The Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California site in Mexico was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2005. The site is important for its diversity of oceanographic processes, including wind- and current-driven upwelling, tidal mixing, and hydrothermal vents - all of which contribute to its extraordinary biological diversity. There are 890 fish species (90 of which occur nowhere else), 34 kinds of whales and dolphins, 25 species of coral, over 4,800 invertebrates, the poisonous yellow-bellied sea snake, and 90% of the world’s Heermann's gulls. Within the site are breeding and nursery grounds for 30,000 California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), as well as feeding and wintering grounds for five of the world’s eight species of marine turtles: leatherback, hawksbill, loggerhead, black or Pacific green, and olive ridley.
Today, over 40 World Heritage sites are listed for their marine values. Together, they can be considered the "Crown Jewels of our Ocean" and are recognized for their outstanding beauty, exceptional biodiversity, or unique ecological, biological, or geological processes. Learn more about this and other marine World Heritage sites.