ESR 22:145-157 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00534

Spawning aggregation dynamics of brown-marbled grouper and camouflage grouper at a remote Indian Ocean atoll

Jude Bijoux1,7,8,*, Laurent Dagorn1, Paul D. Cowley2, Monique Simier3, Pierre-André Adam4, Jan Robinson5,6

1Institut de Recherche pour Développement (IRD), UMR 212 - EME (Exploited Marine Ecosystems), PO Box 570, Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles
2South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
3Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UMR 212 - EME (Exploited Marine Ecosystems), Centre de Recherche Halieutique Méditerranéenne et Tropicale, Avenue J. Monnet, BP 171, 34203 Sète Cedex, France
4Island Conservation Society, Pointe Larue, Mahé, Seychelles
5Seychelles Fishing Authority, PO Box 449, Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles
6ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia
7Present address: Seychelles Fishing Authority, PO Box 449, Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles
8Present address: South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa

ABSTRACT: The protection of grouper spawning aggregations is a global conservation issue: populations of many grouper species are threatened with collapse due to exploitation of this critical life history behaviour by fisheries. Effective protection of spawning aggregations requires information on spawning site fidelity, residence time and timing of arrivals at, and departures from, the site. To estimate these parameters at a spawning aggregation site at Farquhar Atoll, southern Seychelles, 12 brown-marbled groupers Epinephelus fuscoguttatus and 20 camouflage groupers E. polyphekadion were tagged with acoustic transmitters, and their presence and absence was monitored by an array of acoustic receivers positioned at the site over 2 spawning seasons (2010/2011 and 2011/2012). Spawning aggregations formed during 3 consecutive spawning months each season and overlapped spatially and temporally in the 2 species. Intra- and inter-season site fidelity was high, with 91.7% of tagged E. fuscoguttatus and 89.5% of tagged E. polyphekadion detected at the site 1 yr after tagging. The majority (2010/2011: 82.4%, 2011/2012: 80.0%) of fish detected in a spawning season visited the site during at least 2 spawning months. Residence time at the fish spawning aggregation site was influenced by sex (E. fuscoguttatus only) and spawning month (both species). Distinct periodicity in lunar timing of arrivals and departures was observed in both species. This study highlights the spatio-temporal scales involved during spawning aggregations of 2 long-lived, slow-growing coral reef fishes, which need to be considered for their effective management.


KEY WORDS: Spawning aggregation dynamics · Lunar and diel periodicity · Residence time · Site fidelity · Groupers · Epinephelus · Seychelles


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Cite this article as: Bijoux J, Dagorn L, Cowley PD, Simier M, Adam PA, Robinson J (2013) Spawning aggregation dynamics of brown-marbled grouper and camouflage grouper at a remote Indian Ocean atoll. Endang Species Res 22:145-157. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00534

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