The ‘Pelagic Zone’ refers to the water that is not near the shoreline and stretches from the surface to the seafloor. It is the largest habitat type in the harbors. Animals like plankton (tiny floating plants and animals) and fishes living in the pelagic zone move up and down in the water column to find food and avoid predation. They are camouflaged for their life in the open water because this zone is important foraging habitat for larger predators such as barracuda, mackerel, dolphins, sea lions, harbor seals, and fish-eating birds such as terns, pelicans, and cormorants. Many of the animals and algae (like giant kelp) found in the harbor spend part of their life cycle as members of the plankton before settling onto rocks, pilings, or the seafloor to take on their adult form.
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Photos from top to bottom: kelp on riprap in outer harbor, kelpfish in canopy in outer harbor, kelp on piling at surface in outer harbor, diver at surface in outer harbor