Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Marine life off the coast of Texas

What began as an in-house project to identify organisms caught in routine sampling by Texas Parks & Wildlife Coastal Fisheries field staff has become an extensive database of photographs, descriptions, definitions and taxonomic information for a widely diverse collection of organisms found off the Texas coast.  Freely available on the internet, the Identification Guide to Marine Organisms of Texas is useful for anyone interested in animals and vegetation of the Gulf Coast.  Visual glossary photos depict the anatomy of common species, and the "fish feature query" is a fun way to discover fish species based on selected characteristics.  The site is an excellent way to help the public appreciate species diversity in the region, while serving the educational and research mission of a state-supported agency.  Thanks to the TPWD and webmaster Brenda Bowling for making it publicly available.

Texas Coral Reefs, by Jesse Cancelmo (Texas A&M University Press, c2008), an ebook accessible through OBIS, is a good place to start for a broader look at the ecology of the Texas coast.  This image is a small portion of a photograph of Geyer Bank, appearing on page 109 of the book.

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