Gems of the Gulf

 
A black sponge laying amongst coral in the McGrail Bank region  of the Gulf of Mexico.
A black sponge laying amongst coral in the McGrail Bank region of the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: NURC/UNCW and NOAA/FGBNMS.

This articles is excerpted from Gulf Currents, GRN's quarterly newsletter. To read the rest of the Summer 2014 edition of Gulf Currents, click here.


Beneath the Gulf’s sparkling waters, there lays a largely unseen world made up of hundreds of spectacular, unique ecosystems that are hotbeds of biodiversity. Recently a report by the Marine Conservation Institute, entitled “Gulf Gems: Treasured Places in Troubled Waters,” highlighted ten of the most spectacular of these ecological gems. The featured ecosystems include: 

  • Pulley Ridge, the deepest known photosynthetic coral reef off the continental U.S.—found 200 feet below the ocean surface — which is vibrantly colored and inhabited by more than 60 species of fish; 
  • Madison Swanson, Steamboat Lumps and The Edges off the Gulf coast of Florida, consisting of limestone cliffs and rocky outcrops that support arrow and hermit crabs, basket stars, sea fans and Oculina coral;
  • Viosca Knolls, a conglomeration of deep sea coral communities due south of Mobile and 1,640 feet beneath the ocean’s surface that support a range of diversity generally only seen in shallow water coral reef ecosystems; and 
  • South Texas Banks (Southern Bank, Hospital Bank and Mysterious Bank to name a few of the 40 banks discovered so far), “drowned” coral reefs that thrived when sea levels where much lower, but continue to house a wide array of marine life.

Sadly, each of these gems is at risk. However, as discussed in “Gulf Gems,” there are ways to protect them if we act soon. Read the full report here

Cyn Sarthou is GRN's Executive Director.

 

Recent Posts

This Thursday August 16th, the last two meetings for public comment on the Draft Environmental...
Written by Andrew Whitehurst
Tuesday, 14 August 2018
It is no secret that some of Louisiana’s leading industries are in oil, natural gas,...
Written by Tia Alexander
Monday, 06 August 2018
I should start this story with a hook. Something spectacular. I could take a step...
Written by Samm Newton
Friday, 03 August 2018
There is major opportunity coming up for you to weigh-in on the destructive “One Lake”...
Written by Andrew Whitehurst
Tuesday, 31 July 2018
I have seen both ends of the Pearl River and there is something about it...
Written by Andrew Whitehurst
Monday, 30 July 2018
For the “Too Long; Didn’t Read” folks (you're missing out, but still check out the...
Written by Tanvi Shah
Wednesday, 18 July 2018
This month, I had the pleasure of touring the surge barrier with the Deep South...
Written by Scott Eustis
Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Latest Actions

Fix the algae crisis and protect marine life
14 Aug 2018 | 3:50pm

SHARE THIS PAGE