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June 10, 2014

In Honor of World Oceans Day, Don’t Forget the Bamboo Corals

*** Local Caption *** (Paromola cuvieri) and foraminifera (Pelosina sp.). Hexactinellid sponge. Émile Baudot seamount, Majorca channel, Balearic Islands, Spain. Expedition Oceana Ranger 2010: Discovering seamounts. August 2010. Centollo de fondo (Paromola cuvieri) y foraminíferos (Pelosina sp.). Montaña submarina Emile Baudot, Canal de Mallorca, Islas Baleares, España. Expedición Oceana Ranger 2010: Descubriendo montañas submarinas. Agosto 2010

Oceana in Europe celebrated World Oceans Day over the weekend by taking a look at some of the most overlooked, but intriguing, marine species. This story originally appeared on Oceana in Europe’s blog, and can be found here.

It’s World Oceans Day: Don’t Forget the Bamboo Corals

By Peter Pierrou

Fish, squids and corals full of organisms whose names you can’t even begin to pronounce – our oceans are brimming with life. Yet sometimes it seems that many on land have forgotten that life once began in the ocean and still plays a big role in maintaining the balance on this planet. Even in this modern day, despite all the scientific evidence and policy achievements, there is a lot to be done in order to safeguard many of our key marine species and ecosystems

Since the other 364 days of the year basically represent World Land Days, Oceana would like to use the opportunity on this one World Oceans Day, to shine the spotlight on some of the amazing and beautiful, yet much neglected life in the oceans.  

Bamboo corals: ­­Growing in the forgotten soft bottoms of the deep sea, where toxic dumping and all kinds of destructive fishing practices are still allowed. Many of these ancient corals, some of which are up to 4000 years old, have disappeared from vast areas and seem to always be ignored when ocean protection appears on the policy agenda.

Guitarfish:  Most populations were already extinct before policy makers began to adopt plans to protect them. Even recent conservation initiatives fail to cover the whole range of these critically endangered species.

Cephalopods: This family of squids, octopus and cuttlefish lacks management plans and protection worldwide. Their decline affects a lot of other sea creatures, since they are key species for many top predators like dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and swordfish, to name a few

Eelgrass meadows: Even though eelgrass plays a significant role in maintaining many ecosystem functions, like producing food, protecting coasts against erosion, regulating levels of carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, it is still not treated as priority to protect by policy makers.

Seamounts and canyons: Recent scientific studies have proven their importance as key ecosystem and biodiversity hotspots. But less than 0.1% of the world’s seamounts and canyons are protected.

To see more photographs of underrated, but stunning, marine species, visit Oceana in Europe’s Flickr album