12:45 Causey B

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Flower Garden Banks – A Refuge in the Gulf of Mexico?
Emma L. Hickerson, George P. Schmahl, Michelle A. Johnston,
Marissa F. Nuttall, John A. Embesi, and Ryan J. Eckert
Presented by Dr. Billy Causey
• FGBNMS located 204 km south of the TX/LA border
•Near physiological edge of conditions required by hermatypic
corals
• Dominated by large boulder and star coral colonies
• 50% to 80% coral cover on shallow and mesophotic coral reefs
• 20 year + long term-monitoring program reflects continued
flourishing reef system, however warns of possible anthropogenic
and natural stressors threatening the high level of health
USA
CUBA
MEXICO
PHOTO CREDIT: FGBNMS/G.P. SCHMA
• Annual data collection at all banks.
Monitoring co-funded by NOAA/FGBNMS
and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
•100m x 100m study sites on EFGB and
WFGB coral caps, plus deep reef stations
(33-40m)
• Photostations along pinnacles at Stetson
Bank
• Repetitive and random photographs taken
to assess change over time for individual
colonies, percent cover, species
composition, and dominance. Fish surveys
conducted to assess abundance, diversity,
and biomass.
65.95
54.49
53.34
31.85
53.84
32.93
30.03
22.03
14.93
13.32
11.15
0.13
0.25
2009 EFGB
2010 EFGB
10.2
0.10
2009 WFGB
0.25
2010 WFGB
•Spiny lobster and sea urchin
counts conducted. Cores collected
for sclerochronology bi-annually.
Water quality parameters
measured on seafloor and profiles
taken opportunistically.
• Stable reef conditions since the
late 1970’s at East and West FGB
Stetson Bank
Long-term monitoring
results
Coral Cover
Benthic community cover
Acknowledgement:
• Long-term monitoring co-funding provided by Bureau of Ocean Energy
Management
• Bathymetry – Dr. James Gardner, USGS/UNH, NOAA, MMS
PHOTO CREDIT: FGBNMS/G.P. SCHMAHL
http://flowergarden.noaa.gov
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