Rapid Climate Vulnerability Assessment Report
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries published a Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. The report identifies increasing seawater temperatures, ocean acidification, and increasing storm intensity as significant threats to many species and ecosystems of the sanctuary over the next 50 years.
The report also identifies adaptive management strategies to improve protection of sanctuary resources.
Climate Vulnerability Assessments are designed to identify resources that are most vulnerable to climate change and why. This is critical information that greatly accelerates the process of adaptation planning by helping MPA managers prioritize and effectively target actions that are the most likely to reduce the vulnerability of resources.
View Full Report
Sanctuary Advisory Council Meeting
The Sanctuary Advisory Council meets several times a year to discuss topics relevant to sanctuary management. Past minutes and agendas are available on our Meeting Information page.
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In-person: NOAA Galveston Lab Conference Room
4700 Avenue U, Building 305, Galveston, TX 77551
Computer audio recommended.
Audio Only: Call (914) 614-3221, use Audio Access Code 241-018-756
This meeting is open to the public and will include a public comment period at 12:45 p.m. CT. Those wishing to make public comments can sign up at the meeting location or request to speak via the webinar’s chat/question box. Public comments are limited to 3 minutes per person.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seaside Chats is an annual speaker series about ocean science and conservation, hosted by Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. All presentations are offered via webinar.
February 7, 2024 6:30 p.m. CT
Climate Monitoring in FGBNMS
- Nicole Besemer, Oceanographer, NOAA AOML Coral Program
February 21, 2024 6:30 p.m. CT
Fish, with Chips: Tracking Fish Movement at FGBNMS
- Marissa Nuttall, FGBNMS
February 28, 2024 6:30 p.m. CT
Chasing Microbes: Diving into the Mystery of Coral Disease
- Adrienne Correa, University of California – Berkeley; Laura Mydlarz, University of Texas Arlington; Dan Holstein, Louisiana State University
For more information and recording links, please visit our Seaside Chats page.
New Sanctuary Poster Released
Check out the newest poster in the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries 50th Anniversary Save Spectacular poster series. It's all about us!
While Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is best known for its beautiful coral reefs, they only account for a tiny fraction (2%) of the entire sanctuary. The majority of sanctuary habitats lie deeper beneath the waves in an area known as the mesophotic or "twilight" zone. Scuba and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) technologies allow us to explore and learn about all of these areas.
Our commemorative sanctuary poster reflects this in full color graphic art. You'll find coral reef habitat and sea life featured prominently in the foreground, with deep reef features in shadow below them. Scuba divers descend from the surface while an ROV explores the depths, with its umbilical connected to our fantastic research vessel (R/V) MANTA at the surface. And, of course, a graceful manta ray, swims through the whole scene. We love it, and we know you will too!
Download your copy today: https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/posters/flower-garden-banks/
New Superintendent Selected
We are excited to announce that Dr. Michelle Johnston has been selected as the new superintendent at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS). We could not be happier! Her experience, passion, and excitement for the sanctuary will serve us well.
Michelle has been with NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) since 2010, starting as a Knauss Sea Grant fellow. She has served in a variety of roles, including marine ecologist within the headquarters science division, and both research ecologist and research coordinator at FGBNMS. Michelle also served as acting superintendent at FGBNMS and acting deputy superintendent at National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa.
Please join us in welcoming Michelle to her new role!
Learn more about all of our Sanctuary Staff.
2024 Lionfish Invitational Applications Available
NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is partnering with Lionfish Invitational, Inc., with support from Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas Caribbean Charters, to allow trained divers to help conduct research and remove invasive lionfish within the sanctuary, and in some of its surroundings. Sanctuary collection permits will be issued for three separate expeditions on board the recreational dive charter vessel M/V Fling.
June 23-27, 2024 (FGBNMS & Kraken)
August 11-15, 2024 (Gulf of Mexico Rigs & Platforms
September 8-12, 2024
(FGBNMS & Kraken)
Applications are now available for all 2024 Lionfish Invitational trips.
Deadline for applications is March 1, 2024.
Sofar Buoy Provides Real-time Conditions
In June 2023, the sanctuary research team installed a new real-time Sofar data buoy (yellow object in photo) at East Flower Garden Bank. This new buoy provides wave height and wind speed, as well as temperatures from the surface and at reef cap depth. This will be a great tool for both staff and visitors to assess current offshore conditions.
Support for this effort was provided by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and Dr. Xinping Hu from Texas A&M Version-Corpus Christi.
Divers! Please Help Prevent the Spread of Coral Disease to FGBNMS
Florida’s coral reefs are currently experiencing a multi-year outbreak of a stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) that has now spread over 200 miles across the Florida reef tract, and several Caribbean locations.
The disease appears to be caused by bacteria, and may be transmitted to other corals through direct contact and water circulation, meaning that divers and their gear may potentially spread this disease between sites.
As a result, we are asking divers to make sure they properly disinfect their dive gear before visiting Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, in the hopes of preventing this deadly disease from reaching our otherwise healthy reefs.
More information and disinfection protocols
A Manta For Maite
In May 2022, a senseless tragedy occurred in Uvalde, Texas that claimed the lives of 19 students and 2 teachers. One of those students was an aspiring marine biologist.
Since kindergarten, Maite Yuleana Rodriguez wanted to become a marine biologist, never wavering from her path. At age 10, she dreamed of one day attending Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to be near the ocean where she could "study animals on land and water."
In an effort to keep her story and her memory alive, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary has decided to name one of the sanctuary's manta rays in her memory.
What is a Bank?
When most of us hear the word ‘bank’ we think of financial institutions and money, but banks in the ocean have a different value.
Discover what makes a bank so special, and how banks feature prominently in three different national marine sanctuaries.
Uncover the ocean treasures of Flower Garden Banks, Cordell Bank, and Stellwagen Bank national marine sanctuaries in our new story map...
Fantastic Ocean Places You Can Bank On!
Virtual Dive Gallery
Can’t get to your national marine sanctuaries? Thanks to the wonders of 360-degree photography, videography, and virtual reality, these underwater treasures are now just a few mouse clicks away.
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) has launched a virtual dive gallery, complete with immersive 360-degree images of eight national marine sanctuaries including the Flower Garden Banks.
In celebration of World Ocean Day 2020, ONMS has now launched virtual reality voyages using 360-degree videos! Whether you live on a coast or in a community far from the shore, we invite you to experience the power and beauty of America’s underwater treasures.
Along with these videos, lesson plans have been developed for educators to further engage middle school students with the virtual dive experience. These lessons take you deeper into each video and align with leading science standards and ocean literacy principles.
Would you like to receive regular updates about sanctuary news and events? Want to learn more about diving and fishing issues in the Gulf of Mexico? Or perhaps you'd like to know more about volunteer opportunities or education resources?
We have 5 different email lists designed to keep people informed on these sanctuary-related topics. All you have to do is sign up!
Learn more and/or subscribe...
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary was expanded from 56 square miles to 160 square miles to protect additional critical habitat in the Gulf of Mexico on January 19, 2021. This means that the sanctuary is now made up of 17 different reefs and banks within 19 separate boundaries. You can explore the entire sanctuary and it's surroundings within the story map below.
Learn more about the sanctuary expansion