- Southwest Atlantic Photo
- Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS
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 seascapes—the Patagonian Large Marine Ecosystem, which spans 700,000 square miles along Argentina’s southern coast. On its windswept shores, more than a million pairs of Magellanic penguins nest in colonies, and in its waters, almost a third of the world’s remaining southern right whales breed. Elephant seals, sea lions, and fish such as hake and Patagonian toothfish also gather here, along with seabirds that breed on the nearby Jason Islands. Though the rugged region is sparsely populated, its abundant natural resources draw the commercial fishing and oil industries.
From marshy, subtropical lowlands to sub-Antarctic glaciers, Argentina’s seascape and coastline varies wildly. Colonies of Magellanic penguins, cormorants, albatrosses, elephant seals, right whales and sea lions draw tourists, but are threatened by oil extraction and overfishing.
From the Newsroom
WCS track the epic journey of “Jackson,” a young male elephant seal. Elephant seals are potential indicators of marine ecosystem health and may show how climate change influences the distribution of prey species in Patagonia’s oceans.