Identifier

etd-07132012-035018

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Oceanography and Coastal Sciences

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This study compares reproductive biology estimates of female red snapper among three habitat types (natural shelf-edge banks, standing petroleum platforms and toppled petroleum platforms) and among six regions in the Gulf of Mexico (central Florida, northwest Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, north Texas and south Texas). In both studies, batch fecundity and spawning frequency increased with length, weight and age, and batch fecundity was best correlated with maternal length. Gulf-wide, 75% maturity was achieved by age-3 and 100% maturity was reached by age-8. Sizes- and ages-at-maturity differed among habitat types and regions. Females from natural habitat reached 50% maturity the slowest (age-5, 450 mm TL), while fish from toppled platforms reached this benchmark the fastest (age-3, 400 mm TL). Among regions, 100% maturity was reached fastest in north Texas (age-6, 625 mm TL), followed by conspecifics in Alabama (age-6, 675 mm TL), while this benchmark was reached slowest in northwest Florida (age-9, 775 mm TL). Mean batch fecundity was significantly greater in Alabama (283,051 ± 35,761) compared to the other regions. Spawning frequency was significantly greater in north Texas (1.9-3.4 days) compared to the other regions. The differences in reproductive biology estimates among habitat types and regions presented here exemplify the diversity of intraspecific life history traits, which may be influenced by varying ecologies, environments and/or fishing pressures. These findings may supplement managers with important knowledge regarding red snapper vital rates, which may be useful for future management decisions.

Date

2012

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cowan, James H. Jr.

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