At 2,000 miles away from any continent or island, the islands of Hawaii make up one of the most isolated archipelagoes in the world. The Hawaiian waters are home to over 700 species of fish – some are found nowhere else on earth. There are three distinct areas that define the ocean setting.
Surge Zone of the Maui Ocean
The first is the surge zone, where the water surges in and out of the rocks and up on the beach. Everything from Ghost Crabs, snail species, Opihi or limpets, and other hearty, adaptable animals are found here. They must be able to cling to the rocks very tightly and conserve their moisture as the tide goes in and out. Venturing out a little further in this area, one may find sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and many more species just within the tide pools. Many juvenile fish also find shelter in these shallow pools so that they may feed on algae at the water’s edge.
Coral Reefs of the Maui Ocean
The second area of the ocean is the coral reef, which stretches from near-shore to depths of 120 feet. Hawaiian reefs are actually unique for several reasons. For one, they lack a barrier reef and are also often mistaken for rock. Coral is a living organism that provides food and shelter for inhabitants of the reef, and in some cases can take thousands of years to develop. Aquatic life, such as triggerfish, moray eels, sea turtles, and surgeonfish are all found within this area.
Maui Open Ocean
Beyond the reef is the fascinating, and perhaps mysterious, open ocean. Larger animals, such as manta rays or sharks, and those that are migratory or feed on plankton, such as whale sharks, are found in this section of the ocean.
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