctic waters, the temperature of the ocean off of the Pacific coast varies remarkably little, both across the ecozone at any one time and over the year. Ice is very rarely found here, and then only seasonally in the north.

The rivers and fjords of the west coast bring nutrients to the waters, and a major upwelling near the southern end of Vancouver Island provides the nutrients for an extremely rich and diverse ocean community.

Flora and Fauna
Macrocystis (giant kelp), coral reefs, and various seaweeds grow here. Eelgrass is found in coastal salt marshes.

The waters here contain over 3800 species of invertebrates as well as some of the largest vertebrates on the planet.

Many aquatic mammals swim in these waters, including sea otter, northern fur seal, northern sea lion, longsnout dolphin, right whale dolphin, pacific white-sided dolphin, pacific harbor porpoise, Dall's porpoise, orca, sperm whale, gray whale, fin whale, minke whale, blue whale, blue whale, and pacific right whale.

A characteristic bird of prey over the waters is the osprey. Many shorebirds and seabirds are found here, including rhinoceros auklet, Brandt's cormorants
, and all manner of gulls, puffins, petrels, murres, and more.

Fish that can be found here include coastrange sculpin, pacific herring, halibut, steelhead, dolly varden. Several species, including pacific lamprey, river lamprey, green sturgeon, white sturgeon, pink salmon, chum salmon, coho salmon, and sockeye salmon live in the ocean but enter freshwater to spawn.

Three of the many crustacean species that live here are Caprella laeviuscula, Mayerella banksia, and Metacaprella kennerlyi.

This ecozone provides many benefits to the population that borders it through fishing, shipping, tourism and water recreation. Unfortunately, these activities have damaged the ecosystem through overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction.

Sea anemones


Arctic Basin (Marine)Atlantic (Marine)

Back to the ecozone list