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NOAA scientists map fish habitat and movements at Gray's Reef Marine Sanctuary
Date:9/2/2009

creational fishermen, are nearly always present at ledges extending from a wall or structure by 12-18 inches a ledge type that represents only a tiny fraction of limestone ledges in the sanctuary. Red snapper are typically present near ledges extending a minimum of 27 inches, a ledge type that also represents only a small portion of the limestone ledges in the sanctuary.

Kendall and his colleagues are not only mapping the relative value of Gray's Reef habitat for various fish communities, but also tracking how fish move around the sanctuary. Over the last two years, Kendall and his team have implanted tracking devices in fish which are being used in conjunction with sensors placed throughout part of the sanctuary.

These sensors will help them understand, for example, which fish are "homebodies" and which fish travel more widely. The data so far reveals that grouper tend to stay close to their preferred ledges, while snapper venture farther from their home territory.

The team's research not only has implications for the management of Gray's Reef Sanctuary but also for the management of reefs throughout the South Atlantic region. "If the fish have these kinds of specific relationships to the bottom habitat at Gray's Reef, there is no reason to think that these same relationships don't exist elsewhere in the southeastern United States," Kendall said.


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Contact: John Ewald
john.ewald@noaa.gov
301-713-3066
NOAA Headquarters
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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