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
A right whale breaches, lifting its huge body out of the water.An American crocodile rests on a bed of seagrass. Great White Shark at sea surface – marvels of evolution.A scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) at Isla del Coco, Costa Rica.Close-up photograph looking into the gaping mouth of a golden brown sea lion, lying on the sand.Sea TurtleA Turtle Excluder Device (TED) enables a loggerhead turtle to escape from a net.