There was a significant inshore to offshore pattern in grouper species composition and density on Florida Keys coral reefs. Red grouper Epinephelus morio and black grouper Mycteroperca bonaci were most abundant on inshore patch reefs. Graysby Cephalopholis cruentata was most abundant on offshore reef types. Density among sites ranged from 0 to 0.43, 0 to 0.26 and 0 to 1.23 100 m-2 for red grouper, black grouper, and graysby, respectively. Grouper density exhibited no consistency among sites within similar reef types. The densities of red and black grouper were correlated significantly with either physical or biotic habitat parameters. Graysby were observed in microhabitats with whose benthic features differed significantly from the surrounding habitat. This species was observed in high-relief areas with significantly less octocoral species and colony densities. Larger graysby were observed in areas of higher relief and less octocorals than smaller graysby. Habitat was one of several important factors influencing the distribution of groupers among coral reefs types in the Florida Keys.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science