Master of Science (MS)


Oceanography and Coastal Sciences

Document Type



Understanding the behavior, including movement, of red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus), around and among the many oil and gas platforms in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is crucial to the management of this important commercial and recreational species. What role oil and gas production platforms play in the attraction vs. production continuum for red snapper is unknown, but it is certain these large structures have a role at some life history stage. We used the VRAP acoustic telemetry system to track red snapper around two platforms in the GOM in 2005 and 2006. Fish detections per hour generally decreased over the course of each experiment, and detections also fluctuated with strong periodicity. Spectral analysis revealed that red snapper had a 24- hour periodicity to their movements. Probability of presence of fish likewise fluctuated within a day, perhaps indicating foraging away from the platforms. Red snapper in this study showed much lower site fidelity than in previous studies of red snapper on artificial reefs. These results appear to support the hypothesis that platforms function largely as attracting devices.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cowan, James Howard Jr.