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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 505:227-240 (2014)  -  DOI:

Spatiotemporal dynamics of spawning aggregations of common snook on the east coast of Florida

Joy M. Young*, Beau G. Yeiser, James A. Whittington

Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Tequesta Field Laboratory, 19100 Southeast Federal Highway, Tequesta, Florida 33469, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Data collected to determine specific reproductive traits, including spatial and temporal patterns, are an area of need for improved understanding of factors that contribute to productivity in fish populations. We used passive acoustic telemetry to study the movements of 271 common snook Centropomus undecimalis on the east coast of Florida from 2008 to 2011 to assess spatial dynamics during the spawning seasons. Common snook were detected in 6 inlets from Port Canaveral to Palm Beach Inlet during the summer months when water temperature exceeded 23°C, with peak densities between July and August. Individual residency times in an aggregation were over 7.5 times shorter than the spawning season which, together with asynchronous arrival dates and frequent migrations away from the aggregation, indicates high rates of turnover. Nearly half of the tagged common snook were observed at multiple (2 to 5) spawning sites during a single season and showed varying degrees of fidelity to a spawning site. Area of residence, sex and size are influential factors in spawning traits of common snook. Females migrated earlier, made more trips, and spent longer periods in aggregations compared to males. Larger fish showed greater site fidelity to a single aggregation site. Each year a portion of the population was not detected in an inlet, implying that some common snook skip spawning or that spawning may occur outside of inlets. Findings highlight the need for a combined approach to management that includes updating the stock assessment, using more accurate measures of spawning effort and the protection of spawning areas from physical disturbance.

KEY WORDS: Acoustic monitoring · Fish spawning · Fisheries management · Reproductive patterns · Centropomus undecimalis

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Cite this article as: Young JM, Yeiser BG, Whittington JA (2014) Spatiotemporal dynamics of spawning aggregations of common snook on the east coast of Florida. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 505:227-240.

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