Offshore Marine Environment

The offshore marine environment in this region supports a unique and diverse assemblage of fish, invertebrates, sea birds and marine mammals. The islands contribute to the high biological diversity in this region of the Gulf not only by offering island refuges to many terrestrial and avian species, but by interrupting deep currents and forcing them to the surface. These upwellings of cold, nutrient-rich waters cause large blooms of plankton, which support productive fisheries and large populations of marine mammals and seabirds. Over one quarter of the marine mammal species in the world occur in the Gulf of California. Students, staff and researchers at the field station have documented seventeen species of marine mammals in this region of the Gulf, including Blue, Fin, Humpback and Sperm Whales and several types of dolphins.