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Data from: Assessing reproductive behavior important to fisheries management: a case study with red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus

Cite this dataset

Lowerre-Barbieri, Susan K.; Burnsed, Sarah Lyle Walters; Bickford, Joel William (2015). Data from: Assessing reproductive behavior important to fisheries management: a case study with red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus [Dataset]. Dryad.


Spawning site selection and reproductive timing affect stock productivity and structure in marine fishes but are poorly understood. Traditionally, stock assessments measure reproductive potential as spawning stock biomass or egg production and do not include other aspects of reproductive behavior. Red drum make an excellent case study to assess these other aspects, as (1) they are highly fecund, pelagic spawners, like most exploited marine fishes; (2) their life cycle is delineated between nursery (estuarine) and adult (coastal and offshore) habitat; and (3) they are managed at these two spatial scales. This study was conducted from August 2012 to December 2013 and integrates data from multiple methods and spatial scales. Aerial surveys were used for large-scale monitoring of aggregations off two known estuarine nursery areas, Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor, Florida, USA. Capture-based sampling in Tampa Bay coastal (n = 2581) and estuarine waters (n = 158) was used to assess reproductive state and to confirm coastal spawning. To assess spatial dynamics, we acoustically tagged two population components in the Tampa Bay system, subadults from the estuary (n = 20) and adults from the coastal spawning site (n = 60). Behavioral plasticity was seen in subadult recruitment to coastal habitat, with some subadults maturing and recruiting before or during the spawning season and others (14 of 20 acoustically tagged fish) recruiting at the end of the 2012 spawning season. Both adults and recruited subadults (n = 29) were consequently detected in the Charlotte Harbor array, 132 km to the south. Spawning-site fidelity to the Tampa Bay spawning site occurred at both the population and individual scales. Aggregations consistently occurred in Tampa Bay coastal waters during the spawning season, and approximately two-thirds of tagged adults returned in the 2013 spawning season. A similar proportion of subadults returned to the Tampa Bay spawning site, exhibiting natal homing. However, these first-time spawners arrived later than repeat spawners and were detected over shorter time periods. This study, and others like it, demonstrates how integrating data from individuals tracked over space and time with more traditional population-based sampling is changing our understanding of ecological processes that affect marine fish productivity and our ability to manage for sustainablity.

Usage notes


Central western Florida estuarine and coastal waters