Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Dr. David Hicks
Dr. Richard Kline
Dr. Carlos E. Cintra-Buenrostro
On the continental shelf off the coast of South Texas lie a series of hardbottom structures known as the South Texas Banks, which provide critical habitat for benthic organisms and pelagic fish species. The depth of the banks, a persistent nepheloid layer, and strong currents have hindered efforts to collect quantitative data on what inhabits the rocky outcrops and relic coral-algal reefs. Using a remotely operated vehicle, video data from five of the banks were collected in order to characterize the benthic communities. Southern and North Hospital Banks were found to be the most diverse of the studied South Texas Banks. By correlating the benthic community data with terrain patterns from multibeam sonar images, ten habitat suitability models were created that predict the probability of presence of antipatharians, scleractinians, and octocorals. All studied mesophotic corals showed a preference for the shallowest depths and highest crests of the hardbottom banks.
Cooksey, Maria T., "Characterizing benthic invertebrate communities at five South Texas Banks" (2016). Theses and Dissertations - UTRGV. 23.