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heyman_2008_characterization_transient_multi-sp_spag_belize



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FastTrack publication BULLETIN OF MARINE SCIENCE 83 3 531 551 2008 CORAL REEF PAPER Characterization of transient multi species reef fish spawning aggregations at Gladden Spit Belize William D Heyman and Bj rn Kjerfve Abstract Gladden Spit a salient reef promontory on the Belize Barrier Reef is an important fishing ground for snappers and serves as a multi species spawning aggregation site for several species of reef fish Interviews with fishermen led to this study relating geomorphology and environmental conditions especially currents to transient fish aggregations and spawning Based on multi year observations we describe direct evidence of spawning for 17 species of transient spawning reef fish from six families Cubera snapper Lutjanus cyanopterus Cuvier 1828 mutton snapper Lutjanus analis Cuvier 1828 and dog snapper Lutjanus jocu Bloch and Schneider 1801 were most prominent in abundance biomass and egg production although other large and commercially important species including members of the grouper Serranidae and jack Carangidae families were also well represented Spawning occurred throughout the year with species specific patterns of spawning time seasonality and location site fidelity All spawning occurred above the shelf edge within a 6 ha area on the shelf just seaward of the reef promontory in depths from 35 m to the surface All spawning occurred between full moon and new moon and all spawning took place near or after sunset with the exception of one species that spawned in the afternoon Currents were faster and more variable at the spawning site compared to adjacent shelf edge areas We hypothesize that steep relief and highly variable currents at Gladden Spit are important factors for adults of many fish species selecting the promontory for aggregation and spawning Many tropical reef fishes rely on a migratory reproductive strategy that includes spawning aggregations and pelagic larval dispersal Spawning aggregations are defined as a group of conspecific



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