Sound production of red grouper Epinephelus morio on the West Florida Shelf

Sound production in red grouper Epinephelus morio is useful for monitoring their distribution and behavior. Photo: National Undersea Research Center, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Red grouper Epinephelus morio help maintain biodiversity and ecosystem function in the Gulf of Mexico, and they support a valuable commercial fishery in the USA. Understanding their distribution, spawning behavior and habitat use is essential for sustainability of the fishery, and for protection of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Using in situ passive acoustic and digital video recordings, Nelson and co-workers studied red grouper acoustic behavior and found that sound production is likely related to reproductive activity. These results suggest that passive acoustics could be an effective tool in monitoring red grouper reproduction, and defining critical habitat, of a keystone species.


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