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Platforms in the Gulf of Mexico are a favorite dive site for adventurous SCUBA divers. This production platform (HI389A), located just one mile east of the East Flower Garden Bank, is home to a diverse and rich biological community - more so than others in the Gulf, due to the close proximity of the Flower Gardens. In the winter months, hundreds of juvenile silky sharks can be observed circumnavigating the platform. It is suspected that platforms in the Gulf of Mexico are responsible for several new species found at the Flower Gardens - e.g. the yellowtail snapper, and sergeant major. During the juvenile stages of these species, they require a habitat close to the surface. As they mature, they drop down to deeper habitats such as the Flower Gardens. With the introduction of many thousands of oil and gas platforms, comes the required habitat for fish such as the yellowtail and sergeant major. (photo: Frank and Joyce Burek)

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