South Atlantic Bight Reef Fish Communities as Represented in Hook-and-Line Catches
Abstract:Analyses of catch records from 9,027 head boat trips and 124 research cruises taken over the continental shelf of North Carolina and South Carolina revealed groups of distributionally similar reef fish species. A complex, inner-shelf community, dominated by sea bass (Centropristis spp.) and porgies (Calamus spp. and Stenotomus spp.), was present in waters <30 m throughout the study area. A well-defined community of deep-living (>100 m) Epinephelus groupers (E. niveatus, E. nigritus, E. flavolimbatus) was observed at the continental shelf edge. The mid-shelf region (30–100 m) was populated by a diverse group of wide-ranging species whose distributions often extended into shallower or deeper waters. The North Carolina mid-shelf community included red porgy (Pagrus pagrus), vermilion snapper (Rhomboplites aurorubens) and gray triggerfish (Balistes capriscus). Off South Carolina, this community was joined by two others, a red hind–rock hind–scamp (E. adscensionis–E. gullatus–Mycteroperca phenax) community and a speckled hind-knobbed porgy (E. drummondhayi–Calamus nodosus) community. The identified communities are discussed with respect to temperature, depth and latitudinal distribution, including comments on occurrence south to Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 1984
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