Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary includes our nation's largest kelp forest, one of North America's largest underwater canyons and the closest-to-shore deep ocean environment in the continental United States. It is home to one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, including 33 species of marine mammals, 94 species of seabirds, 345 species of fishes, and numerous invertebrates and plants. This remarkably productive marine environment is fringed by spectacular coastal scenery, including sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, rolling hills and steep mountains. The 100 species selected for inclusion in the Encyclopedia project represent species that are both economically and ecologically important. We hope you find this to be a valuable resource and visit often.