Density, species and size distribution of groupers (Serranidae) in three habitats at Elbow Reef, Florida Keys

Robert Sluka, Mark Chiappone, Kathleen Sealey, Thomas A. Potts, Jose M. Levy, Emily F. Schmitt, Geoff Meester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We examined the density, size and species distribution of groupers in three habitats on an inshore-to-offshore transect across Elbow Reef, Florida Keys: high-relief spur-and-groove (49 m depth), relict spur-and-groove (10-20 m), and deep fore reef slope (21-30 m). Physical relief was greatest in the high-relief spur-and-groove (up to 3 m), lowest in the relict spur-and -groove habitat (<0.5-1 m), and intermediate in the deep fore reef slope habitat (1-1.5 m). Benthic coverage in the three habitats was dominated by algae (>30%). There were significant differences in the density, size, and species distribution of groupers among the three habitats. Graysby, Epinephelus cruentatus, was numerically dominant, constituting 82-91% of individuals observed. Black grouper, Mycteroperca bonaci, and Nassau grouper, E. striatus, were more abundant in high to moderate relief habitats, whereas red hind, E. guttatus, was more abundant in the low-relief habitat. The size distribution was shifted towards smaller sizes in lowest relief habitat and towards larger sizes in areas with greater (>0.5 m) vertical relief. We suggest that fishing pressure in the Florida Keys has resulted in an offshore grouper assemblage dominated by graysby, a small grouper species (<40 cm total length) which is not targeted by fishermen, and that habitat selection and biological interactions have significantly influenced the ecological structure of the grouper assemblage of this coral reef.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
JournalBulletin of Marine Science
Volume62
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

Fingerprint

Serranidae
grouper
elbows
reefs
reef
relief
Mycteroperca bonaci
habitat
habitats
biogeography
Epinephelus
fishermen
habitat preferences
coral reefs
habitat selection
coral reef
fishing
transect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography

Cite this

Sluka, R., Chiappone, M., Sealey, K., Potts, T. A., Levy, J. M., Schmitt, E. F., & Meester, G. (1998). Density, species and size distribution of groupers (Serranidae) in three habitats at Elbow Reef, Florida Keys. Bulletin of Marine Science, 62(1), 219-228.

Density, species and size distribution of groupers (Serranidae) in three habitats at Elbow Reef, Florida Keys. / Sluka, Robert; Chiappone, Mark; Sealey, Kathleen; Potts, Thomas A.; Levy, Jose M.; Schmitt, Emily F.; Meester, Geoff.

In: Bulletin of Marine Science, Vol. 62, No. 1, 01.12.1998, p. 219-228.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sluka, R, Chiappone, M, Sealey, K, Potts, TA, Levy, JM, Schmitt, EF & Meester, G 1998, 'Density, species and size distribution of groupers (Serranidae) in three habitats at Elbow Reef, Florida Keys', Bulletin of Marine Science, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 219-228.
Sluka, Robert ; Chiappone, Mark ; Sealey, Kathleen ; Potts, Thomas A. ; Levy, Jose M. ; Schmitt, Emily F. ; Meester, Geoff. / Density, species and size distribution of groupers (Serranidae) in three habitats at Elbow Reef, Florida Keys. In: Bulletin of Marine Science. 1998 ; Vol. 62, No. 1. pp. 219-228.
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