Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas

Corals and Hard Bottom

Known Chemosynthetic Communities

Chemosynthetic sites are points showing the approximate location of chemosynthetic communities in the Gulf of Mexico. This data does not identify all the chemosynthetic communities in the Gulf of Mexico. It identifies communities that have been verified to exist. The data represents a point in the gulf whereas a chemosynthetic community inherently will actually dwell in an area.

Additional image formats and visualization tools:

Chemosynthetic Communities Atlas Dataset

Deep-Sea Corals

Structure-forming corals have an upright orientation and a rigid, complex branching structure of calcium carbonate or horn-like protein. The group includes black corals (Antipatharia), stony corals (Scleractinia), sea fans (Gorgonacea, aka gorgonians), and lace corals (Stylasterina), among others.

Additional image formats and visualization tools:

Deep-Sea Corals Atlas Dataset

Deep-Sea Corals Habitat Suitability

Framework-forming deep-sea corals are an important living marine resource, providing three-dimensional habitat structure for fishes and invertebrates and forming oases of biodiversity. Unfortunately, their slow growth rates and vulnerability to distance pose challenges to their survival; and due to the logistical difficulty and expense of deep-sea exploration, much less is known about their distribution than that of their shallow-water counterparts. Predictive modeling of deep-sea coral habitat can provide this critical information which supports conservation efforts, management of offshore activities affecting the seafloor and guides future exploration. Habitat modeling also lends insights into the environmental factors driving the distribution of these corals, increasing our understanding of how these unique ecosystems function.

Additional image formats and visualization tools:

Deep-Sea Corals Habitat Suitability Atlas Dataset

Petroleum Hydrocarbon Seeps

Location of water-bottom (seafloor) seismic positive amplitude anomalies in the deep northern Gulf of Mexico. Positive anomalies are reflections from calcium carbonate substrate produced by chemosynthetic bacteria.

Additional image formats and visualization tools:

Petroleum Hydrocarbon Seeps Atlas Dataset