Elvers Bank

Color bathymetric map of Elvers Bank
Elvers Bank sits at the edge of the continental shelf. Credit: FGBNMS

Depth Range: 217-682 feet (66-208 meters)

Distance from Land: 121 miles (195 km)

Area: 4.6 square miles (11.9 sq km)

Elvers Bank sits at the very edge of the continental shelf and harbors a variety of habitats. It was named after Douglas J. Elvers, a Minerals Management Service (now BOEM) geophysicist.

This site includes mesophotic habitat dominated by black corals, octocorals, fish, sponges, algae, and invertebrates.

A flat, oval creature with ruffled edges sitting on the mud bottom. Body color is white with brown blotches.
A large (~6 in or 15 cm) unidentified nudibranch was encountered during explorations at Elvers Bank. Photo: FGBNMS/UNCW-UVP

It also includes an algal nodule field dominated by a small orange/red sponge, which provides habitat for at least one dwarf frogfish – a species rarely seen in this part of the Gulf of Mexico.

An algal nodule field with large brown leafy algae and a bright orange sponge
Bright orange/red sponges tend to dominate the algal nodule habitats at Elvers Bank. Photo: FGBNMS/UNCW-UVP

Interesting fields of sea pens and yellow stalked crinoids have been documented here, as well as outcroppings covered in glass sponges, which are rare throughout the region.

Delicate looking white, vase-shaped sponges attached to hard substrate
Glass sponges are plentiful at Elvers Bank, although rare in other parts of the region. Photo: FGBNMS/UNCW-UVP