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The diversity of marine life in the Gulf of Maine region is much greater than previously thought

s the soft-shelled clam. It is one of 110 known species of bivalves in the Gulf of Maine region, a class of species that also includes mussels, quahogs, and scallops.

  • One of the Gulf of Maine's tastiest delights, the American lobster, is just one species among 441 species known as arthropods ?creatures with jointed appendages and hard outer shells. While the human species loves lobster, other mammalian species, in particular whales, depend on different arthropods, such as the tiny crustaceans called copepods and krill.
  • Twenty percent of known marine species in the Gulf of Maine region ?a total of 652 -- are fishes. Of these, fewer than 5 percent are fished commercially. For an animated map that shows the decline of some of the best known of these, such as cod and haddock, see the Gulf of Maine's Dynamic Atlas at: http://gmbis.iris.usm.maine.edu/products.asp

    Image on left: Anarhichas lupus, the Wolffish. A bottom-dwelling fish, the wolffish can be up to 150 cm long. Photo by Peter Auster and Paul Donaldson, used courtesy National Marine Sanctuaries.

  • Some species are recently arrived as the result of human activities, such as shipping, and are unwelcome invaders that are altering local ecosystems. These include the European green crab, a small shore crab that is an efficient colonizer and predator.

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    Source:Census of Marine Life


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