Abundance and Distribution of Ichthyoplankton in Florida Bay and Adjacent Waters
An ichthyoplankton survey in Florida Bay and adjacent waters focused on the abundance and distribution of larvae of four species–red drum (Sciaenops ocellata), snook (Centropomus undecimalis), gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus) and spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). Spotted seatrout was the only target species whose larvae were regularly collected. Our data indicated that this species spawned in intermediate to high salinity waters within western Florida Bay and adjacent estuarine waters, but not in brackish waters. We never collected spotted seatrout larvae in the Keys area. From samples taken from March through November, we concluded that spawning was protracted as larvae were collected in all months except November. All snapper larvae were found in the Atlantic Ocean, but juveniles were found both in Florida Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It appears that gray snapper spawn near offshore reefs, during the summer, in the Atlantic Ocean and at least some enter Florida Bay as advanced larvae or juveniles. Our research provided an insight into the distribution and abundance of the total ichthyoplankton fauna within Florida Bay and adjacent waters. One of the most striking patterns was the dominance and ubiquitous distribution of gobiid larvae.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1989-01-01
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