Stetson Bank Long-Term Monitoring: 2015 Annual Report
Stetson Bank, one of three uplifted salt dome formations in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, has seen significant changes in benthic community over the past 20 years. Extensive oil and gas development throughout the region and concern for natural resources spurred Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in 2015 to fund and expand the annual monitoring at Stetson Bank. This report presents the methods and findings from 2015. To-date, this monitoring program represents one of the longest continual coral community monitoring efforts, with 23 years of data. As anthropogenic stressors to marine environments are projected to continue, long-term monitoring data are essential to understanding community stability and ecosystem resilience, providing valuable insight for both research and management purposes.
Long-Term Monitoring, Benthic Community, Fish Community, Water Quality, Mesophotic Coral Ecosystem, Stetson Bank, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.