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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Sanctuary is Ice Land Inspiration

A broad view of the reef with about half of the coral colonies white from bleaching or paling.
An ice sculpture of R/V MANTA greets visiotrs to Ice Land: A Caribbean Christmas at Moody Gardens.
Image: FGBNMS/Drinnen

For the third year in a row, Galveston Island's Moody Gardens will be showcasing an ice sculpture adventure for the winter holiday season. But, this year is a little different. This year, one of the inspirations for Ice Land: A Caribbean Christmas is Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary!

A skilled team of master ice carvers from China has created an amazing ocean journey using two million pounds of ice. That journey starts with an ice replica of R/V MANTA, the sanctuary's reseach vessel.

Where: Moody Gardens, Galveston, TX
When: November 12, 2016-January 8, 2017

Learn more...

Major Coral Bleaching Event

A broad view of the reef with about half of the coral colonies white from bleaching or paling.
Almost 50% of the reef is bleaching or paling at East Flower Garden Bank.
Image: FGBNMS/Hickerson

On the heels of the mass mortality event in July 2016, the corals of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary are now faced with a separate major bleaching event. Sanctuary researchers report that almost 50% of the coral colonies in a study site at East Flower Garden Bank were bleached or paling (in the process of bleaching) as of October 5, 2016.

Sea surface temperatures have been over 30°C (86°F) for 85 days of the past four months, putting the sanctuary in the midst of one of the worst coral bleaching events on record. While the past week has seen temperatures drop slightly to 29°C (84°F), if these warm water conditions continue, the corals may starve and die.

Learn more...

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

Two-toned blue dashed line

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