September 15 marks the third anniversary of the marine monument in our backyard—the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

In 2016, the Obama administration designated the first and only marine national monument in the U.S. waters of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Roughly 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is home to a staggering array of biodiversity—from deep-sea corals to marine mammals. The region protects three massive undersea canyons, some deeper than the Grand Canyon, and four underwater mountains taller than the highest peaks of the White Mountains. In fact, they’re higher than anything east of the Rockies.

It’s not just where the monument is located that makes it so special, but everything that calls it home. This remarkable seascape is so teeming with wildlife, it’s often called the “Serengeti of the sea.”

A group of Risso dolphins in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. Credit: Ester Quintana, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life.
A group of Risso dolphins in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. Credit: Ester Quintana, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life.

Hundreds of different species live in these protected canyons and seamounts, including dolphins, endangered sperm whales, rare beaked whales, and sea turtles, to name just a few. New creatures are discovered with every exploration. Just last week, New England Aquarium scientists conducted an aerial survey of the monument and saw more than 800 dolphins in just four hours, including, for the first time ever, striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba).

The New England Aquarium, and our colleagues at Mystic Aquarium, played a crucial role in the designation of the monument in 2016. For decades, scientists at the New England Aquarium and Mystic Aquarium and colleagues at the National Ocean Protection Coalition, Conservation Law Foundation, and National Resources Defense Council have been studying this crucial habitat. We were instrumental in providing the strong scientific evidence that helped designate this blue park a national monument. And we’re dedicated to protecting this vital monument. 

Exploring the Marine Monument in Our Backyard

A Ship-to-Shore Event in our Marine Monument

On Thursday, September 12, the Aquarium convened an exciting event to celebrate the third anniversary of the marine monument in our backyard. During this special lecture, guests got to enjoy a pop-up exhibit highlighting the history and importance of the monument, talked directly with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists aboard the R/V Okeanos Explorer in the monument, heard from a member of our Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life aerial survey team, and a deep-sea coral scientist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI).

We live-tweeted the event at @CenterOceanLife! Review the updates at #neaqlectures.

Learn More