The Bering Sea contains the world’s broadest continental shelf — an elevated underwater plain — and the most productive fisheries in North America. As ocean currents move north from the Pacific Ocean and the Aleutian basin toward the Arctic Ocean, they bring nutrients from the deep sea toward the surface. This upwelling creates thriving seafloor habitat and productivity that are the foundation of the entire ecosystem.
Most of the hard corals in the Bering Sea are found on the slope at the edge of the shelf and in some of the largest submarine canyons in the world, but an array of other seafloor habitats enrich this fertile ocean ecosystem. On the shelf, soft corals, sponges (links) and other deep sea invertebrates provide living structure on sandy or muddy seafloor.
With names like sea raspberry, sea onion, sea potato and sea peach (links), the invertebrates of the Bering Sea sound pretty tasty. These living animals provide essential habitat for the abundant marine life in the Bering Sea.