Marine Fish Life History and Ecology


Marine fishes on artificial reef in Gulf of Mexico

Justification

Coastal Alabama has a rich nursery ground for young red snapper and other important marine fishes, unsurpassed by any other location in the Gulf of Mexico or South Atlantic. It also has a large, viable, healthy population of adult red snapper and other reef fishes that may surpass many other areas in the Gulf of Mexico. These healthy populations off Alabama may result from the extensive building of artificial habitats that has been carried out under the direction of the Marine Resources Division, Alabama Department of Conservation. How these artificial reefs actually work and their relations to red snapper production and production of other species is a main aspect of our research.

 

 

Student Allison Chapin displays a red snapper

Objectives

Investigate the ecology, biology, and management of red snapper and apply information to the needs of recreational and commercial fishers throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Research

Scientists in the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures are active in research concerning natural and artificial reef fisheries off coastal Alabama. They are studying several aspects of artificial reefs, including production and attraction of fishes to artificial reefs, species composition and complexity, fish movements, predation effects, food resources, nursery habitat values, and fish population estimates.

 

Anticipated Results

Results from these studies of juvenile and adult red snapper and other reef fishes suggest that selective placement of artificial reefs, which attract young red snapper and move them from trawled areas, can increase survivorship and production and improve the catch of red snapper by recreational and commercial fishers in Alabama. Research results can also indicate possible alternative actions that may help reduce severe catch restrictions.

The 44 foot "Mary Lou" owned by the fisheries Department for marine research sampling

 

Principal Investigator

Stephen T. Szedlmayer, Ph.D.
Professor
Auburn University, Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
szedlst@auburn.edu

 

Participating Institutions

Marine Resources Division, Alabama Department of Conservation

203 Swingle Hall | Auburn, Alabama 36849 | (334) 844-4786 |
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