Migratory Behavior and Spawning Site Fidelity of Male Tiger Grouper (Mycteroperca tigris) Based on Acoustic Tagging at a Spawning Site on Little Cayman, Cayman Islands
AuthorsBrice Semmens;Croy McCoy;Christy Pattengill-Semmens;Bradley Johnson;Scott Heppell Download PDF Open PDF in Browser
Tiger Grouper (Mycteroperca tigris) aggregate to spawn around the winter full moons (typically in January and February) in the central Caribbean. Like other aggregating grouper species in the Caribbean, fisheries target Tiger Grouper during spawning, and prior studies have documented rapid declines in aggregations due to harvest. However, in a regional context, it is not clear how localized aggregation fisheries impact Tiger Grouper populations, because the catchment area of such aggregations is not known. As part of the Grouper Moon Project in the Cayman Islands, we acoustically tagged male aggregating Tiger Grouper during the 2015 spawning season on Little Cayman Island. Using an array of hydrophones surrounding the island, we subsequently tracked the movements of tagged fish over a 9-month period. Here, we report on the apparent duration and catchment area of the Tiger Grouper aggregation, including characteristics of the migratory behaviors of individuals. We also compare and contrast these behaviors with other grouper species (e.g. Nassau Grouper; Epinephelus striatus) that concurrently use the spawning site.