What is the MPA Protecting?
Our marine biodiversity
Ascension Island is the tip of a 3.8km high volcano rising from a point of crustal weakness on the sea floor.
The speck of dry land in the vast ocean has a variety of coastal habitats that offer safe breeding areas for numerous marine species. There’s only a narrow band of shallow water habitat around the island due to the steep sides of the volcano, which have been built up through successive eruptions over millions of years.
Three shallow water seamounts in the waters around Ascension give a glimpse of what Ascension was like before it breached the ocean surface, and provide a rich marine habitat in their own right.
Away from the island and seamounts, more than 99.9% of the MPA is comprised of pelagic habitats - open oceanic waters deeper than 500m and descending at their maximum to over 4,000m. The deep benthic habitats in these areas consist of largely unconsolidated sediment offering challenging conditions for life to thrive, but hydrothermal vents found along the Mid Atlantic Ridge provide habitats for communities of specialised creatures.