Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NOAA Scientists Map Fish Habitat and Movements at Gray’s Reef Marine Sanctuary

04.09.2009
New Findings May Help Protect Overfished Species

Two related research expeditions by NOAA scientists to track the habitat preferences and movements of fish at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary may help managers protect overfished species such as red snapper and grouper. Research from the two expeditions appears in the current online edition of the peer-reviewed Bulletin of Marine Sciences.

“It’s important to know exactly what areas to protect,” says Matt Kendall, principle investigator on the habitat mapping project. “Certain fish gravitate to certain bottom types. If you want to protect red snapper, for example, you have to know where they live.”

The projects tracking fish movements through telemetry will help researchers better understand the basic “life histories” of these fish. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, citing the “lack of basic management data as a major obstacle” to the successful management of these species, has recently called for a total ban on red snapper fishing to help restore stock levels. The ban is pending final approval.

According to the latest reports from NOAA Fisheries, black sea bass, red snapper, red grouper, and gag are among the region’s overfished species. These studies are helping researchers better understand the movements and habitat preferences of these species, and their potential vulnerability to fishing. This knowledge will contribute to stock management and recovery of overfished species.

In the first of the two expeditions, researchers confirmed the importance of limestone ledges, which make up only one percent of Gray’s Reef and only slightly more of the entire continental shelf of the southeastern United States. Scientists noted a distinct correlation between ledge characteristics such as height and degree of undercut to the types and numbers of fish found at the ledge. This information can help prioritize reef areas for management.

For example, gag and scamp, two grouper species prized by recreational fishermen, are nearly always present at ledges extending from a wall or structure by 12-18 inches – a ledge type that represents only a tiny fraction of limestone ledges in the sanctuary. Red snapper are typically present near ledges extending a minimum of 27 inches, a ledge type that also represents only a small portion of the limestone ledges in the sanctuary.

Kendall and his colleagues are not only mapping the relative value of Gray’s Reef habitat for various fish communities, but also tracking how fish move around the sanctuary. Over the last two years, Kendall and his team have implanted tracking devices in fish which are being used in conjunction with sensors placed throughout part of the sanctuary.

These sensors will help them understand, for example, which fish are “homebodies” and which fish travel more widely. The data so far reveals that grouper tend to stay close to their preferred ledges, while snapper venture farther from their home territory.

The team’s research not only has implications for the management of Gray’s Reef Sanctuary, but also for the management of reefs throughout the South Atlantic region. “If the fish have these kinds of specific relationships to the bottom habitat at Gray’s Reef, there is no reason to think that these same relationships don’t exist elsewhere in the southeastern United States,” Kendall said.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

John Ewald | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.noaa.gov

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>