Wildlife A-Z

Wildlife A-Z

For this Wildlife A to Z, we have U for Upwelling!

Upwelling is a process that helps to drive nutrients to the surface of the ocean from deeper waters. Upwelling occurs in coastal waters and is important for distributing important nutrients. Wind pushes the surface water from the top which allows new water to flow through which comes in the form of cold, nutrient rich water from the deeper ocean depths.

Often, high densities of animals such as schooling fish, predatory fish, sharks and cetaceans can be found congregated near upwelling zones for feeding.

In this way, coastal ecosystems support many food webs and fish populations (including their fisheries) around the globe.

When we speak about searching for marine wildlife, including whales, we often mention these integral zones. We often search for wildlife in zones where upwelling might be especially prevalent, for example, near ocean banks like Constance Bank. The nutrients brought forwards play a role in the presence of phytoplankton and in turn, zooplankton and schooling fish; the latter two being extremely important food sources for animals like the humpback whale and minke whale.

To picture this, upwelling can create scenarios that may look like some of our photos below (i.e. creating bait balls, swarms of seabirds, lots of marine mammals). Information: NOAA.