Seamount, Cortes Bank

Photograph by Brian Skerry, National Geographic

An orange sheephead, slender wrasses, and other fish swim through a forest of coralline algae and kelp stalks swaying in the current around Cortes Bank. "The communities you find on seamounts are like oases in otherwise deep water," says Bruce Robison, senior scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California.

See more pictures from the September 2012 feature story "Mountains in the Sea."