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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 693:1-17 (2022)  -  DOI:

Sciaenid courtship sounds correlate with juvenile appearance and abundance in the May River, South Carolina, USA

Agnieszka Monczak1,2,#, Bradshaw McKinney1,#, Jamileh Souiedan1, Alyssa D. Marian1,3, Ashlee Seder1, Eva May1, Thomas Morgenstern1, William Roumillat4, Eric W. Montie1,3,#,*

1Department of Natural Sciences, University of South Carolina Beaufort, SC 29909, USA
2Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, UK
3Graduate Program in Marine Biology, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29412, USA
4Marine Resources Research Institute, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Charleston, SC 29412, USA
*Corresponding author:
#These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: Black drum Pogonias cromis, red drum Sciaenops ocellatus, silver perch Bairdiella chrysoura, and spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus belong to the family Sciaenidae and are commonly found in South Carolina (USA) estuaries. Fish within this family produce sounds that are associated with courtship behavior and spawning. By listening to estuarine soundscapes, we can identify spawning aggregations. In this study, our objectives were to investigate long-term patterns of black drum, silver perch, spotted seatrout, and red drum calling and chorusing (i.e. indicative of spawning) over a 6 yr time span; identify any shifts in seasonal sound production from one year to the next; and examine the relationship between chorusing and young-of-the-year (YOY) abundance collected through haul seines. We found that in years with warmer springs, black drum, silver perch, and spotted seatrout began chorusing earlier and had longer chorusing seasons than in the years with cooler temperatures. Inversely, cooler temperatures during late summer led to earlier and longer spawning seasons for red drum. We detected the appearance of YOY in the estuary approximately 1 mo after initiation of the chorusing season. Silver perch were the most abundant in the spring, spotted seatrout during the summer, and red drum during the fall. Additionally, we found positive correlations between chorusing and YOY abundance. In years with longer chorusing seasons, we detected higher abundance of silver perch, spotted seatrout, and red drum YOY than in the years with shorter chorusing periods. These patterns provide supporting evidence that passive acoustics can aid inmonitoring reproductive output of an estuary.

KEY WORDS: Passive acoustics · Soundscapes · Sciaenids · Spawning · Seining · Estuary

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Cite this article as: Monczak A, McKinney B, Souiedan J, Marian AD and others (2022) Sciaenid courtship sounds correlate with juvenile appearance and abundance in the May River, South Carolina, USA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 693:1-17.

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