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Monterey Bay is located in the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. The Sanctuary, which was established in 1992 and is home to over 450 marine algae and 340 different species of fish. Some of the earliest human inhibition to Monterey was the Ohlone tribe in the late 18th century. This Indian tribe took control in the Monterey Bay area and used the biologically rich area to sustain families. Based on findings and evidence the primary food was mussels and abalone. This tribe impacted the early area buy “periodically burning the landscape to promote growth of native grasses” (Early History). This tribe unknowingly kept the area free from invasive species, which could have an impact on the area today. The bay got its name from an explorer Viscanio “who named Monterey Bay in honor of Conde de Monterey, then victory of New Spain” (Hart). When California was admitted into the United States, Monterey had been one of the original 27 counties established. Since Monterey Bay today is a marine protected area, there is a rich amount of species with a good amount of diversity between each species. Lush kelp growing from the floors of the ocean “are rich with crabs, snails, sea stars, octopus and a multitude of fishes. Farther from shore, the seafloor is covered with sand or mud, and harbors colorful communities of fishes and invertebrates including sardines and market squid.” (Palumbi) Many seasonal migrants of whales are spotted through the year in Monterey Bay, from Grey Blue, Fin and even Humpback whales can be seen at the right time of year. Hundreds of species can even be found just right off the beach around the tide pools. Sea Urchins, mussels, all types crabs, different alga, and even some fish resign around the rocky platform laying up to about a foot in a half under the water. Out and away from the water Monterey bay has miles of rich soil and a benign climate that is home to backyard orchardists.
Monterey Bays Marine Sanctuary’s seafloor is divided into three segments. The North, Central, and Southern. Monterey Bay is located in the lower region of the Central area. This central area “contains the most geologically diverse and physiographical seafloor within the Marine Sanctuary. There is an extensive amount of erosion dissection that occurs along the slopes of the Monterey Bay region. There are large and massive gashes along the seafloor due to tectonic movement along offshore faults. Along the land lies the Monterey Bay fault, which tracks three miles north and is active. Many conservation areas, which are marine protected, lie in the Monterey Bay. These areas help conserve wildlife and marine ecosystems. Monterey is home to many endangered animals such as the sea otter, California clapper, brown pelican, and the Yuma Ridgway rail. The conservation area helps improve the awareness of the endangered species that lie in the Bay. Human interactions have put a good impact on the Monterey Bay. Fishery has put a huge impact on local marine mammal populations. A large ten percent of sea lions in the marine center were reported at either shot or caught in a net from fisherman. Another impact of fisherman is the impact of their boats. “Boat traffic has affected gray whales migrations. These whales will change the course of their migration to avoid ships.” (Palumbi) Offshore water have also shown a increase in levels of contaminates. This has effected temperature changes and chemistry changes through out not only the bay but the whole marine sanctuary. One of the biggest threats to Monterey’s ecosystem has been the military activity; “Concerns regarding the military activity in the sanctuary are primarily related to conflicts and disturbances with marine life or benthic habitat, and disturbance of seabird roosting areas by aircraft. Concerns have also arisen regarding military proposals to use underwater acoustic devices that could interfere with marine mammal communications, behavior or health”. (MBNMS) The biggest threat to the future of the Monterey bay is over fishing the area. “While many other human activities strain the marine environment — including growing impacts from global climate change — the primary factors in the oceans’ decline today are related to commercial fishing: failure to consider the entire ecosystem when managing fisheries and aquaculture operations, and the rapid industrialization of fishing effort worldwide to keep up with growing human demand for seafood.” (MBNMS) In addition, populations of large, long-lived animals, including whales, sharks, turtles, tunas, manatees, rockfish and billfishes, have plummeted. The Monterey bay aquarium is doing a great job expressing to visitors the stress of what the future will look like in the oceans if the fishing continues how it is going today. The aquarium also provides brochures to visitors and all other shops in the area on how to view the wildlife properly. Keeping distance, hands off and avoiding feeding the wildlife can prevent animals from relying on human food and getting removed from their habitat. Through different exhibits and sections in the aquarium any visitor can see how they can do their part in helping out the environment. Monterey Bay Aquarium is working with 14 other nonprofit organizations across the United States and Canada as part of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions to spread support for the cause of keeping the ocean populated.
After exploring the area of Monterey and seeing how beautiful and maintained the environment is there is no reason to believe there would be any change to it in the next 50 years. If anything the area of Monterey Bay would be more maintained and kept stabilized due to the awareness the Aquarium and other organizations are putting out to the residents and visitors in the area. Preserving the land, habitat and oceans population through countless advertisements is one of the most productive ways Monterey is able to keep the ocean full of fish. Even though it doesn’t seem like much, the bay has been in much better shape from pollution, overfishing and species interference.
To really understand how diverse and full of life Monterey Bay is one must visit the area and take it all in. Many people just think Monterey has rich life of species around the tides but it much more then that. The Bay has one of the largest underwater canyons in the world. All around the bottom of the ocean in the bay is filled with kelp growing as large as trees forming kelp forests. Tons of conservation areas filled with native species being protected from any invaders. The awareness the bay has established over the years has helped these conservation sites in pristine condition. If one was to visit the area many locals recommend checking out the aquarium as one of the first places to visit so when other stops are made around Monterey a visitor will have more knowledge of what species may resign around the area or what to keep an eye out for since the ecosystems are so rich.
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