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There is a general, although unfounded, belief that marine organisms are widespread with a low risk of extinction. In reality, many are restricted to small areas with greatly restricted ranges. Narrow range endemics are the result of a combination of intrinsic (biological) and extrinsic (environmental) factors. The latter include history and geography while poor dispersal capability is typically important amongst the former. Oceanic islands, seamounts and specialised deep-sea habitats, such as hot vents and cold seeps, often have significant numbers of narrow-range taxa. Low levels of narrow range endemism can also occur in continental habitats such as estuaries, widely separated intertidal habitats and off-shore islands, reefs and shoals. The conservation of narrow range taxa is of particular concern because these organisms are susceptible to exploitation and habitat degradation.

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