Monitoring the Replenishment of Coral Trout (Pisces: Serranidae) Populations
Abstract:The replenishment of coral trout populations was monitored by daily sampling for pelagic juveniles using automated light-traps anchored at three sites close to the crests of two reefs (Arlington, Green) in the Cairns Region of the Great Barrier Reef. The water depth at each site was approximately 25 m; traps were suspended at 1 m and 20 m. A total of 237 presettlement coral trout were captured during the 1990/1991 spawning season of which the majority were identified as Plectropomus leopardus. Four individuals were grown out to confirm generic identification. Pelagic juveniles were collected from both depths but were consistently more abundant at the surface. They were also consistently more abundant at Arlington than Green. Standard length was 16.8 ± 0.2 (95% CL) mm with no trends in size among depths, reefs, sites or time. All presettlement trout were caught during a 17 day time window centered around the new moon in November 1990. A similar pattern of replenishment was generated by back-calculating the settlement dates of 36 juveniles collected from the reef at the end of summer. These back-calculations also estimated pelagic larval duration as 25.2 ± 0.9 (95% CL) days, indicating birth dates near the previous new moon. This was consistent with systematic observations on trout spawning at Scott Reef, which lies 40 km downstream of Arlington. Since Scott was obviously not the source of the fish captured in our study, synchrony between spawning and recruitment at this scale suggests that reproduction may be regionally entrained, and that all replenishment in this season was sourced from one period of spawning lasting about 2 weeks.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1994-01-01
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