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Florida Middle Grounds

Florida Middle Grounds
From: NOAA, 2002

The Florida Middle Grounds is a 1,193 square km area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, 137 km south of Apalachicola and 129 km northwest of Tarpoon Springs. The bank formations consist of two north-to-northwesterly parallel ridges separated by a valley. Winter temperatures reach 16°C limiting many tropical species from occupying these banks. However, there are 23 species of stony corals, 103 species of algae, about 40 sponges, 75 molluscs, 56 decapod crustaceans, 41 polychaetes, 23 echinoderms and 170 species of fish.

Location on Continental Shelf:   Mid-Shelf Bank
Coordinates:   28.50° N   84.50° W
Nearest Largest City:   Clearwater, Florida, USA

Selected Characteristics:
Area of Coverage:   1,193 km2

Community Structure:
Overall, the biotic characteristics of this area are very different from either the Florida Keys or the Flower Garden Banks, located off Texas. The most abundant stony coral species are the elliptical star coral, yellow pencil coral and branching fire coral. Coral cover may be as high as 30% on some reef pinnacles.

Geological Characterization:
The main stratigraphical units are limestone. Carbonate mud, sand and mangrove peat are also present.

NOAA. 2002. The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States. URL:

Additional Information:
National Centers for Coastal Oceanic Science

Keywords:   Carbonate, Coral, Limestone, Algae, Sponge

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