f01u2p2 - Unit Two Reef Fish Management Unit II Reef Fish...

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Unit Two Reef Fish Management Project Oceanography Fall 2001 28 Unit II Reef Fish Management A portion of this information was obtained from material written by Luiz Barbieri. On the cutting edge… Researchers at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Florida Marine Research Institute are studying the life histories and population dynamics of four economically important snapper species. They hope to use these ecological studies to assess the status of these fish and develop management tools to maintain adequate wild populations. They are using the latest technology to collect data while preserving vital habitat. In the future, these researchers anticipate extending their studies to other areas. Snapper Lesson Objectives: Students will be able to do the following: Name and describe the two stages of the snapper life cycle Discuss the ecological factors that make snapper vulnerable to human impact Compare and contrast aging studies utilizing tree rings and otolith rings Key concepts: pelagic stage, demersal stage, recruitment, marine reserves, otoliths Snapper Life History and Ecology Snappers are economically important reef fish. They generally occur in warm ocean waters ranging from shallow inshore areas to depths of about 550 meters. Sometimes they can be found in estuaries or even fresh water. Most snapper species have a two-stage life cycle consisting of a pelagic or open water phase and a demersal or bottom oriented phase. During the pelagic stage, eggs and larvae are moved and dispersed by currents. They are subjected to unknown weather conditions and food variability. In addition, larger organisms eat many of the eggs and larvae. This reduces the number of fish that reach adulthood. This stage lasts from a week to several months depending upon the species. At this time, the larvae recruit or settle to bottom habitats as the demersal stage begins. Once settled, juveniles and adults become associated with a particular reef or structure in a specific area. They are considered “sedentary”, because they remain in this area for most of their adult life. In addition many snapper are territorial and have small home ranges. They may also be restricted to specific water
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Unit Two Reef Fish Management Project Oceanography Fall 2001 29 depths. The adults feed on fish and crustaceans mainly associated with the bottom. Snappers have used various adaptations to overcome the large loss of larvae during the pelagic stage. Some of the slow-growing, long-lived species reproduce several times during their lives. Others gather in areas during spawning . This simultaneous release of larvae gives the fish a better chance for survival against predators during their early stages. As these fish mature, large body size can help them escape from predators and become more efficient hunters. Large fish can swim quickly through the water to defend a territory. They also have a competitive advantage when looking for mates. Unfortunately
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This note was uploaded on 07/31/2011 for the course OCB 6050 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of South Florida - Tampa.

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f01u2p2 - Unit Two Reef Fish Management Unit II Reef Fish...

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