Patterns of color phase indicate spawn timing at a Nassau grouper Epinephelus striatus spawning aggregation Public Deposited

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This is the publisher’s final pdf. The published article is copyrighted by Current Zoology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and can be found at:  http://www.actazool.org/.

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  • Nassau grouper Epinephelus striatus are a large bodied, top level predator that is ecologically important throughout the Caribbean. Although typically solitary, Nassau grouper form large annual spawning aggregations at predictable times in specific locations. In 2003, The Cayman Islands Marine Conservation Board established protection for a newly rediscovered Nassau grouper spawning aggregation on Little Cayman, British West Indies. The large size of this aggregation provides a unique opportunity to study the behavior of Nassau grouper on a relatively intact spawning aggregation. During non-spawning periods Nassau grouper display a reddish-brown-and-white barred coloration. However, while aggregating they exhibit three additional color phases: “bicolor”, “dark”, and “white belly”. We video sampled the population on multiple days leading up to spawning across five spawning years. Divers focused a laser caliper equipped video camera on individual fish at the aggregation. We later analyzed the video to determine the length of the fish and record the color phase. Our observations show that the relative proportion of fish in the bicolor color phase increases significantly on the day leading up to the primary night of spawning. The increase in the proportion of the bicolor color phase from 0.05 early in the aggregation to 0.40 on the day of spawning suggests that this color phase conveys that a fish is behaviorally and physiologically prepared to spawn. Additionally, 82.7% of fish exhibiting dark or white belly coloration early in the aggregation period suggests that these color phases are not only shown by female fish as was previously posited [Current Zoology 58 (1): 73–83, 2012].
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  • Archer, S., Heppell, S., Semmens, B., Pattengill-Semmens, C., Bush, P., Mccoy, C., & Johnson, B. (2012). Patterns of color phase indicate spawn timing at a nassau grouper epinephelus striatus spawning aggregation. Current Zoology, 58(1), 73-83.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Deanne Bruner(deanne.bruner@oregonstate.edu) on 2013-04-18T21:18:29Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 HeppellScottFisheriesWildlifePatternsColorPhase.pdf: 1122477 bytes, checksum: 9c3121a15a8b7be0610f6792371f1770 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2013-04-18T21:18:29Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 HeppellScottFisheriesWildlifePatternsColorPhase.pdf: 1122477 bytes, checksum: 9c3121a15a8b7be0610f6792371f1770 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2012
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Deanne Bruner (deanne.bruner@oregonstate.edu) on 2013-04-18T21:17:31Z No. of bitstreams: 1 HeppellScottFisheriesWildlifePatternsColorPhase.pdf: 1122477 bytes, checksum: 9c3121a15a8b7be0610f6792371f1770 (MD5)

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