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Monterey Bay

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The coast of California around Monterey Bay is known world wide for its spectacular rocky shoreline and its fierce waves. Just a few kilometers off its coast, begins the slope of an undersea canyon that ranks among the largest in the world. Within its network of deep sea valleys, the Monterey canyon supports a richness of life, from tiny shrimp-like krill, to the migrating baleen whales who feed on them. It may look like a bloodbath from above the water, but this Grey whale is actually feeding on millions of the tiny red krill that thrive in waters because of the canyon's deep up - welling currents. The massive daily vertical migration of krill provides food for predators near the surface of the water, and for those of its depths. Here, too, lives the Humbolt squid, which can grow to two meters long. When threatened, it flashes with color, and jets itself through the water to evade predators. The mola mola, the world's largest bony fish, usually travels in the open sea, and lives on a diet heavy with jellyfish. But it also lingers near kelp beds thick with nutrients. Otters, too, dine on the kelp beds. These mammals have no blubber, and such a high metabolic rate that they must daily eat about 20% of their body weight. Their fur is the densest of the animal kingdom. Monterey Bay is one of the places in the world that is ideal for giant kelp. Often called "redwoods of the sea", kelp can soar up to 50 meters high. To thrive, kelp needs a rocky sea bed, plenty of nutrients, and calm waves. It also houses an amazing array of creatures: sea slugs, purple sea urchins, tiny octopus, and melibe. Right at the curve of Monterey Bay runs an equally rich seasonal estuary: Elkhorn Slough. Its shallow branches support marshes and mudflats, critical habitat for hundreds of species of birds and marine life. Early in the twentieth century, Monterey's cannery row became known for its vast fishing industry. Over - fishing nearly wiped out populations of sardines, salmon, and halibut. But in 1992, the federal government designated 7,500 square kilometers of ocean and sea floor around Monterey Bay as a marine sanctuary. The diverse ecosystem found here has made this area one of the most studied parts of the ocean. These studies have brought about new understanding, appreciation, and greater protection for Monterey Bay, and its marine wildlife.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 37 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: National Geographic
Director: National Geographic
Views: 82
Posted by: greenbo on Apr 30, 2011

Monterey Bay is home to many unique plants and animals.

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