MacNeil Bank

Bathymetric map  of MacNeil Bank showing the sanctuary boundary, as well as other relevant management zones and infrastructure.
MacNeil Bank has a long trough that runs along its west side. Credit: FGBNMS

Depth Range: 210-315 feet (64-96 meters)

Distance from Land: 116 miles (187 km)

Area: 2.7 square miles (7 sq km)

MacNeil Bank, located northeast of East Flower Garden Bank, is bisected by a 754 foot (230 m) long trough. It is structurally connected to East Flower Garden, Rankin and 28 Fathom Banks around the semicircular rim of a depression in the sea floor that is about 2.5 miles (14 km) across.

Bathymetric map of sea floor around East Flower Garden Bank, MacNeil Bank, Rankin Bank, and 28 Fathom Bank showing the connecting ridges between formations
East Flower Garden, MacNeil, Rankin, and 28 Fathom Banks are structurally connected. Credit: FGBNMS

Mesophotic habitat at MacNeil Bank includes black corals, octocorals, sponges and fish. It is also designated as a Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC).

MacNeil Bank was named after F. Stearns MacNeil, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist.

Looking down on a Webbed Burrfish swimming just above the sea floor. It's colors blend with the bottom color.
A webbed burrfish swims among black corals, sponges and octocorals at MacNeil Bank. Photo: FGBNMS/UNCW-UVP
Bright red Creolefish swim past a large rocky formation in a deep reef area
A school of creolefish swim around a rocky feature at MacNeil Bank. Photo: FGBNMS/UNCW-UVP
Two large brownish red sponges attached to the substrate with a small bright orange sponge in the right foreground. A white whip-like coral is visible behind the brownish sponge. A small bushy black coral sits to the right of the orange sponge.
Sponges and black corals create habitat at MacNeil Bank. Photo: FGBNMS/UNCW-UVP

Who Was F. Stearns MacNeil?

F. Stearns MacNeil (1909-1983) was a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He was well-known for his hypothesis that sea level variations were major factors in reef formation. MacNeil also did extensive geologic mapping of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.