Researchers evaluate the effects of warm waters on little fish
Warm Caribbean waters may provide a toasty growing area for larval fish, but thats not enough to ensure a flourishing fish population. Thats the conclusion of research published in this months edition of Marine Ecology Progress Series by Dr. Su Sponaugle and colleagues from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School. The scientists studied the petite, yet eye-catching blue-headed wrasse in the upper Florida Keys to monitor larval settlement success.
“The key to any larval reef fishs survival is to find food, avoid predation, and get to a reef to settle,” Sponaugle said. Fish larvae remain at sea for several weeks before returning to the reef to settle and join adult populations. What goes on during this time in the plankton is largely unknown. “What we found is that warm summer waters here are conducive to rapid larval growth, but other factors sometimes interfere, leading to highly variable settlement rates.”
Ivy F. Kupec | EurekAlert!
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