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Olympic Coast: Habitats

Within the near shore environment, the kelp forests on OCNMS are critical for countless species of fish, invertebrates, seabirds and mammals. They image for more... (photo: Steve Fisher)

Dense stands of kelp cover large areas along the rocky Olympic coastline, thriving in up to 60 feet of water. These areas are home to image for more... (photo: Olympic Coast NMS)

Giant stems and fronds of kelp sway gently on the surface. (photo: Olympic Coast NMS)

Nutrient rich near shore waters sustain diverse bottom-dwelling habitats for invertebrates, fishes and marine algae. (photo: Steve Fisher)

Though less prolific than rocky habitats, the Sanctuary's sand beaches teem with life. (photo: Olympic Coast NMS)

Offshore rocks provide nesting and roosting habitat for birds. These remote rock islets are part of Quileute Needles National Wildlife Refuge, image for more... (photo: Olympic Coast NMS)

Broad rocky inter tidal zones and offshore islands create complex wildlife habitat-rich feeding zones for fish, and invertebrates as well as nest and perch habitats for watchful bald eagles and peregrine falcons. (photo: Olympic Coast NMS)

The Olympic Coast's remoteness assures that inter tidal communities are spared the pressure of sheer numbers of people. In this wild environment, habitats remain intact and organisms interact through natural processes, including competition for space and predation. (photo: Nancy Sefton)

Eroded headlands like Point of Arches attest to forces of the sea as it constantly assaults the shore. It is an irony of the rocky inter tidal zone that image for more... (photo: Olympic Coast NMS)

Sand beaches are home to many types of burrowing organisms. At high tide many emerge to feed in the surging water. As the tide image for more... (photo: Olympic Coast NMS)

The combination of wild forest and wild ocean marks the boundaries of two ecological systems. This boundary also forms a tapestry image for more... (photo: Olympic Coast NMS)

Every surface in the rocky inter tidal zone is used by something. Predatory ochre sea stars roam among communities of green sea anemones and rockweed searching for mussels. (photo: Nancy Sefton)

Listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, Stellar Sea Lions bask on offshore haulouts in Olympic image for more... (photo: Olympic Coast NMS)

Gulls congregate on beaches along the tidal fringe, scavenging morsels that arrive with every wave. (photo: Olympic Coast NMS)

Olympic Coast NMS is comprised of 3,310 square miles of ocean. Drifters, like this moon jelly, travel on currents and feed on plankton that is nourished in the mid-waters where nutrient-rich deeper water mixes with the sunlit surface layer. (photo: Steve Fisher)

Tatoosh Island marks the treacherous entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca for ships. With its lighthouse now automated, image for more... (photo: Olympic Coast NMS)

Common murres.
(photo: Fred Sharpe)

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Revised September 12, 2023 by Sanctuaries Web Team | Contact Us | Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service
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