Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem: A Coastal and Marine Atlas

Ocean Conservancy atlas helps decision-makers chart recovery in the Gulf.

Download entire atlas as a .PDF file | Download maps only

A vast and bountiful place, the Gulf of Mexico is one of the nation’s most diverse ecosystems. Ocean Conservancy has developed a region-wide coastal and marine atlas to aid decision-makers as they plan current and future restoration and management strategies in the region.

The Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem: A Coastal and Marine Atlas includes maps and companion descriptions of 54 physical and geographic features, animals, habitats, environmental stressors and human uses in the Gulf of Mexico.

By accessing the best data available, scientists at Ocean Conservancy have created a suite of easily readable maps to show how the Gulf’s coastal and marine ecosystems are connected and interdependent.

The atlas was developed to:

  • Provide a big-picture view of the Gulf of Mexico and its resources
  • Support a multi-layered understanding of how the Gulf ecosystem functions
  • Highlight overlapping distributions and ecological linkages
  • Serve as a tool for identifying knowledge gaps

Restoring the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem requires a holistic approach that addresses not only the effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster but also the reversal of long-term environmental degradation. The goal of the atlas is to serve as a reference tool and help decision-makers determine how best to allocate funding toward restoration efforts.

Using the Atlas

Species recovery—Use the maps to identify and target areas of overlapping species ranges to implement restoration measures that benefit multiple species.

Hazardous material spill planning and response—Use the distributions of species and habitats to identify resources at greatest risk from oil spills.

Ocean resource management—Use the distribution map of rare, slow-growing deep-water corals to inform the siting of oil and gas platforms and pipelines.

Learn how you can help Ocean Conservancy restore a healthy and prosperous Gulf of Mexico for the wildlife and the people who depend on this important resource.

Restore The Gulf of Mexico

Learn how you can help us restore the Gulf of Mexico and other special places across our ocean.


Protecting Dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico

Ocean Conservancy atlas illustrates key habitat areas for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf.

Our Work

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