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July 21, 2016. Water / Oceans

The Patagonian Sea

The Patagonian Sea remained a relatively well-preserved secret until the ‘80s. Then the word spread from adventurous travelers and brought Patagonia’s beauty to the attention of tourists

Cristina G. Mittermeier, Gregory S. Stone, Russell A. Mittermeier, Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, Claudio Campagna, Kent E. Carpenter, Laurence P. Madin, David Obura, Enric Sala, Sebastian Troëng, Peter A. Seligman & Stefan Gutermuth

Oceans are dominated by quasi-sterile environments, low biomass areas that are the marine equivalent of deserts.  Exceptions are the shallow waters nurtured by the sun, where upwelling or mixing currents create the fertile conditions that sustain life in abundant splendor.

The Patagonian Shelf is the largest submerged plain in the Southern Hemisphere that covers one million square kilometers to a depth of one hundred meters. The bottom slopes gently toward the open ocean at a rate of about one meter of descent for every thousand meters from shore, until it reaches the eastern edge and drops off steeply.  Like other ecosystems in the temperate oceans, the Patagonian Sea supports a considerable diversity of species.

Four dolphin species are either endemic or have very restricted distribution outside Patagonia: La Plata, Peale’s, Chilean and Commerson’s.

 

This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Conservation Series Book Oceans: Heart of Our Blue Planet (2011)

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Oceans

Heart of our Blue Planet

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