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There was very little benthic cover on the 60’ peak, but was quite lush benthic cover at the 80’ peak – dominated by sponges.

August 8-12, 2010
aboard the R/V MANTA

Although the Stetson Bank Long-Term Monitoring program has only been in place 15 years, some years have required more than one expedition. This year we conducted the 21st Stetson Bank data collection effort. 


Three men standng together in front of an orange sunset over the water.
The crew: Mike Shetler, Darrell Walker, Eric Larson
Photo: Embesi/FGBNMS

R/V Manta crew
Sanctuary research team
Texas A&M Galveston AAUS divers
Moody Gardens AAUS diver

Long-term Photo Stations

This year, 38 photo stations were located and photographed. Seven new stations were also established.


There was a green layer of water for the top 20 ft (6 m), similar to what was encountered a week earlier during the previous cruise. Salinity at the surface was slightly higher this time (31 ppt salinity at the surface).

Seas were calm and warm at 84F (29C), with horizontal visibility up to 100 ft (30 m).

A shrimp trawler, Miss Winnie, tied up to a buoy as we arrived.


Atlantic spotted dolphins were foraging around the vessel. Divers also heard dolphins underwater later during the trip. 

View of a large sea turtle from behind.  All four flippers are visible, but the head is not.
A female loggerhead sea turtle with distinctive barnacles
on her carapace (shell).
Photo: Hickerson/FGBNMS

Large schools of spadefish, vermillion snapper, cottonwick, rainbow runners, Spanish mackerel and yellowtail snapper were noted.

A scorpionfish was photographed with a rockhind sticking out of its mouth.

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Marine Debris

A piece of shrimping net draped across the reef.
This piece of shrimping net was removed from the reef crest Photo: Hickerson/FGBNMS

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There was very little benthic cover on the 60’ peak, but was quite lush benthic cover at the 80’ peak – dominated by sponges.

weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Orange, branching gorgonian (soft coral) anchored in a bed of sponges and other sea life.
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves