Californian Current | WWF

Californian Current

About the Area

The Californian Current helps create highly diverse and productive upwelling ecosystems in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. The area off the coast of California and Oregon is home to huge populations of marine mammals, seabirds, and fish. It is best known for its extensive kelp forests and Sea otters (Enhydra lutris).

Local Species
Species include Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), Yellowfin sole (Limanda aspera), Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), California skate (Raja inornata), Shovelnose guitarfish (Rhinobatos productus), Longfin gunnel (Pholis clemensi), numerous species of anadromous (those that migrate from freshwater to the ocean and back to freshwater) salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), and great white sharks (Carcharodon spp.).

Giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) provides important habitat for numerous other species. The burrowing starlet sea anemone (Nematostella vectensis) is just one of many important invertebrates.

Numerous marine mammals are found here, including Sea otter (Enhydra lutris), Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), Northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus), Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendii), Steller's sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), Grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus), and Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina).

Other species include Pacific green turtle (Chelonia agassizii), Olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Townsend's shearwater (Puffinus auricularis), Ashy storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa), Heerman's gull (Larus heermanni), Xantu's murrelet (Synthliboramphus hypoleucus), and Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis). Cetaceans include Pilot whale (Globicephala maerorynchus), Killer whale (Orcinus orca), and Northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis).

Regional coastal waters have become polluted, especially near major cities, leading to problems of contaminated seafood. Other major threats to the region come from oil shipping accidents and overfishing.



Habitat type:
Temperate Upwelling

Geographic Location:
Northeastern temperate Pacific Ocean along the coast of temperate North America

Conservation Status:
Relatively Stable/Intact

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