Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary includes three banks, located 70 miles (Stetson Bank) to 115 miles (East and West Flower Garden Banks) off the Texas/Louisianna coast.
Brain coral community at the Flower Gardens. Note how many they "pile up" to form the structure of the reef. Brain corals are one of the dominant genus of corals at the Flower Gardens.
Star coral (Montastrea cavernosa) colony. Star corals are one of the dominant corral genus of corals at the Flower Gardens.
Close up of a star coral colony. Each of the little polyps are an individual animal, living together in a colony. The greenish ring around the mouth is the symbiotic algae living in the coral tissue. The algae provide the majority of the coral's nutrition. The polyp's tentacles are also used to capture tiny planktonic animals to eat.