MEPS 526:125-141 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11212

Assessing reproductive resilience: an example with South Atlantic red snapper Lutjanus campechanus 

Susan Lowerre-Barbieri1,*, Laura Crabtree1, Theodore Switzer1, Sarah Walters Burnsed1, Cameron Guenther1,2 

1Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 100 Eighth Avenue S.E., St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5020, USA
2Present address: 3818 Turkey Oak Drive, Valrico, Florida 33596, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We developed a conceptual model of reproductive resilience based on spatio-temporal diversity in spawning activity and the ‘big old fat fecund female fish’ effect, i.e., trends in reproductive traits with size and age. We chose red snapper Lutjanus campechanus as our case study, as this species is highly fecund, currently overfished, and long-lived (50+ yr). The intrinsic reproductive resilience of red snapper was assessed in terms of spawning site distribution, variability in time of spawning, and potential reproductive lifespan. To assess how age truncation might erode reproductive resilience, we evaluated the strength of the relationship between size and age and the following traits: spawning habitat, reproductive timing, batch fecundity, and egg quality. Few fish were older than 7 yr. Although younger fish occurred in a more restricted range of depths, there was no trend between size or age and depth. Spawning activity was well distributed over space and time, with actively spawning females collected at 92 of 195 sampling sites over an extended spawning season. Larger, older females exhibited longer spawning periods and higher batch fecundities, but neither greater spawning frequency nor egg dry weight. The ratio of the effective to predicted reproductive lifespan at maximum sustainable yield was 31%. Many parameters estimated in this study are common to fish reproductive studies, but we hope that integrating them into a reproductive resilience framework will help focus the need for research on the underlying relationships between reproductive traits and stock productivity.


KEY WORDS: Spawning · BOFFFF · Fisheries management · Spatio-temporal diversity · Age truncation · Maturation · Maternal effects · Spawner-recruit relationship · Reproductive success


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Cite this article as: Lowerre-Barbieri S, Crabtree L, Switzer T, Walters Burnsed S, Guenther C (2015) Assessing reproductive resilience: an example with South Atlantic red snapper Lutjanus campechanus . Mar Ecol Prog Ser 526:125-141. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11212

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