The four marine national monuments in the Pacific Ocean span more than 756 million acres of ocean, islands, and atolls.
These islands, atolls, and ocean waters are some of the most unexplored places left on the planet—with new species discovered regularly.
Wake Atoll in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument is perhaps the oldest living atoll in the world.
Coral reefs occupy less than 0.1% of the world’s ocean floor, yet they provide home for 25% of all marine species.
One of the most striking features of Rose Atoll is the pink hue of the fringing reef caused not by coral but by the dominance of coralline algae, which is the primary reef-building species in shallow depths.
Sooty terns may not return to land for several years, either staying in flight or occasionally landing on the water.
Giant isopods, related to the insects known as pill bugs or rolly pollys, inhabit the ocean depths of the monuments and can be as large as the size of a hand.
The area is home to four birds found nowhere else on the planet: the Laysan duck, Laysan finch, Nihoa millerbird, and Nihoa finch.