Ecosystem Reference
Ecosystem Gulf of Mexico
Type Sea/Bay/Gulf
Salinity saltwater
Other Names
LME SAU No 5. Western Central Atlantic, between Mexico and Florida; comprises part of what is known as the American Mediterranean region (Ref. 27768). LME2002, LME2006, SAU 2008. 30° N 18° N - 98° W 81° W
Location Map Gulf_of_Mexico.png
Size Ref
River Length Area 1533006 km2 Drainage Area
Average Depth Max Depth 4023 m Ref 27768
Surface 26.0 °C Map61.gif
100 Meters Depth 21.0 °C Map62.gif
Description The Gulf of Mexico lies south and west of the continental US (between latitudes 31° and 18° S, and longitude 80° and 98° W), east and north of Mexico, and northwest of Cuba. It is bounded by five US states, six Mexican states, and Cuba. Water enters the Gulf through the Yucatan Channel of Mexico, and exits through the Straits of Florida. An additional major water source is from fresh water: 2/3 of the US, and ½ of Mexico drains into the Gulf. Coral reefs are found in a discontinuous arc around the Gulf with greatest development along the Florida keys and Cuba (Richards and McGowan, 1989). The Gulf of Mexico is a deep marginal sea, and the 9th largest body of water in the world. A prominent feature in the Gulf of Mexico is the Loop Current, which enters through the Yucatan Channel, and exits through the Straits of Florida to become the Florida Current, and later the Gulf Stream. Large unstable rings of water are shed off of the Loop Current, bringing massive amounts of heat, salt and water across the Gulf. Thus, the Loop Current plays an important role in shelf nutrient balance, at least in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. About 1/3 of the area of the Gulf of Mexico is continental shelf. The broad, shallow shelves are strongly wind-driven out to depths of approximately 50-60 meters, and is extremely topographically diverse with smooth slopes, escarpments, knolls, basins and submarine canyons. (
Comments on faunal list Area from SAU (November 2015).
Ecosystem Checklist Link
SeaLifeBase Literature
Species Families Species Families Reference
919 228 37039
Palomares, Maria Lourdes D. on 02.18.94
Modified by on 05.06.21
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