Illas Atlanticas / Pontevedra (ES-SNE) - Spain
Illas Atlanticas / Pontevedra (ES-SNE)
The Atlantic Islands of Galicia were declared a national park in 2002 in order to protect one of the best examples of Atlantic Ocean-associated ecosystems. Although on land there are highly valuable and exceptional ecosystems relating to cliffs, dunes and scrub, it is the marine setting that hosts the greatest biodiversity. Situated off the Rías Baixas (Lower Estuaries), the archipelagos Cíes, Ons, Sálvora and Cortegada, create a natural barrier to the ocean, thereby accentuating the rías’ estuary influence. The terrain features dune systems, cliffs with gorse and heather scrub, while the marine environment hosts a rocky seabed with large communities of brown algae (Sacorhiza polyschides and Laminaria spp.), which are home to a great variety of living things. The marine currents deposit sand in the most sheltered parts, and together with the important Mäerl beds consisting of the remains of calcareous algae, create a shifting substrate to which living things must adapt.
General Characteristics and Status