Marine Ecoregions of North America, a beautifully illustrated new book produced by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), is a joint effort of American, Canadian and Mexican ecologists, marine biologists, geographers and managers. It classifies North America's oceans and coastal waters into 24 ecological regions (marine ecoregions) according to oceanographic features and geographically distinct groups of species. Through maps, photos and detailed information on habitats, ecosystems and human activities, the book describes the oceans from the Beaufort Sea to the Gulf of Mexico, covering the continent's territorial waters in the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
From it's Preface: "...rich storehouses of biodiversity underpin our quality of life, our economies and much of our cultural identity. From the prolific areas of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to the exceptionally diverse Mesoamerican Coral Reef, Canada, Mexico, and the United States share a vast array of ecosystems — an assemblage of marine life, already threatened by land-based pollution, overfishing, and invasive species, among a wide array of stressors, is now facing new challenges from rapidly changing climatic conditions.
"As much of the damage occurs hidden from our view, under the deceptively unchanging blanket of the ocean's surface, North Americans are seeking new means to protect our common natural endowment...
"Each chapter briefly describes the key features of each ecoregion — in terms of its physical, oceanographic, and biological characteristics, as well as the impacts we humans have had upon it. Each chapter also enables the reader to have a quick glance at the state of knowledge by means of Fact Sheets to be found near the beginning of each section."
Let me emphasize again that the photographs or the marine environment make this a great coffee-table book.