Biology and Ecology of Coral Reefs and Coral Communities in the Flower Garden Banks Region, Northwestern Gulf of Mexico
In the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, 50–100 miles off the coasts of Texas and Lousiana, dozens of underwater features rise from the seafloor near the edge of the continental shelf to form a complex of reefs and banks. While the crests of most of these features lie more than 50 m deep, a small number of them are shallow enough for coral reefs and coral communities to have become established. Two of these features, the East and West Flower Garden Banks, reach within 18 m of the surface and contain well-developed coral reefs (Bright 1977). In addition, a handful of other features in this region, including Stetson, Bright, Geyer, McGrail and Sonnier Banks, contain a mix of coral reefs and coral communities (Rezak et al. 1985). This chapter summarizes information about these high latitude coral ecosystems, and proposes a revision to a habitat classification system to describe the biological communities of this region.
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