Sedberry et al. 2006

scientific chapter |

Spawning Locations for Atlantic Reef Fishes off the Southeastern U.S.

Sedberry GR, Pashuk O, Wyanski DM, Stephen JA, Weinbach P


Spawning condition was determined for 28 species of reef fish representing 11 families (Balistidae, Berycidae, Carangidae, Centrolophidae, Haemulidae, Lutjanidae, Malacanthidae, Polyprionidae, Scorpaenidae, Serranidae, Sparidae) collected off the Carolinas, Georgia and east coast of Florida (including the Keys) in depths from 1 - 686 m. The presence of migratorynucleus oocytes, hydrated oocytes and/or postovulatory follicles was used to indicate imminent or very recent spawning, and locations of capture of fishes in spawning condition were mapped using GIS. Reproductive behavior was observed from submersible for a few species. Most fishes were collected from fishery-independent sampling, with time and location of collection accurately recorded. Some specimens were sampled from fishery landings, and time and location data were approximate. Samples came from all months and throughout the region, but sampling effort was not equally distributed and was concentrated from May through September and in the middle of the region (South Carolina and Georgia). In spite of some temporal and spatial sampling limitations, we determined that several species such as small serranids, haemulids, sparids and lutjanids spawn over protracted periods and throughout the region. Other species such as Helicolenus dactylopterus, Caulolatilus microps, Epinephelus niveatus, Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps, Hyperoglyphe perciformis and Polyprion americanus have specific habitat requirements and live and spawn in very restricted areas. Several species (Mycteroperca microlepis, M. phenax) appear to spawn at specific shelf-edge reef sites (50 - 100 m depth), and tagging indicated they may undertake migrations to those specific sites during the spawning season. Some of the shelf-edge sites are utilized by several species, including some with moderately protracted spawning seasons that peak during winter or summer months. These sites may be in nearly continuous use by spawning fishes year-round, and should be considered as no-take MPAs to protect spawning adults.

Depth range
1- 686 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
3 x (total of 12612 words)

* Presents original data
* Focused on 'mesophotic' depth range
* Focused on 'temperate mesophotic ecosystem'

Management and Conservation


USA - Continental Atlantic Ocean

Manned Submersible

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