A passive acoustic survey of fish sound production at Riley’s Hump within Tortugas South Ecological Reserve: implications regarding spawning and habitat use


Locascio, James V., and Michael L. Burton
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Passive acoustic recorders were used to monitor sound production indicative of the use of spawning habitat by groupers (Serranidae) at Riley’s Hump, which is located in the Tortugas South Ecological Reserve (TSER), part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Sound production by black grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci), red grouper (Epinephelus morio), and red hind (E. guttatus) was recorded year-round and at all times of day but occurred more often in the evening during the winter–spring spawning period than during other times of the day and year. This pattern for these species is consistent with results of previous studies that documented the association of sound production with reproductive behavior at spawning sites. Distinct diel and seasonal patterns of sound production by the longspine squirrelfish (Holocentrus rufus) and bicolor damselfish (Stegastes partitus) also were recorded. Riley’s Hump is a documented spawning site for mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis), and recordings of black grouper, red grouper, and red hind indicate that it is used for reproductive purposes by these species as well. These results showed the importance of the TSER and the need for continued research to understand its role in the recovery and sustainability of managed fish populations.