The Reefs of the Turks and Caicos Islands

  • Alan LoganEmail author
  • Kathleen Sullivan Sealey
Part of the Coral Reefs of the World book series (CORW, volume 4)


The Turks and Caicos Islands lie at the southern end of the Bahamas archipelago and comprise six major islands around the northern edge of Caicos Bank and two west of the smaller Turks Bank. The margins of these banks are defined by sharp drop-offs into deep water on all sides and are fringed by coral reefs, mainly on their windward (eastern) sides. There are six ecotypes comprising true (accreting) coral reefs: bank patch reefs, near-shore patch reefs, channel reefs, near-shore fringing reefs, platform margin bank-barrier reefs, and platform margin deep reefs. Hard-bottom non-reefal habitats that contain corals but are not true accreting coral reefs are also present. Near-shore fringing and bank-barrier reefs have their crests close to sea-level, with Acropora and Millepora as the main reef builders, and have lagoonal environments in their lee, while deeper reefs are dominated by the corals Diploria, Montastrea, Porites and Agaricia. The narrow platform margin is characterized by two terraces, the shallow terrace sloping gradually from either the shoreline or fringing reef to about 8–10 m depth, where there is an appreciable increase in slope to about 15 m depth, coinciding with the seaward edge of spur-and-groove structure, where developed. The deep terrace has a depth of 15–20 m and consists of a narrow sand plain with isolated patch reefs and/or low-relief spur-and-groove reefs, beyond which there is a steep drop-off into deep water.


Coral Reef Patch Reef Reef Crest Fringe Reef Barrier Reef 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors appreciate the assistance of Dr. Hal Wanless, Mark Chiappone and Cindy Lott for reef description information and underwater pictures. Our thanks for years of work and policy development for the protection of reefs go to Ms Judith Garland Campbell, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resources Fisheries and the Environment, TCI.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Coastal StudiesUniversity of New BrunswickSaint JohnCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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