Volume 70

Predictions of the Presence of Coastal Pelagic Fishes off Georgia, USA, from Local Oceanographic and Biological Conditions

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Date: November, 2017

Pages: 314-323

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Merida, Yucatan

Country: México


Understanding how specific environmental variables affect the presence of coastal pelagic fishes can improve the ecological understanding of and ability to sample these species. We provide a description of environmental conditions that were associated with the presence of Blue Runner (Caranx crysos), reef sharks (Carcharinus sp.), scads (Decapterus sp.), Little Tunny (Euthynnus alletteratus), Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola), Greater Amberjack (Seriola dumerili), Almaco Jack (S. rivoliana), and Great Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) off the Southeastern USA coast. We used generalized linear models and a suite of environmental variables (forage fish presence, salinity, temperature, time of day) to predict the presence of pelagic species at a human-made reef at a mid-shelf location, over eight years, as characterized by hourly ultra-short videos. We used Akaike’s information criterion to evaluate candidate model fit for each species. C. crysos, S. dumerili, S. rivoliana, and E. alletteratus were more likely to be present when forage fish (Decapterus sp.) were present. The probability of presence of all species increased with increasing temperatures, except E. alletteratus and M. mola, for which the probability of presence decreased 1.2 - 1.4 times with each 1 °C temperature increase. Probability of presence was positively associated with salinity for Decapterus sp. and S. rivoliana and negatively associated with salinity for C. crysos and E. alletteratus. Water temperature followed a predictable seasonal pattern, while salinity, which influenced some species’ presence, varied greatly among years. Although the variance in model results was large, our study provides a tool for monitoring the presence of migratory species and an understanding of variables that influence their presence.

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