Alternate Title

What is Known About Species Richness and Distribution on the Outer-Shelf South Texas Banks?

Document Type



The outer-shelf South Texas Banks, also known as the snapper banks, are known by fishermen to be excellent fishing grounds. However, few scientific studies have been conducted to describe the ecology of these uncommon but distinctive habitats. This paper describes results of a literature review and an assessment to determine what is known about the biota of the South Texas Banks and to assist in developing renewed interest and focus on these topographic highs. The outer-shelf South Texas Banks include relict coralgal reefs and relict barrier islands, and we also include data for a nearshore site, which is geographically and geologically separated from the offshore banks. Obtainable scientific literature was reviewed, and biodiversity data were compiled. Results indicate that one of the most studied sites, Southern Bank, could be used as a surrogate to describe potential biodiversity at other, less studied South Texas Banks. Conclusions support the need for more biological studies at all of the South Texas Banks. Results of future studies, when combined with existing results, could be used to identify sites as potential candidates for place-based protection.

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