Based on the famed French explorer’s film series, Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures, these are the definitive guides to America’s thirteen National Marine Sanctuaries and its one Marine National Monument. Each of the four books conducts a grand adventure through one of the four regions of the National Marine Sanctuary system, combining engaging descriptions, stunning four-color photography, and behind-the-scenes stories from the Ocean Futures Society expedition team. Insightful inquiries into the health of the world’s oceans are provided along with an overview of several incredible underwater treasures. Conveying the beauty of the ocean and the specific measures being put into effect to preserve it, this inspirational collection also features detailed, practical information for planning visits to the sanctuaries.
Maia McGuire, PhD, holds a PhD in Marine Biology and Fisheries. She is the Florida Sea Grant agent for the University of Florida and is the chair of the National Sea Grant Education Network. She has recently been named the Florida Wildlife Federation’s 2015 Conservation Educator of the Year.
Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, PhD, is an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, the leader of the Sustainable Seas Expeditions, and a chair of Google Earth advisory council for the ocean. She is a charter member of the Ocean Futures Society Advisory Board and the former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as a founder of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. She lives in Oakland, California.
Jean-Michel Cousteau, the son of Jacques Cousteau, is the author of America's Underwater Treasures, the Explore the National Marine Sanctuaries series, and My Father, the Captain,and is a founder of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. He is a recipient of the Emmy Award, the Peabody Award, the 7 d’Or, and the Cable Ace Award. He has produced more than eighty films, and is the executive producer of the television show Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.
Foreword by Dr.Sylvia Earle ix
About the Series 1
About National Sanctuaries 3
The National Marine Sanctuaries’ Southeast Region 5
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuaries 7
About the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary 7
Why A National Sanctury? 12
Resources Within the Sanctuary 18
Key Species Within the Sanctuary 29
Emerging Environmental Issues 37
Research Within the Sanctuary 44
Visiting the Sanctuary 46
Dive Sites 60
Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary 71
About Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary 71
Why A National Marine Sanctuary? 74
Resources Within the Sanctuary 75
Key Species Within the Sanctuary 77
Research Within the Sanctuary 88
Visiting the Sanctuary 89
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary 97
About Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary 99
Why A National Marine Sanctuary? 101
Resources Within the Sanctuary 102
Key Species Within the Sanctuary 120
Emerging Environmental Issues 129
Research Within the Monument 131
Visiting the Sanctuary 134
When You Visit the Sanctuaries 141
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary 151
Gary’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary 151
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary 157
About the Series
The four book series, Explore the National Marine Sanctuaries with Jean-Michel Cousteau has been developed in partnership with the National Marine Sanctuary system and Ocean Future Society. Text in italics is excerpted from the previously, limited-edition book America’s Underwater Treasures by Jean-Michel Cousteau and Julie Robinson with photography by Carrie Vonderhatt. That book describes the experience and research of Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Team while diving all 13 underwater marine sanctuaries and the one underwater marine monument. Their experiences is captured in a film by the same name aired on PBS as part of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Adventures. The current series is offered to make information on these vital sanctuaries even more inclusive for the American public.
Each book in the series takes readers to one of the four regions of the country into which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has organized its management of the National Marine Sanctuaries. This book, Explore the Southeast National Marine Sanctuaries with Jean-Michel Cousteau, visits sanctuaries and a national monument off Hawaii and American Samoa. The other books in the series are: Explore the West Coast National Marine Sanctuaries with Jean-Michel Cousteau, Explore the Northeast National Marine Sanctuaries with Jean-Michel Cousteau and Explore the Pacific Islands National Marine Sanctuaries with Jean-Michel Cousteau,.
The first National Marine Sanctuary in the United States was established only decades ago, while Yellowstone, the oldest of the American National Parks ,was created in 1872. By comparison the parks, these natural marine jewels were damaged upon arrival. Only small portions remain pristine. For many, their destinations arose amidst threats to one or a number of aspects to their survival. Like terrestrial parks, these are special habitats, managed zones for the recovery of critical species like humpback whales or juvenile rockfish but, most importantly, they attempt to preserve the integrity of the web of life.
Ironically, we discovered that managing these resources for sustainability was in truth an exercise in managing ourselves. And that’s, as we found a powerful paradigm shift happening in environmentalism. Fishermen, environmentalists and scientists from opposite sides of the aisle were sitting down together with rolled-up sleeves, poring through scientific research, debating the merits of reserves and restoration, and coming to terms with the new definition of sanctuary. “These are,” as Dan Basta, past director of the National Marine Sanctuary System, reminded us, “still works in progress.”
The National Marine Sanctuaries’ Southeast Region
A healthy reef ecosystem is key to a healthy marine environment, and the office of National Marine Sanctuary Southeast region Includes three distinctive yet interconnected reef systems. The Florida Keys are major international tourist attractions known for abundant fishing, numerous coral reefs, and historic underwater archaeological sites. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is tasked with preserving these cultural and natural resources while allowing an increasing population of residents and visitors to access them. Seventeen miles off Georgia in Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary lies one of the largest nearshore sandstone reefs in the southeastern United States. The northern most coral reefs in the continental United States are located in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. The Flower Gardens coral reef and community probably began developing on top of salt domes 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. The community has thrived sufficiently to obscure all trace of the deformed bedrock on which it developed, replacing it with dense coral reefs.