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Priority Areas
    Wilderness Areas
    Key Marine Regions
Africa and Madagascar

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Saving Our Living Seas
The ocean covers 71 percent of the earth's surface and comprises vast, dynamic biomes that are among the richest and most productive ecosystems on Earth. Intertidal areas, coral reefs, seagrass beds, open ocean, and deep-sea habitats form an integrated network of species-rich ecosystems that serve critical ecological and biological functions. However, these habitats are important not only for their roles within an ecological system but also because when intact, these biomes support an enormous level of biological diversity. In fact, the diversity of the ocean exceeds that on land at the level of phyla, and entire categories of numerous life forms (not just species) are found exclusively in the sea.

Moreover, the ocean is exceedingly productive and attractive to human cultures, thereby enabling marine systems to support enormous levels of economic activity. Consequently, nearly half of the world’s populations reside within the coastal zone. Marine ecosystems are already heavily impacted by these relatively dense coastal populations and associated economic activities. Threats stemming from sedimentation, eutrophication, freshwater diversion, toxin inputs, radioactive dumping, oil and gas mining, overfishing and destructive fishing techniques, solid waste disposal, poorly managed aquaculture, and global climate change will rapidly accumulate thereby undermining the integrity of these important marine systems at all scales of assemblage.

Marine ecosystem complexes are ecologically sensitive and exceedingly valuable places that are under enormous, and in most cases, largely ignored pressures. In undermining the health of the ocean, we risk the extinction of species, the loss of important habitat, and the destruction of corridor-level functions that could seriously compromise the life-sustaining processes of the planet. Trouble for the ocean clearly means trouble for humankind.

CI works to conserve biodiversity in some of the world's most biologically rich and productive ocean environments. These regions include:

  1. Gulf of California
  2. Andes
    • Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape---Colombia, Ecuador
    • Venezuela, Peru
  3. Brazil
  4. Indonesia
  5. Philippines
  6. Melanesia
    • Milne Bay, Raja Ampat, New Caledonia, Fiji, Solomon Islands
  7. Mesoamerica
    • Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape---Costa Rica, Panama

For more detailed information on these regional programs and other current initiatives, go to http://portals.conservation.org/marine.

Resources and Links

CI Wide
Strategy: Global Marine Strategy
Strategy: Seascapes
Program: Sea Turtle Flagship Program
CABS: Marine Rapid Assessment Program
Web Site: CI Marine Portal
Web Site: Defying Ocean's End
Frontlines: Deep Sea Bottom Trawling
Frontlines: The Net Loss of Overfishing
Frontlines: Smooth Sailing Ahead for Cruise Industry
Frontlines: Kiribati Safeguards Entire Coral Archipelago
Frontlines: CI Backs Island Community's Conservation Efforts
Frontlines: Tsunami Survivors Replant, Rebuild, and Restore Frontlines: Troubled Waters
Frontlines: Island purchase helps safeguard Caribbean jewels
Frontlines: Earth's life support
Frontlines: A study in marine conservation challenge and reward
Frontlines: Ten Species on the Brink of Extinction
Frontlines: Corridor project links unique island worlds
Frontlines: McDonald's sets sights on marine environment
Frontlines: Restoring the "Aquarium of the World"
Frontlines: Q&A: The fisheries crisis
Frontlines: Caribbean depths home to biological treasures

On the Web
Deep Sea Conservation Coalition
The State of the World's Sea Turtles (SWoT)

Publications & Downloads
Brochure: Seascapes: Globally Important Marine Ecosystems (PDF–661kb)
Book: Defying Ocean's End
Report: The State of the World's Sea Turtles (SWoT) (PDF–3.2mb)
Poster: Ten Most Threatened Sea Turtles in the World (PDF–705kb)


© CI, Sterling Zumbrunn
A green sea turtle near Ecuador's Galapagos Islands.

© CI, Gerry Allen
Scientists review specimens during a Marine RAP in Madagascar.

© CI, Timothy B. Werner
Red fire fish (Pterois volitans) in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea

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Photo credits for banner images: (Greater Flamingos © Tui De Roy/Minden Pictures); (Diagonal-banded Sweetlips © Fred Bavendam/Minden Pictures);
(Madagascar Aloe © Frans Lanting/Minden Pictures); (Hippo © Frans Lanting/Minden Pictures); (Hummingbird © Pete Oxford); (Malagasy Frog © Piotr Naskrecki/CI)