school of fish behind title Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
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Close up view of Christmas tree worms protruding from a coral head

Welcome to a very special place...

Picture yourself over 100 miles from land, in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. At times, the seas can be very unforgiving, and the weather can turn foul in an instant. But here, in the midst of this unpredictable Gulf, lie three of the most beautiful and wild places in all the world. Manta rays, whale sharks, coral heads bigger than cars, hundreds of species of fish and invertebrates... This place teems with life!

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2014 Long-Term Monitoring Report

Diver taking photos along a transect on the reef using a camera mounted on a t-frame

This report summarizes fish and benthic community observations from East and West Flower Garden Banks in 2014, as part of the annual long-term monitoring program jointly funded by FGBNMS and BOEM.

In more than 26 years of continuous monitoring, the coral reefs of the Flower Garden Banks have averaged high levels of coral cover, suffered minimally from hurricanes, coral bleaching, and disease outbreaks, and supported relatively diverse and abundant fish populations, as well as other vertebrate and invertebrate species.

Based on 2014 data, the average coral cover at the Flower Garden Banks was 60%. However, despite continued stability in the amount of coral cover, macroalgae cover has been increasing since 1999.

2014 LTM Annual Report (4MB pdf)

2014 LTM Summary (274kb pdf)

More information about Long-Term Monitoring efforts

Mass Coral Spawning

Star coral spawning at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

Every year, 7-10 days after the full moon in August, the reef-building corals of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary put on a fantastic spawning display, one of the most abundant displays in the entire Caribbean. It's like an underwater snowstorm!

This year, the spawning prediction is for August 6-9. Since it's early in August, there may also be a second spawning around September 4-7.

More spawning information...

Underwater Snowstorm video (English)

Nieves Submarinas video (Spanish)

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
4700 Avenue U, Building 216
Galveston, TX 77551
p) 409-621-5151
f) 409-621-1316

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French angelfish in foreground; large boulder corals in background.  French angelfish is dinner plate size oval shaped, blue body with body scales bright yellow on their edges.
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves