The largest geographic feature that directly impacts on the
oceanography of the region is Point Conception on the mainland at the northernmost tip of the Channel. North of Point Conception the ocean waters are part of the Oregonian zone that sees a current of colder water moving down from the arctic Alaskan waters, and brining animals from the far north Pacific down to the Channel islands, such as the northern fur seal, and the Orca, or killer whales.
Below Point Conception are the four northernmost Channel Islands – San
Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Anacapa. South of Point Conception the ocean zone changes to the California zone. The California zone sees a current that comes up from Mexico and then circles around between Santa Barbara and Anacapa Islands. This is a warmer, tropical current that brings species for Central America in to the Channel – such as the Garibaldi fish, marlin, and other animals more often seen off Central American waters.