Virtual Vacation: Dive Into Our Marine National Monuments
Some parts of the ocean remain isolated and untouched, particularly marine national monuments. In fact, the country’s most precious sites in the ocean are protected by law. These living monuments are home to unique landscapes and endemic species, making them significant places to experience and learn about the environment.
One of these monuments has recently gained worldwide attention, but there are other important underwater monuments that many people don’t know about. We can’t physically visit these places, but we can still virtually tour them! Let’s take a deep dive into our marine national monuments.
Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument
Located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument is one of the most secluded and untouched places in the world. U.S. jurisdiction forbids commercial fishing and mining activities here. Protecting the monument this way has helped save ecosystems where many vulnerable species live — species that include coral, marine mammals, birds, fish and vegetation that can’t be found anywhere else. However, other threats, like climate change and ocean acidification, can still impact this ancient environment.
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
Many creatures call the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument home, including green sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals and the masked booby bird. The monument’s coral reef ecosystem is a little different than others — it’s dominated by predators. Plus, this section contains at least 60 shipwrecks and submerged aircraft. One of the wrecks includes a WWII Japanese warship near the Midway Atoll.
The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument
There’s only one marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean — the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. It encompasses four undersea mountains and three deep-sea canyons. One of the seamounts actually formed more than 100 million years ago, when the ancient Kronosaurus lived in the ocean.
Rose Atoll Marine National Monument
Located in the South Pacific Ocean, Rose Atoll Marine National Monument protects unique species that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. For instance, scientists saw seven types of reef fish for the first time in history here! Sadly, many species are also threatened or endangered, such as giant clams and reef sharks.
Support Organizations that Protect the Living Monuments
We’ve seen some extraordinary landscapes and unbelievable species in four impressive marine national monuments. It’s almost the end of our underwater adventure, but there are a couple of great causes that are helping to save the oceans — and that are worth our attention.