In all four oceans and throughout the waters of 18 countries, WCS marine scientists are working to conserve coral reefs, tropical fishes, and ocean giants such as humpback whales, sea turtles, elephant seals, and sharks. WCS focuses on conserving some of the most biodiverse and ecologically intact wild places remaining on Earth, along coastlines that offer the best chance for viable, long-term conservation of marine life. Addressing the complex relationships between the ecosystems of the sea, coast, and areas inland, WCS links marine and land management initiatives in comprehensive conservation strategies. Whether helping to preserve traditional fishing practices in Fiji, training a corps of marine biologists at our research facility on Belize’s Glover Reef, or protecting the great penguin rookeries of coastal Argentina, WCS is helping to save the world’s seas for the sake of marine life and people alike.
The largest bay in the world, the Bay of Bengal forms the northern part of the Indian Ocean. Tropical dolphins and dugongs, various sea turtles, and game fish like marlins and tuna swim its waters.
The Caribbean Sea is one of the largest saltwater seas, but is perhaps best known for its islands—the Belize Barrier Reef, West Indies, and Caymans, to name a few. In addition to tourists, it is a mecca for sea turtles, sharks, and hundreds of species of tropical fish.
The Congo Basin Coast spans the Atlantic Ocean borders of Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Congo. Its beaches shelter the world’s largest nesting population of leatherback turtles, and its waters are a haven for humpbacks, manatees, and dolphins.
No place in the world can compete with the Coral Triangle for sheer number of marine species. The region, which encompasses six countries in the Indo-Pacific, is home to more than 500 species of reef-building corals and over 3,000 species of fish.
The Southwest Atlantic encompasses the waters from Argentina to Tierra del Fuego, the Chilean tip of the continent. It contains one of the world’s largest and richest marine ecosystems, the Patagonian Shelf.
The Western Indian Ocean borders Africa’s east coast. The coralline waters along the coastline of Kenya, Tanzania, northern Mozambique, and Madagascar contain one of the planet’s largest fringing reefs.
From the Newsroom
During the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea, WCS urges government entities to protect sharks and rays from overfishing. WCS advocates improved management of fisheries, limits on catches of certain species, and increased CITES protections.
Fitted with a tiny camera on its back, an imperial cormorant dove to the ocean floor to pursue a meal. Although conservationists know these seabirds seek underwater snacks, they never anticipated the depths of their fishing feats, as captured in this video. The WCS team that worked with the National Research Council of Argentina to track the “super-bird” has studied cormorant feeding behavior in the Patagonian Sea for the past decade.
Although conservationists have long known that turtles return to their natal beaches to lay eggs, direct evidence of these pilgrimages is scant. With sea turtles more imperiled than ever, conservationists can’t help but delight in success stories like this one.
John Calvelli, WCS Executive VP for Public Affairs, discusses threats to global shark populations and the devastating legacy of Jaws. As demand for shark fin soup grows, Calvelli emphasizes that efforts to conserve vulnerable shark species must incorporate a curb on the trade of their fins.