Similar to Temperate Upwelling areas, Tropical Upwelling habitats are characterized by high productivity resulting from the upwelling of nutrient rich bottom waters. These regions are distinct from other tropical waters in that the bottom waters bring cool water and nutrients to the surface.
Contrasted with the warm, highly saline, and nutrient poor waters typical of tropical marine ecosytems, Tropical Upwelling habitats support distinctive species and systems. The combination of high productivity and tropical climates produce unique communities that often support a high level of endemism as well as high levels of productivity. Large numbers of fish and sea birds are found here, as are a diversity of sea turtles and marine mammals.
The Humboldt Current along the West Coast of South America and the Canary Current along the West Coast of Africa bring rich nutrients to the sea surface where they support highly productive marine systems. In addition, important tropical upwelling and current areas occur in the Panama Bight ecoregions