The warm temperatures, beautiful clear waters, and bountiful sea life of the Caribbean have long drawn humans to these waters. The Caribbean ecoregion is a large area that includes the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and part of the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the Caribbean experiences hot and humid weather with heavy rain all year round. During certain times of year, the low-pressure zones of the eastern Caribbean Sea help create hurricanes that often damage the coast and low-lying parts of the regionâ€™s islands.
In these vast open waters, habitats that provide food and shelter are crucial for the animals that call the Caribbean home. Mangrove forests along coastlines have tangled, fast-growing roots that offer protection and food to a variety of animals, including crabs, scallops, and anchovy fish. Large meadows of swaying seagrasses provide habitats in the currents beneath the oceanâ€™s surface. Further out to sea, the coastal shelves and warm tropical waters of the Caribbean create perfect conditions for coral reefs. Coral reef ecosystems are some of the most biologically diverse in the world, and the Caribbean contains 7% of the worldâ€™s reefs.