Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
|Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
|Nearest city||Savannah, GA|
|Area||17 NM2 (58 km2)|
|Governing body||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration|
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary is one of the largest near shore live-bottom reefs in the southeastern United States. The sanctuary, designated in January 1981, is located 17.5 nautical miles (32.4 km) off Sapelo Island, Georgia, and is one of 13 marine sanctuaries that make up the U.S. National Marine Sanctuary System.
Within the 17-square-nautical-mile (58 km2) sanctuary, there are both rocky ledges and sandy flat places. The reef's dolomitic sandstone outcrops, submerged beneath 60 to 70 feet (18 to 21 m) of water, can be as tall as 2 to 3 m and are highly complex. These nooks and crannies provide plenty of places for invertebrates to latch on to and for fish to hide in. Together these animals form a dense carpet of living creatures that in places completely hides the rock. That gives the habitat of Gray's Reef its common name — a "live bottom".
- Noakes, SE; Garrison, EG; McFall, GB (2009). "Underwater Paleontology: Recovery of a Prehistoric Whale Mandible Offshore Georgia". In: Pollock NW, ed. Diving for Science 2009. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 28th Symposium. Dauphin Island, AL. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
- Official NOAA website: Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary