Volume 65

The Courtship Associated Sounds of Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus (Pisces: Epinephelidae) during Spawning Aggregations

Schärer-Umpierre, M., T. Rowell, M. Nemeth, and R. Appeldoorn
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Date: November, 2012

Pages: 302 - 304

Event: Proceedings of the Sixty-Fifth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Santa Marta

Country: Colombia


Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus, were studied at three spawning aggregation sites to document the species acoustic behaviors. At least two types of sounds are produced by Nassau grouper; one related to alarm or distress and the other associated with courtship. Autonomous video and audio recordings collected at Glover's Reef, Belize and Bajo de Sico, Puerto Rico allowed us to determine a relation between the tonal sound and courtship behavior, hence defined as a courtship-associated sound (CAS). With this information the temporal dynamics of Nassau grouper were quantified with audio-only, long-term recordings at two sites (Grammanik, USVI and Bajo de Sico, PR) in 2011 for the former and 2012 for the latter. The residence time and peak sound production days and months at both sites were similar; however, important discrepancies suggest that each site and year may be unique in spawning aggregation dynamics. The association between sound and reproductive behaviors provides an important clue that allows the assessment and monitoring of multiple spawning aggregations sites simultaneously over a greater time span. Information on the temporal patterns of CAS during spawning aggregations applies directly to the protection of the most critical phases of reproduction for this endangered species via seasonal or site specific management efforts.

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