2010 EAST & WEST BANK MONITORING
August 15-19, 2010
aboard the R/V MANTA
This cruise was cut short due to high currents at West Flower Garden Bank.
R/V Manta crew
Sanctuary research team
Texas A&M Galveston AAUS divers
Data collection, including photo stations, photo transects and fish surveys, was completed at East Flower Garden Bank (EFGB).
Sanctuary superintendent G.P. Schmahl takes photographs along randomly placed transect lines. Photo: Hickerson/FGBNMS
Heavy currents caused us to abort data collection activities at West Flower Garden Bank (WFGB).
At EFGB, we noted a thermocline at mid-water. It was 84F (29C) on top and 80F (27C) on bottom, although this changed through the week. Visibility ranged from 50-70 ft (15-21 m).
Corals looked healthy at EFGB, although some false bleaching was noted.
The only known colony of elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata)
at East Flower Garden Bank appears to be doing well.
A bright orange algae was also very noticeable. We collected a sample and sent it to Dr. Suzanne Fredericq for identification. She identified it as decaying Martensia pavonia. Alive, it is actually a pinkish-red color.
Fluorescent orange algae was sampled and sent off
for identification. Photo: Hickerson/FGBNMS
Several mantas were also sighted by divers while at EFGB.
At WFGB, we saw a loggerhead sea turtle on the surface, and divers encountered a large tiger shark underwater.
Painted elysia nudibranchs (Thuridilla picta) at East Flower
Garden Bank. Photo: Hickerson/FGBNMS
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