Backbone of Biodiversity at Risk
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) maintains the Red List of Threatened Species, an inventory of the global conservation status of plants and animals. In a 2010 study, researchers concluded that one-fifth of the world's vertebrates (animals with backbones) are threatened with extinction. Meet some of the marine vertebrate species that are among those threatened in this image gallery.
Hawaiian Monk Seal
Hawaiian monk seals are among the wildlife found within the Papahānaumokuākea World Heritage Site.
North Atlantic Right Whale
A right whale breaches, lifting its huge body out of the water.
Courtesy of the New England Aquarium
An American crocodile resting on a seagrass bed near the roots of a mangrove tree.
© 2004 Smithsonian Institution
Great White Shark
Great white sharks – marvels of evolution.
© Michael Rutzen
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark
A scalloped hammerhead shark at Isla del Coco, Costa Rica.
© Terry Goss 2008/Marine Photobank
Galapagos Sea Lion Yawning
A Galapagos sea lion rests on a beach in Ecuador.
Rod Mast/Marine Photobank
Green Sea Turtle
A diet of algae and seagrasses gives this turtle greenish colored fat—and its name.
Loggerhead Escapes from Fishing Net
A Turtle Excluder Device (TED) enables a loggerhead turtle to escape from a net.