Producer's Notes for Underwater Wilderness: Creating Marine Protected Areas

When we think of beautiful underwater environments, most of us immediately let our minds wander to the tropics. Vibrant coral reefs with exotic multicolored fish and crystal clear bathtub-warm water. But it should be known that the undersea world off the California coast is no less beautiful and no less vivid. If fact, it is one of the most diverse underwater environments on the planet.

But even though it's in our own backyard, this place remains mostly unknown... probably due to its chilly temperatures. Let's face it, most of us are not donning our masks and snorkels and swimming in the hypothermic Pacific Ocean off our coast.

Lucky for us, some intrepid scientists and students are diving into this amazing place. Their job is to monitor how the ecosystems are responding to the new restrictions and protections taking place in the Marine Protected Areas. They gave us an amazing opportunity to see the natural world beneath the surface. And the world they shared with QUEST is truly inspiring. Playful harbor seals tease the divers while they weave through the gently swaying kelp forests. Fish dart through the rays of sunshine that cascades down to where starfish slowly go about their day. Through the eyes of these scientists, we witness the undersea life in bloom. They clearly have one of the best offices to go to work to each day.