The seagrasses of the Gulf of Mexico

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Abstract

The Gulf of Mexico is a vast basin of water, spanning 12° of latitude, from 18° to 30°N. and 17° of longitude, from 81° to 98°W. It is bisected by the Tropic of Cancer and is largely subtropical; however, along the northern edge, up to five days with freezing temperatures are probable on an annual basis. The coastal fringe is moist, with annual precipitation in excess of 1 000 mm, except for southern Texas and northern Mexico. Precipitation is concentrated in the summer period, most pronounced along the coast of Mexico and least pronounced along the coast of Louisiana. Most of the Gulf of Mexico is fringed by a broad coastal plain, except for northwestern Cuba and sections of the Mexican coast near Veracruz. The inner continental shelf to a depth of 20 m is broad off the western side of the Yucatan Peninsula, along the coast of Louisiana and along the western side of Florida, extending as much as 80 km offshore to the tip of Florida. Elsewhere, the inner shelf is relatively narrow. Most of the rivers draining into the Gulf of Mexico have restricted catchments, except along the north shore, most obviously the Mississippi River, and parts of the western gulf, including the Rios Bravo IGrandel, Panuco, Grijalva and Usumacinta. Barrier islands and spits are prominent features along much of the coast, and coral reefs shelter the large expanse of water off the southern tip of Florida and off the coasts of Veracruz, Campeche, Yucatan and northwestern Cuba. Lunar spring tides are less than 1 m throughout
the region.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Title The seagrasses of the Gulf of Mexico
Chapter 22
ISBN 0520240472
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher UNEP World conservation Monitoring Center
Contributing office(s) National Wetlands Research Center, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title World Atlas of Seagrasses
First page 224
Last page 233
Country Mexico, United States