Chapter 22: Environments and Facies of Existing Bays on the Central Texas Coast 1
The estuaries and neritic waters along the central Texas coast are characterized by broad ranges of environmental factors, providing conditions favorable to temperate organisms in winter and tropical organisms in summer. Dredging in the coastal waters revealed a number of distinct faunal facies, the distribution of which appears to be controlled primarily by salinity. Characteristic assemblages are found in the following areas: closed bays, polyhaline bays, a highly saline lagoon, passes, beaches on the open Gulf, and shallow waters of the open gulf. In the closed bays three subfacies are recognized—one in the bay heads, one on the reefs, and one in the inter-reef areas; in the open gulf the assemblages living close to shore are differentiated from those found 2–4 miles off shore. In most stations each facies is characterized by an abundance of certain living forms. Dead shells and other skeletal parts are much more widely distributed, but many such strays may be recognized as transported elements by their rarity or by their eroded surfaces. Each group of organisms has one or more centers of maximum development in numbers of species. The Foraminifera, for example, attain their greatest development in the polyhaline bays and near the heads of passes, the ostracodes near the bay heads, mollusks in the polyhaline bays and in the Gulf, and diatoms under normal marine conditions in the Gulf. The reef assemblage of the closed bays is poor in numbers of species, but the individuals are so numerous that they form extensive deposits.