Space use of Lutjanus apodus including movements between aputative nursery area and a coral reef
SourceBulletin of Marine Science, 81, 1, (2007), pp. 127-138
Article / Letter to editor
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Animal Ecology & Physiology
Bulletin of Marine Science
SubjectAnimal Ecology and Physiology
To study space use of snappers in a putative nursery area (a Caribbean embayment with mangroves and seagrass beds) and their movement to the presumed adult habitat (a coral reef), 59 sub-adult schoolmaster snappers Lutjanus apodus (Walbaum, 1792) were caught in the embayment, tagged individually, and surveyed from 17 to 90 d. Most fishes (n = 48) were resighted only inside the embayment: 94% of all resightings were located along the structurally complex rocky bay shoreline. The maximum linear distance between resightings was small within days (median distance moved = 5 m), and larger across days (median distance = 34 m). Fishes showed high fidelity to daytime shelter sites: 80% of all resightings were within a 10 m radius around a 2 m wide core area of presence. Four of the largest L. apodus (size range 17.8-20.0 cm) were resighted 1-30 times (over 31 d) on the adjacent coral reef, and they showed larger maximum distances between resightings across days (median distance = 217 m) than L. apodus that were only resighted in the embayment (median distance = 28 m). This is the first study providing direct evidence of connectivity between a putative nursery area in a tropical non-estuarine embayment and the adult coral reef habitat, based on observations of tagged fishes.
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