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Charleston Bump


The Charleston Bump is a rocky outcropping that rises up to 375m from the surface. The Charleston Bump lies directly in the path of the Gulf Stream and is large and high enough to deflect the powerful Gulf stream. This deflection causes eddies, gyres, and upwelling of deep, nutrient rich water. This process concentrates plankton, fish and other organisms in the area, making Charleston Bump an area of extremely high productivity. Charleston Bump also creates thermal fronts where the cooler shelf water meets the warmer Gulf Stream and this, combined with the rocky bottom habitat, attracts large pelagic fish species such as swordfish, sailfish and marlins, making the bump and important fishing ground. Charleston Bump is home to a large population of wreckfish and is their only known spawning ground in the western North Atlantic. The strong currents and hard bottom is ideal habitat for the deep-sea reef-building coral Lophelia, which thrive in this area along with other deep sea corals, sponges, hydroids and bryzoans. The Lophelia reefs found in the Atlantic harbor diversity that rivals that of tropical coral reefs.



Ecological Uniqueness
Exploration and Research
Oceanographic and Bethymetric Features


A Profile of the Charleston Bump
Investigating the Charleston Bump
Making Waves in the Gulf Stream
Charleston Bump Marine Protected Area

The Charleston Bump. Notice the light blue eddies the bump causes as the Gulf Stream passes over it. Image: NASA

Lophelia reef. Photo: USGS


Sailfish larvae. Photo: NOAA