Located 110 miles off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary hosts the northernmost coral reefs in the United States. Rising to within 66 feet of the surface, the Banks are an attractive home for shallow water Caribbean reef fishes and invertebrates. Today it has become a premier diving destination and attracts scientists from around the world.
The sanctuary is divided into three separate parts. The East and West Banks cover an area 41.7 square nautical miles in size, containing 350 acres of reef crest. A small third bank, Stetson Bank, measures about 800m long and 300m wide and is located about 70 nautical miles south of Galveston, Texas. Stetson Bank does not have reef forming corals like those found at the East and West Flower Garden Banks. Instead, Stetson Bank is capped by uplifted layers of claystone and sandstone which have eroded at unequal rates to create a strange "moonscape" appearance, and is home to many species of invertebrates and fish.
The photo gallery contains images which portray only a small portion of the living and physical resources of the sanctuary. In addition, it portrays some of the major uses of the sanctuary, and images of the 1999 sustainable seas expedition. For a more detailed description of the marvels of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary visit the Flower Garden Banks description on the Marine Sanctuaries section of this site.
Thanks to the photographers:
We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of all the photographers, amateur and professional, who have allowed their pictures to be made accessible to the general public in this gallery. They have spent a great deal of time and effort obtaining just the right shot of the subject portrayed. Over 90% of the photography within the Flower Garden Banks photo gallery was donated by Frank and Joyce Burek. We thank them for their beautiful contribution.
The Living Sanctuary presents 30 photos depicting different species of fish, sponges, corals, crustaceans and other animals. Among these images are angelfish, manta rays, whale sharks, beautiful corals and sponges, starfish, shrimp, and eel to name just a few.
Habitats presents 18 photos depicting the various marine habitats making up the sanctuary, both natural and man-made. Included in this section you will find representations of the habitats of the main Flower Garden Banks and the Stetson Bank. You will also see that oil rigs can actually be a productive habitat for many creatures which would otherwise not be in the area.
People and the Sanctuary presents 27 images depicting the many ways that human beings use the sanctuary and its adjacent areas. You will see people protecting, researching, monitoring, teaching, and learning the important lessons that the sanctuary has to offer.
The Sustainable Seas Expeditions includes 26 images of launch preparations for the DeepWorker submersible and species and habitat of the Flower Garden Banks observed on dives during the expedition during September 1999. Also included is a short movie of a waterspout in the Gulf of Mexico, filmed during the expedition
The Kids Gallery for the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary presents 4 images created by students in the Houston area. In this case we present artwork created by High School students. The images were so beautiful, we couldn't leave them out.